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Home Science Good Science Have you tried quilting?

Have you tried quilting?

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Perhaps this is a good lifestyle change for you.  There is really no solid conclusions in this study, but you may find it interesting.

"Quilting improves your health in ways even exercise can’t manage,” according to the Daily Mail. The newspaper said that making quilts is “uniquely good for you”.

This news story was based on a small survey that interviewed 29 women who belonged to a quilting group. The survey asked them about the satisfaction they got from quilting. The women, the majority of whom were retired, explained that they felt a sense of satisfaction from the creative process and, in particular, problem solving, working with colours and being able to lose themselves in their work. They also said that they enjoyed the social side of the activity, sharing tips and the inspiration they got from seeing other people’s work.

The research found that these people felt they benefited from their creating activity, but it did not objectively measure health or well-being. While it may inspire people to try this particular activity, it does not necessarily mean that quilting is more likely to have positive psychological effects than any other hobby or exercise. Overall, the design of this small study allows only limited conclusions to be drawn.

Some of the qualitative reports of quilting included:
  • Quilting was an accessible way for participants to be creative, incorporating different colours and textures and work with their hands to produce a tangible product. The women said that this offered a sense of wellbeing that they did not find in their jobs.
  • Participants identified that the use of bright colours had uplifting effects on mood and that this was particularly important in winter.
  • The majority of participants said that they became captivated by the creative process, which they likened to a “flow” - losing themselves in their quilting, displacing their anxieties and relaxing them. Participants said that these psychological benefits continued after they had stopped quilting.
  • The participants said that quilting required problem solving, such as designing new patterns and incorporating shapes. Even those with more years’ experience reported that they continued to find new challenges.
  • The participants reported that quilting was good for keeping busy, developing skills while being able to produce something at the end.
  • The participants appreciated the social side of quilting, and although the majority also made quilts alone, they enjoyed sharing ideas and skills with others. They said that seeing other people’s quilts was an inspiration to develop skills, and that receiving a quilt and receiving praise from others boosted their confidence.
Further research is needed to see whether quilting and other hobbies are good for mood, well-being and health. Ideally, studies in this area would take the form of a randomized control trial, perhaps measuring changes in factors such as blood pressure or well-being scores in groups assigned to try a new hobby, and comparing these changes to people performing no activity.


Links To The Headlines

Why quilting improves your health in ways even exercise can't manageDaily Mail, June 13 2011


Links To Science

Burt EL, Atkinson J. The relationship between quilting and wellbeing. Journal of Public Health, June 5 2011 (first published online)


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Last Updated on Saturday, 23 July 2011 17:24  

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