Editor and writer Christine Boggis. (Photo: Laurel Guilfoyle)
I’ve been a slave to FOMO for much of my life…It’s only recently that I’ve realised staying home with my wool isn’t missing out – it’s what makes me happy.
There’s nothing new about the fear of missing out. It’s something most people experience during their lives, but recently marketers have coined the acronym FOMO to pressure us into buying anything from luxury holidays to vegan burgers. Fightback came, unexpectedly, from the craft sector: crafters of all kinds announced that, far from being afraid of missing out, they were delighted to stay home and knit, crochet, and papercraft. They called this JOMO – the joy of missing out.
I’ve been a slave to FOMO for much of my life. During my time at Exeter you would find me anywhere from balls and dinners to the late-night kebab van, women’s football, and the audience of University Challenge. It’s only recently that I’ve realised staying home with my wool isn’t missing out – it’s what makes me happy. Maybe it’s because I’m older, or because my top favourite people in the world (my husband, children, and two gerbils) all live in my house, or because knitting, which used to be a part-time hobby, is now a full-time obsession. But for whatever reason, these days I’m fully embracing the joy of missing out. So when I decided to write my first collection of knitwear designs, which was released in April 2019, JOMO Knits was the obvious title. As well as twenty-one knitwear designs, including some that are perfect for beginners, the book includes notes on great knitting reads, and how to use knitting as part of your mindfulness practice.
After leaving Exeter I travelled for nine months in South East Asia and Australia, then trained as a journalist. Starting out as a cub reporter on the Eastbourne Herald, I went on to work for an international newswire in Vienna, a legal and lifestyle magazine in the City, and a drinks trade magazine which left me well educated in all kinds of alcohol. Since 2015 I have been editor of Knitting magazine, a monthly fashion-led hand-knitting magazine which is distributed worldwide. I also write regularly for its sister publication, Breathe, a mindfulness and wellbeing magazine.
As someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression all my adult life, I am really keen to spread the word about the calming effects of knitting to as many people as possible. (That’s why I’ve designed this Exeter College scarf, which I hope College students will love to knit.) Studies have found that the rhythmic activity, the feeling of soft wool in your hands, and the way the needles cross your body as you craft all have soothing effects. For some, knowing that if they enter a room with strangers they can knit and not have to worry about social interaction, is enough to help them get over crippling shyness. In my case, knitting helps me relax after a stressful day in a busy workplace, and gives me something to do with my hands if I can’t sit still.
Being immersed in the world of knitting, I hear so many stories about people who have suffered from all kinds of problems: from seriously debilitating conditions like strokes, to the kind of severe anxiety and depression that leaves you unable to leave your home. All of these people have been helped – some would say saved – by knitting.
JOMO Knits by Christine Boggis