For me, knitting is a path to mindfulness in uncertain times. Knitting becomes my retreat; holding my knitting in my hands becomes my stress relief. We all know that expression, “you can't pour from an empty cup.” When life gets difficult, carving out time to create peace and stillness can become a ripple that spreads positivity to others. In this way, knitting "fills my cup."
Carving out time for Mindful knitting allows us to make time for nourishment. A great way to create a daily practice is to place your knitting in a beautiful basket or knitting bag that is inviting. Have the basket accessible, and pick a place in your home that you find yourself in every day. If you want to bring your knitting along with you, set your knitting bag up with everything you need the night before. Ask yourself, what daily habits are nourishing you today? Make mindful knitting one of those habits!
When we cook a healthy meal, we choose healthy ingredients that fill our senses. Similarly, an important ingredient in my meditation practice is the space I choose to knit in, so I nourish myself by knitting in nature. Pick a place where all your senses can be filled, like a park with a bench near water. If you are in an apartment or home, you can still make the space special. Light a candle nearby, put on music that you love, and focus on being present and mindful as you knit.
Allow yourself to choose yarns that reflect the serene environment that you create for yourself. I choose soft yarn with beautiful colors and textures that very often mirror what I am seeing in nature. When I pick my yarns with care, my finished knitting projects become a gift that I can proudly give to others or wear myself. I also choose knitting accessories that enhance my practice. One accessory that helps me knit mindfully is a row counter. Without having to remember the row number, I can focus my energy on the present moment, the present stitch. I also use the stitch counter as a reminder to relax my shoulders and see how I am holding my body. Sometimes, I tighten up or slouch when I knit, and the stitch counter creates an opportunity to notice my posture. Another tool that can be helpful is a knitting journal. I usually write quotes that I contemplate while knitting, or jot down an idea for future projects.
“Habit is a cable; we weave a thread of it each day, and at last we cannot break it.” - Horace Mann
Mary Ann Gebhardt began knitting at the age of seven and started practicing yoga in her twenties. Yoga transformed her life by providing newfound balance and flexibility, while knitting has always been calming and meditative for her. Picking up her knitting is truly pure peace for Mary Ann.