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ADHD and the Fibre Arts

Updated: Nov 5, 2021



Fibre arts include knitting, crochet, spinning, weaving, embroidery.

None of these are the humble preserve of old women anymore with exciting male and female designers on the scene creating engineering masterpieces with stitches, patterns, fibre types, vintage machinery and dye from a wild array of natural products.

Podcasts abound with amazing information on animal husbandry, history and place, evolution of patterns, types of wool, other types of yarn, the rise and fall of wool in the industrial age, and how important it is to get back to sustainability with well made and well mended clothing.


The community of interest around fibre arts helps to build meaningful friendships creating positive energy, consumer education and driving economic change. The internet provides many opportunities to make contact with a worldwide group of interested and interesting people. It will expose you to things you had no idea were even "a thing!"


Engaging in fibre arts produces the relaxed state seen in meditation and yoga, which lowers your heart rate and blood pressure. The repetitive movements are soothing and can help with sleep issues. It is a better option for settling you before sleep than blue light screens.

The calming effect helps your brain problem solve, sometimes requiring you to search the internet for YouTube tutorials (not at bedtime) to learn a new technique, allowing you to learn and grow at your own pace.


Learning and working with complex patterns supports maths skills, growing them and/or keeping them current, because it uses the same functions and parts of the brain to calculate and remember the stitches and measurements. Fibre art can give a sense of control when the rest of your life is out of control as the outcome is predictable and you have a lot of control over, and creative input into, your project.


Fibre arts create pathways in the brain that are vital for continued mental health and agility as you age as it uses so many parts of your brain, including hand -eye coordination, fine motor skills, strategy and problem solving, visualisation and pattern memory.

It is great as a coping mechanism for anxiety, ADHD and depression due to its compelling social and psychological benefits. The colours are a visual delight, the fibre a tactile soother and the rhythm a relaxation, making fibre arts a valuable part of anyone's mental health plan.


The key takeaways are that:

  • Simple repetitive action keeps your hands busy, helps you focus and keeps you distracted from the things that are worrying you.

  • Because you are focusing on your pattern and progress it will provide a sense of peace which will help to control your inner critic.


And what could ever be the downside of a hobby that enables you to make beautiful things?

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