The first thing visitors see on the Cognitive Anchoring blog, is a goofy picture of a floating body trying to fly away but being held down by... a ball of yarn.

"Yes, it's ridiculous," Ordover says, "but it's also a clear graphic about what we're talking about." And what she's talking about started with some relatively recent research into how the human brain works while the hands are engaged in an automatic behavior.

Dr. Jackie Andrade at the University of Plymouth in the UK started the ball rolling in 2010 when she published "What Does Doodling Do?" in the journal "Applied Cognitive Psychology."

"I contacted her," Ordover said, "and found that I was not the first knitter who was interested in what she'd discovered." Namely, that doodling helped her research subjects remember up to 29% more than non-doodlers. And while doodling and knitting or crocheting are quite different activities, they share one trait: they can easily be done with some level of automaticity.

"The really interesting thing to me," Ordover, a knitter herself, added, "was that following the trail that led to Andrade's study took me all the way back to the late 1800s and studies that were done back then on what made people fidget and thus lose attention." The verdict: being bored makes people fidget and fidgeting indicates the body is trying to stop the mind from wandering and being forgetful-so anything that can be done to stave off boredom and wandering minds is good for memory retention.

What does that mean for knitters and crocheters (and doodlers for that matter)? If a person can knit, crochet, or doodle without having to watch their hands and "think about it" then they can remember more of what they hear while their hands are moving. That's good news for folks who have to spend long hours in meetings and on conference calls. "I can't be on a conference call without needles in my hands," Ordover says. "I'm sure I've annoyed bosses and colleagues over the years in meetings, but I can't concentrate if I can't knit. And now I have proof that it was the right thing for me to do. I wanted to pass that on to other handicrafters so they can explain to their bosses that this is a good thing!"

Inspired by "How to Blog a Book", the book Ordover is now blogging, "Cognitive Anchoring: Grounding Your Mind So Your Thoughts Can Run Free" is being released in 500-word chunks every Tuesday and Friday until complete. When done, the book will be compiled, edited, and available on Amazon.

Heather Ordover is Owner and CEO of Crafting-a-Life, Inc.
-responsible for the CraftLit podcast,
the "What Would Madame Defarge Knit?" series (from Cooperative Press),
the Mama O Knits too Much knitting blog,
and Grounded, a young-adult novel and the first book in The Seven series.

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