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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Fibre Space"

Danielle Romanetti on the benefits of knitting and how to start

Westlake Legal Group danielle-romanetti-portrait Danielle Romanetti on the benefits of knitting and how to start Things to Do Features Things to Do stay home knitting Hobbies Fibre Space at-home entertainment at-home beauty treatments At Home
Danielle Romanetti (Photo courtesy of fibre space)

Knitting keeps the hands busy, and the mind at ease (once you get the hang of it). Multiple research studies show the brain releases oxytocin while knitting, helping you feel calm, relaxed and happy—all of which we could use a little bit more of these days. Here, we spoke with Alexandria local Danielle Romanetti, the owner of yarn and crochet supply store fibre space, about how to begin knitting.

Have you seen an uptick in interest from new clients since the pandemic began?

Yeah, we’ve sold a lot of internet kits. We actually sold out of one of the books, so we changed our kits to a new book that we could get steadily and since it’s such an extended book, with several projects in it, it moves through the crafts almost like classes. We’ve created a series of kits with it. Through kits one, two and three, you’re making fingerless gloves, a hat and a cowl. Those have been selling well, and people have been buying all three because they assume they’re going to have lots of time to learn new skills.

What are the best projects for beginners?

Normally, our “Learn to Knit” class starts with a scarf, because you’re learning the knits and purls (two kinds of stitches) and putting them together to create ribbing. The “Learn to Knit” kit we have right now starts with fingerless mitts and I really like that as a first product, something that you can complete a lot faster. Scarves are the same thing over and over again, so sometimes people get kind of bored or they lose interest and they put it down. We always recommend that you try to learn both the knit and the purl stitch when you’re starting out because you don’t want to get so proficient with just the knit stitch that when you learn purl it seems awkward. They’re both used all the time in knitting.

Why is knitting important, especially right now?

It helps you to feel calm and relaxed, and feel happiness and joy. It’s incredibly important that we have those types of activities in our lives right now. It’s a repetitive motion that can be very soothing because you feel like you’re accomplishing something, but at the same time, you’re sort of doing a mindless task, almost like a fidget spinner … It’s particularly helpful for my customers who are high-intensity, high-productivity, who tend to have a lot going on in their lives where they’re used to always being in motion, because knitting is sort of substituting that motion. You are at rest, your body is at rest and you can focus, but you’re still moving. You’re still being productive.

Westlake Legal Group inside-of-fibre-space-store Danielle Romanetti on the benefits of knitting and how to start Things to Do Features Things to Do stay home knitting Hobbies Fibre Space at-home entertainment at-home beauty treatments At Home
Photo courtesy of fibre space
Romanetti’s 3 Tips for Beginners

Sit correctly: “If you’re hunched over your needles in this super tense position, make sure to stop, roll your shoulders back and reposition yourself. Try to sit in a chair that’s supportive so you’re not bending your neck down to look at your needles.”

Find a support system: Romanetti says that knitting really is about the community, whether that be friends who also knit, or a local yarn shop that holds classes. “They are your community spaces. They’re how you get support and advice; it’s really not a solo craft—it’s about connecting with other people.”

Don’t give up: New knitters tend to have really loose or really tight stitches, according to Romanetti. “Remember that if it’s too tight or too loose, those are things that are going to improve as your hands become a little more automated with the motion.” Practice makes perfect!

This post originally appeared in our June/July 2020 print issue. For more at-home entertainment ideas, subscribe to our Things to Do newsletter.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Alexandria’s fibre space celebrates 10 years in NoVA

Westlake Legal Group Danielle-Romanetti Alexandria’s fibre space celebrates 10 years in NoVA stress relief relaxation mental health knitting Health Fibre Space Culture Features crochet anxiety
Founder of fibre space, Danielle Romanetti (Photo courtesy of fibre space)

Danielle Romanetti has been offering knitting classes in the DC Metro Area for about 13 years, yet it wasn’t until 2009 that she was able to secure a place of her own. Since then, fibre space has evolved into more than a full-service yarn shop, but also a space for individuals to gather, learn and ultimately relax.

Many of the regulars at fibre space practice knitting to relieve stress, and they aren’t alone. According to a 2019 survey from the Craft Yarn Council, an organization made up of a variety of businesses involved in the yarn industry, 93% of respondents use knitting and or crochet as a self-care activity. In fact, knitting’s repetitious movements can help the brain counterbalance stress, slowing down your heart rate and dropping stress hormones, according to the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Knitting can even impact your memory, too. According to an article published in 2011 by The Journal of Neuropsychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences, people who participate in crafts like knitting and crochet have a decreased risk of mild cognitive impairment, a possible precursor to Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

While the benefits are clear, individuals must first learn the proper techniques, which is where Romanetti comes in. Here, she shares how her business has intertwined with mental health.

Westlake Legal Group space Alexandria’s fibre space celebrates 10 years in NoVA stress relief relaxation mental health knitting Health Fibre Space Culture Features crochet anxiety
Photo courtesy of fibre space

First, talk to me about what it means for you to reach 10 years as a business.
It’s been incredible. We are in our third, and hopefully final, location in Old Town, which is about double the size of our previous one. And we were actually able to find a building to purchase, which will really give us the ability to be here for another 10 years because our monthly costs will go down in the future. Since we started, the Old Town  business community here has really been supportive, and there are a lot of fabulous retailers who were willing to partner and pull me in from the start. 

How has your space and workshops served as therapeutic mechanisms?
We have regular introduction to knitting and introduction to crochet classes, with three or four in any given month, that are small with only six students in each one. What’s nice about that is that people are able to really chat and meet each other. We’ve watched people get to know each other in our space and make connections they never would have had.

Also, what’s great about knitting and crochet is that it’s a repetitive craft, with a motion that allows your mind to relax and check out. Most of our consistent customers have added it into everyday activities. For example, some will watch movies at the theater and also stitch, instead of snacking or grabbing their phone, because it’s a really good way to be more mindful. 

Westlake Legal Group shop1 Alexandria’s fibre space celebrates 10 years in NoVA stress relief relaxation mental health knitting Health Fibre Space Culture Features crochet anxiety
Photo courtesy of fibre space

What’s your own experience with knitting and mental health?
One of the reasons I opened the business is because I took on knitting as a stress reliever. I had a panic anxiety disorder in grad school that was really bad and knitting was part of my therapy. Now I do it when I need to take a break from the store and family stress, because it makes me feel relaxed, but also productive.

Actually, some of our clients have told us that their therapists recommend knitting as a form of anxiety relief because the repetitiveness is such a relaxer. In addition to the repetitiveness, we’ve found that just finding something to do in a high-stress situation is really helpful. For example, we’ve had regulars who go through something like losing their job who will knit while they are home instead of watching TV or playing video games. Because you are actually making something and you can see your progress, it is great for multi-taskers and high-intensity people who always need to be doing something.


In honor of the shop’s birthday, there will be a two-day sale and celebration happening on Saturday, July 27 and Sunday, July 28. In addition to discounts of up to 30% off, there will also be an activation bar with treats from other Old Town businesses, including Toastique and Lavendar Moon. Plus, visitors will be able to enjoy activities like a DIY decorative station for reusable shopping bags, giveaways and more. For more information on fibre space and upcoming workshops, click here

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Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com