A Little Bit of Inspiration: Knitting Behind Bars

Whilst ambling aimlessly around the interwebs as I am prone to doing on my days off, this little beauty found its way to me. It’s the story of a woman who found new purpose in inspiring convicts with knitting.

The men were reluctant at first, complaining that knitting was too girly or too difficult. But Zwerling assured them men had invented the craft, then gave them a five-minute knitting lesson she swears can teach anyone. Suddenly, Zwerling says, the men “found the zen,” and got hooked. Now, every Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m., they come to class, leaving their crimes and the hierarchies of prison life behind.

Now it’s no surprise to anyone who reads this that knitting could be used as a form of relaxation, community, and even meditation. We all know it, that’s why we’re here at all. Still it’s amazing to see how a woman took that idea and ran with it, using sticks and string and patience.

Also I’d like to see this five minute lesson. I’ve tried teaching people to knit before and let’s just say the only times it takes less than five minutes is when they give up and throw the yarn across the room.

Credit goes to the article. Click the pic.
Credit goes to the article. Click the pic.

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of people teaching knitting in unusual places but every time I hear about it I’m pleased. I know that knitting has done me the world of good and the thought of it helping people who might otherwise not be reached is excellent. It’s just knitting. It’s not a miracle but if it brings peace to people for even a few minutes then surely it’s worth it.

The prison’s assistant warden, Margaret Chippendale, believes the men involved with KBB get into trouble less often. “It’s very positive because you can see when you go into the room, the dynamics of their conversation; very calm, very soothing,” Chippendale says. “It radiates even when they leave the room and go out into the institution.”

Looks like the benefits are already being felt.


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