I’ve been a bit quiet lately. I’ve been busy writing a History of Knitting paper, knitting a Fair-Isle Vest, and several pairs of socks.
And why the cryptic title? As we move through the Winter Solstice, and various and sundry secular and religious holidays, the earth is literally turning from darkest night and into the light. This time of year is especially conducive to reflection and meditation.
But what does this have to do with knitting?
Knitting is, among many things, a very meditative activity. I’m sure you’ve felt it: you get in the zone, stitches begin to fly off the needles, and your very breath is in sync with the creation forming in your hands.
And that is what happened to me tonight, as I sat and knitted socks. Again. More socks.
Don’t get me wrong, I love knitting socks. The beginning challenges of learning to use DPNs, and later Magic Loop (for the record, I actually prefer DPNs to Magic Loop for socks. The DPNs look like a Ninja star, so I become a knitting ninja.). The challenges of construction, from heel flaps and short row heels, to cuff-down or toe-up. Preventing “ladders” at the join between DPNs. Even two at a time socks. I love the challenge.
And when I love the challenge, combine that with a reflective time of year, and getting in sync with my knitting — THAT my friends is why I knit.
And this is the thought I want to leave to you this holiday season. Knit. Enjoy the process. Become ONE with your knitting. Seriously — just try to sync your breath and focus single-pointedly on your knitting.
Knitting as Meditation
Breathing evenly makes your stitches nice and even. When we’re anxious, afraid, stressed, or even just tired, those feelings all show in the knitting. So breathe deep. Concentrate on one stitch at a time. You may find yourself knitting quite a bit slower at first. That is good! That just means you are focusing. Continue breathing deeply, slowly and evenly (don’t force it) and focus stitch by stitch by stitch.
When you come to a potential problem (like ladders at the DPN joins), slow down, breathe and ask yourself “What will minimize this potential problem?” Maybe you need to knit a couple stitches tighter on the new needle. Or perhpas you just need to watch the tension on the yarn coming from your hand. Whatever the issue, breathe, work the stitches deliberately, and then move on.
Before long, subtly, you’ll begin to notice that you are knitting much faster.And soon, you truly know the peaceful art of knitting. Think of it as knitting as meditation. And the world could use a lot more meditation and a lot less stress.
So, give it a try. Knit not to finish an object. Knit to meditate. I think you’ll find that your knitting is much more enjoyable, and you begin to finish projects more quickly. And your knitting will definitely improve.
Happy Holidays, no matter which if any