The great knitter and teacher Elizabeth Zimmermann said, "Knit on with confidence and hope through all crises." Oh, how true that has been these last couple of years!
Knitting has always brought me peace. It's been something I've looked forward to, something that's brought me friends and community, and something that brings color and creativity into my life.
Even with all of this, though, I realized I'd taken knitting for granted. During the pandemic and all that it's brought, I've come to rely on my knitting craft more than ever, and I've been able to enjoy it in new and surprising ways.
When the pandemic hit, one of my most significant losses was meeting in person with my knitting group. We got together at our local yarn shop every Tuesday evening, knitting, shopping, visiting, and then going out to dinner-for many of us, it was the highlight of our week. So when we had to quit meeting, we were a bit adrift. But, like many groups, we turned to Zoom and continued to get together virtually.
Zoom has been such a fantastic way to stay connected, and while we can't feel the softness of each other's knitted garments, we can still enjoy camaraderie and our love of the craft. Over the summer months, we could get together (socially distanced) in person, which was terrific. But when fall came, we reluctantly (yet gratefully) returned to Zoom.
One of the silver linings of the pandemic was learning about The Mindful Collection and meeting people like Mary Ann Gebhardt, who used the collection to its full effect with knitting meditations and mindful knitting practice. If you haven't tried one of Mary Ann's guided knitting meditations, here's one to get you started:
I’ve switched out many of my projects (I have a lot going at once!) to The Mindful Collection knitting needles, and every time I knit with them, I look at the inspirational word on the needles. I’m reminded to dream, focus, believe, or exhale every time I pick up my needles. I thought I would stop noticing the words printed on the needles, but I haven’t, and they help center me and guide me to knit mindfully.
Yarn shops had to adapt to the new normal as well, and it was wonderful to see how much creativity came from necessary adjustments to business as usual. I've Zoomed along on many fireside chats, lectures, online knit nights, and so forth, learning and spending time with like-minded folks.
I appreciate my knitting so much more than I ever imagined I could. It’s provided an escape from the news and events of the pandemic, which is so necessary for mental health.
I’ve recently realized that my knitting has become more of a practice than a hobby; I practice mindfulness-being in the moment and feeling the yarn slip through my fingers and slide from needle to needle as I create something with beautiful yarn. As the stitches grow, so does my sense of peace.
Every day, I look forward to harnessing the healing power of knitting, and I hope you do, too.