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Why quilting improves your health in ways even exercise can't manage

As devotees of a quiet and contemplative pastime, they would be the last to make a fuss about it.

But quilters, it seems, have every right to celebrate their craft after researchers found that it is ‘uniquely’ good for you.
A study found quilting improved well-being in ways that physical and outdoor activities could not, and offered a creativity that had been ‘stifled’ in the modern world.

Uniquely good: The study found the activity helped cognitive, creative and emotional well-being, particularly among older people

The University of Glasgow team concluded that all hobbies – ‘from reading to train spotting’ – should be looked at for their mental and physical benefits.


They interviewed quilters and found the activity helped their cognitive, creative and emotional well-being, particularly among older people.


The use of bright colors was ‘uplifting’, the activity distracted from the stress of work, and quilting offered challenges such as math and geometry. It also increased confidence and had an important social side.

Professor Jacqueline Atkinson, co-author of the study and a quilter herself for five decades, said: ‘Doing something that engages you and that you enjoy is key. As adults, we don’t often do enough that includes fun and play.

‘We put a lot into studying the use of green spaces and that’s useful to individuals and communities.

'But maybe we need to say there are other things too.’

Graduate student Emily Burt interviewed 29 members of the group and the transcripts were analyzed for the study, published in the Journal of Public Health last week.

Beneficial: The researchers said more consideration needed to be given to hobbies, from reading to train spotting, and their potential for enhancing wellbeing. (Picture posed by model)
It concluded that: 'Whether it is growing vegetables, knitting a jumper or discovering a new scientific formula creativity may be fundamental for wellbeing and has received little attention so far within public health.
'Exploring creativity and what people do in their everyday lives, which they deem creative, may be an important avenue for wellbeing promoters.

'Additionally, more consideration needs to be given to all hobbies, from reading to train spotting, and their potential for enhancing wellbeing.'

She said: 'We’ve definitely seen an increase in groups doing quilting socially but also individuals.


'There’s an emotive connection as well as financial need to recycle.
'Historically older groups of women did quilting but women in their early 20s are getting together and children's groups are also taking it up.

'People are investing in quality pieces of quilting, but also looking to make items themselves and re-use materials they have in their homes.

'I can only see the popularity increasing.'











Advice From a Singer Sewing Machine Manual era 1949



A bali pop and some coordinating batik make this curtain match the quilt on the bed.

Quilts aren't just for beds!


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