Tuesday 23rd August
WMJ x Anxiety UK Christmas Campaign
Knit Yourself a Christmas Jumper with a Difference
Most of us are still holding out for a few more weeks of summer but let’s not pretend we haven’t seen a few sneaky selection boxes on the supermarket shelves – there are only 17 Saturdays between now and Christmas. Log fires, mulled wine, mince pies, turkey and TV and whether we thank our nans, Bridget Jones or just the force of the high street, there is no denying the rise of the Christmas jumper. Love it or hate it, it’s become a winter wardrobe staple.
I have to admit I'm not a massive fan, I don't own a Christmas jumper and in the years I've been making bespoke sweaters only one leans towards being the Christmas kind. However, I am very pleased to be getting on board with the trend in a way that I believe can make a difference.
Last year, a survey of 4,000 knitters undertaken by global fashion brand Wool and the Gang found that 90% of knitters agreed that knitting decreases anxiety levels, 40% said it helped to fight depression and 70% feel a sense of happiness after tackling a difficult project or knitting technique. It’s no wonder that 90% of US knitters and 86% of UK and European knitters said they ‘grab their knitting needles’ after a long, stressful day.
The opening lines to this blog post may have filled you with excitement but some of you will have been filled with dread. Edward Pola and George Wyle wrote It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year but, for many, Christmas can also be an anxious time filled with worries about money, social engagements, a hectic high street, Christmas dinner, time spent with family – the list goes on – and many people are worried to mention it.
Why, when you already have enough to worry about, should saying how you feel be another worry on the Christmas list?
So this year, I'm working with Anxiety UK, the UK's leading charity on anxiety and phobias, to encourage people to knit their own Christmas jumper with a difference. Together we hope that potentially learning a new skill and the process of knitting the jumper will be beneficial to people who experience anxiety and at the same time we’ll be sending out a collective message that sometimes, even at Christmas, people can feel anxious – and it’s ok to say it!
I have designed a Christmas jumper exclusively for Anxiety UK. The pattern is available to download on their website and we’d love to see as many of you as possible knitting your own version to wear this Christmas – and all year round, I've made this one in Christmas colours but you can knit yours in whatever colours you choose.
It might seem a bit early to be thinking ahead to Christmas but a sweater isn't a small knitting project so we want to give everyone plenty of time to work on it!
To get the pattern, just click here it costs £2 to download with all proceeds going direct to Anxiety UK. All of the information you need to make your jumper is in there and the charity will also be posting tips and tutorials to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook so keep an eye out for those. I'm also thinking of running some weekly groups in Manchester to help anyone along who'd like to join in - please drop me an email if you'd be interested in coming along.
Of course we want to know how you’re all doing so please share your work in progress photos and finished jumpers using the hashtag #AUKChristmas.
We can’t wait to see your creations.
Images: Layla Sailor