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Press release & real-life story: Knitting & meditating during grief & COVD
Good morning,

I hope you're doing OK!

I've been working with James McIntosh on and off for over a decade now, so when he asked me to help him spread the word about a new, free, downloadable guide to knitting and meditation he's written in association with Knitting magazine, I jumped at the chance to help him. James' mum died of cancer last month, so he left his partner, a doctor in a London hospital, to be by her bedside and organise the funeral in Ireland, where he's originally from. He's still in Ireland now and his partner, Dr Thomas Ernst, continues to work on the frontline in London, so they've been apart for a month now.

Thomas lost his own mum just nine months ago, also to cancer. She lived in Germany, where he's from originally.

The fact they've been able to do this for people, for free, to help them learn about the benefits of what they call 'knititation' really is so positive and given how stressful many of us are finding the current situation, I'm so proud of them!

James' background story - of how he came to love knitting after being confined to bed due to depression, anxiety and panic attacks for over a year - is also incredible.

The press release is below. If you'd like to work with us on this please give me a shout!


Helen Lewis
Literally Public Relations Ltd
+44 (0) 7904801669 (mobile)

Press release - 12thMay 2020

Making more time for a good yarn...

As lockdown continues, Knititation experts explain why more of us are getting crafty to help reduce stress and worry


        Brits are getting increasingly crafty to alleviate boredom, stress and loneliness as the pandemic continues to impact our daily lives. Retailers such as John Lewis are reporting a spike in haberdashery and craft product sales, and orders of British wool from have doubled since pre-lockdown.

        Knititation(knitting and meditation) experts, James McIntosh and Dr Thomas Ernst FRCP, partner with Knitting magazine to provide afree, downloadable guide to knitting and meditationto help people during the pandemic.

        James and Dr Thomas Ernst have personal experience ofgriefamidst extremely challenging times and the outstanding benefits of Knititation. Both have sadly lost their Mums to cancer in the past nine months. James' mother died in April 2020 during lockdown.

        World award-winning food writer, James McIntosh, used Knititation to help him go from being confined to bed for a year withanxiety, depression and panic attacks. One stitch at a time, he started knitting with a pair of chopsticks he found in his London flat, and day by day, changed his life completely. His wrote about this and included recipes and other knitting and meditation tips in his world award-winning book, Knit and Nibble.

        Knitting magazine editor Christine Boggis is the author of JOMO Knits, a collection of 21 designs celebrating the Joy of Missing Out, published in 2019 by GMC. Her collection of chunky, quick-to-knit designscelebrating the pleasures of staying at homehas never been more relevant than it is today. She has drawn on her experiences of depression and anxiety, and the comfort knitting has brought her, to create this book of garments and accessories perfect for knitters of all levels, including complete beginners, and is currently working on a second book, a collection of beautiful shawl patterns designed to be relaxing to knit.


London, United Kingdom, 12thMay 2020: Knitting magazine has partnered with authorsof the world award-winning book Knit and Nibble to publish a free, 38-page, downloadable book containing four knitting patterns and a guide to mindfulness in knitting (Knititation) by James McIntosh and Dr Thomas Ernst FRCP.

More than 25 million people were affected by high levels of anxiety in March when the UK was put into lockdown. And with Boris Johnson calling for people to ‘stay alert' in the coming weeks, with little certainty about when life will return to a sense of normality, the founders of Knititation believe that now is the most important time for people to be turning to arts, crafts, hobbies, meditation and ‘me-time'. 

James McIntosh, the author of Knit and Nibble, understands first-hand the crippling impact of anxiety, depression and panic attacks. Three years ago he was diagnosed with a ‘moderately severe depressive episode'. James found knitting as a way to recover - a mindfulness practice that James calls ‘knititation' - which allowed him to get back to life again, one stitch at a time. 

Dr Thomas Ernst (James's partner) and a senior consultant physician in a large central London teaching hospital uses mindfulness to treat chronic illness and pain. Dr Ernst, a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, practices mindfulness for three hours a day every day. James, who has a self-confessed fast brain could not even manage three minutes at first, but knitting helped him to be in the present and learn to accept his feelings and emotions. James McIntosh explains: "I worked with my partner to understand that my feelings and emotions are real, that they are mine and that, just as every part of a stitch is valuable for a garment to stay together, somy feelings are worth something, that I'm worth something."

James and Dr Ernst have both lost their Mums within the past nine months and are currently living at opposite ends of the UK, however, those knitted stitches are keeping them going while apart, not least with the stress of one half of the couple being on the NHS front line.

Their story about the wellness benefits of knitting and how it helped James' mental health is available for FREE from www.knitnibble.comand, where you can also subscribe to Knitting magazine's print or digital editions.


Christine Boggis, editor of Knitting magazine and author of JOMO Knits says:

"Physical and mental wellbeing and self-care are crucial at this difficult time, when so many people are feeling stressed and stretched by working on the front lines, caring for others, home schooling or simply being forced into their own company for far too long. Knitting is a wonderful stress reliever, and this supplement is all about how it can help ease anxiety and depression, aid meditation and generally make you feel great. It includes four original patterns that are classic, straightforward to knit and will give you an enormous sense of achievement."


A picture containing object, table, cakeDescription automatically generatedJames McIntosh says:

"Knitting won't give you all of the answers, but it will help you find some by spending time with your body. I realised that a stitch becomes a breath, a breath becomes a feeling and as I keep knitting those feelings are accepted and understood by myself."


Dr Thomas Ernst FRCP says:

"Knitting can be viewed as a mindfulness-based intervention, hence it will help recruit extra brain capacity which you will need in times like these."


Notes to editors


GMCis a global publisher ofcraft and wellbeingmagazines and books, including Breathe, Teen Breathe and Zen Colouring as well as Knitting, the UK's most fashion-forward magazine for knitters. Knitting, along with GMC's other titles, has a strong focus on wellbeing and the health benefits of crafts.


Knitting magazine 

The UK's original and best magazine devoted to the craft of hand knitting, Knitting magazine is the most fashion forward, knitterly title on UK news stands.


McIntosh Yarn

Hand-dyed British yarn in a range of stunning colours and yarn weights. 


Knit and Nibble

World award-winning knitting and cooking book by James McIntosh and Dr Thomas Ernst FRCP.

Awarded themost innovative cookbook in the world at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards and highly commended as the nation's favourite knitting book at theBritish Knitting and Crochet Awards'.

With 32 gender neutral knits and 35 recipes to nibble, this book teaches you how to knit and exposes the concept of mindful knitting throughknititation'  


JOMO Knits

Twenty-one designs celebrating the Joy of Missing Out by Christine Boggis - quick, chunky, satisfying patterns targeted at knitters of all levels, from absolute beginners to advanced. As well as all the tips and techniques you need to go from your first slip knot to being an accomplished knitter, this book includes articles about all the woolly goodness of staying home - from the joys of knitting for others to curling up with a good book.


GMC Publications

Leading publisher of craft and wellbeing magazines, including Breathe, Teen Breathe and


Media requests:Helen Lewis, Literally PR, 

James McIntosh, Dr Thomas Ernst and editor of Knitting magazine, Christine Boggis, are available for remote media interviews about the power ofknittingand Knititation during the pandemic.