Knitting as Meditation

Doll sweater finished

Knitting is a form of meditation and it is especially appealing in the middle of winter in the northeastern United States. At this point in time, most of us have grown tired of the cold and the stark landscape, although there is beauty in bare trees and snow. The sun hangs low in the sky and the shadows are long. Still, we long to see buds on the trees getting ready to burst forth into green leaves and warm weather. The birds have been singing more lately as they know that spring is coming soon.

Knit Picks yarn

This is about making something from nothing, only a few balls of light-weight fingering yarn and a set of 3mm circular knitting needles. I am by no means an expert knitter and these were very small knitting needles. I used to knit during and after college until my children were very small, but I moved on to other things and let that fall by the wayside a long while ago. I decided to try knitting again last year after seeing the wide variety of yarns available now. I was also very inspired by my daughter-in-law Aurora’s love of knitting and yarn.

There is a rhythm to knitting, like the rise and fall of your breath in yoga or meditation. In the beginning when you sit down to knit, you have to find that rhythm as you go stitch by stitch. Or maybe that rhythm finds you. Your thought stream gradually shifts from worries about this thing or that to a calm peacefulness. By knitting you are doing something that others who have come before you have done, and you feel connected to women of the past and their communal history.

Doll sweater first sleeve

The doll sweater was built in steps and I had a pattern to follow, Rosie’s Circular Yoke Sweater, a free pattern available on ravelry, a community for yarn enthusiasts. You start with a little sleeve and it grows. Like any project, it is easiest if broken down into steps. That makes it more approachable and less daunting. This is true for most projects.

Doll sweater two sleeves

It took a while, as knitting on small needles goes slowly, but eventually I had two sleeves done. The stitch holders are for setting the two sleeves aside until it is time to join them with the body of the sweater on the circular needles.

Doll sweater joined

Joining the sleeves to the body was a little tricky. I did not quite understand how to do it, so I read the directions over and over again and tried to visualize how it would all come together in my mind. I laid the pieces out next to each other and studied them. Finally something clicked and I was able to join the pieces together. Sometimes life is like that. You might not understand something but if you give yourself time, you will see.

Doll sweater yoke

Unraveling After Thanksgiving

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving day, with several small celebrations going on in different places. I went to Joe and Aurora’s the next town over and they prepared a magnificent feast. It was so nice to see my grandmother’s fine china set out on the dining room table. My son had repaired the leave for the table and he brought up 2 extra chairs from the basement so that there would be room for everyone. Afterwards we watched Christmas movies on Amazon prime… the original Miracle on 34th Street, and Chevy Chase’s Christmas Vacation.

Thanksgiving 2017

Back at home the next day, I did some journaling and some planning. Then I worked on crocheting my new hat. Crocheting has been getting me through some difficult health problems – it is easy to do and very meditational. I found the pattern on It is the Lovely Lady Slouch Hat by Corina Gray and it uses Lion Brand Homespun yarn, a variegated bulky yarn with an interesting texture and rich colors. I got all the way to where you add the band and it just didn’t look right – it looked like a pizza, not a hat! So I set it aside.

hat pizza

I went out after dinner to the premier meeting of the East Hampton Writers Guild and found a really interesting group of people, each with a different approach to writing. Everyone gave an intro relative to their writing experience so that we could get to know each other, and everyone shared a piece of writing with the group. I had never read my work out loud to a group before and it was a good experience. There was a lot of sharing and the conversations lingered after the meeting ended.

Today I decided to totally unravel the pizza shaped hat and start over. Rather than feeling upset that I had made mistakes in the hat, I felt empowered by unraveling the yarn and winding it all around the skein of yarn. It made me feel that I can take back control of my life. Just going out at night when I have been going to bed real early from fatigue was a step in taking back my life. I haven’t gone out at night since July. Starting over and using a different crochet hook size and a different method to make the double crochets worked! I was so happy I was able to figure it out. My thinking has been a little fuzzy at times since July.

hat in progress

Mary in hat

There will be healing and I just need to have faith and believe. My life was unraveling but I am starting to do more things even though everything is still an effort. I went on a quilt retreat a few weeks ago. I was the first one in bed instead of one of the last ones as I was before, but that’s OK. I still had fun. I managed to make a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. And I had a weekend soup marathon last weekend and made both chicken soup and pasta fagioli. These seem like small things but they are not. I have been conserving all of my energy for work and now more energy is slowly coming back for the creative things I like to do. I am looking forward to the new year!

mandala healing