Tips for Mindful Knitting “You’re a bit ceiling peel-y,” the doctor said. There I sat, in my university’s doctor’s office, perplexed. She explained that my natural state was one of anxiety, jumpiness, and edginess – getting me to communicate required her to peel me off the ceiling, figuratively speaking. This was the beginning of my journey to becoming more self-aware and mindful, though I had no idea at the time.
If you are like me, you may consider mindfulness a completely foreign concept, imagery of a wheat grass drinking cyclist may come to mind. I’m not sure if society instilled this feeling within me, or if it was something random, I picked up through life. Either way, it never felt authentic to who I am, and authenticity is paramount for me.
So how did I start to peel myself off the ceiling? It was a long road of trial, error, and denial. Yet, the one constant theme throughout this process was creativity. Someone once told me that meditation is finding a way to distract your consciousness. Right or wrong, this perspective helped reframe what mindfulness meant to me as a maker.
Mindfulness boils down to a few key concepts: paying attention, living in the moment, and learning self-acceptance. Here are my tips for how you can bring these concepts into knitting.
- Stop and smell the yarn.
It is easy to get caught up in the production aspect of creating. Remember to take pause and appreciate what you’re doing. Recognize how thankful you are to be able to spend time doing something you enjoy. Use your senses to connect to your knitting. How does the yarn feel? Do your needles have a noticeable quality? Do you smell a candle you lit before casting on? This is also known as grounding and is key to living in the moment.
- Find joy in weaving in the ends.
I’m sure there are parts of knitting that you don’t always love. Self-awareness of those tasks allows you to reframe them. Personally, I find joy in the less glamorous details through intentional tools and notions. The right tool can make the task at hand more enjoyable. Don’t sit there and tell me you don’t love a good project bag or pair of snips! You may find joy in using thrifted yarn or your grandmother’s sewing box. Perhaps you feel motivated by an organized project bag or stitch marker holder. Knitter’s Pride understands how needles and notions can elevate the experience of knitting. Recently, I’ve had my eye on their Teal Wooden Darning Needles, part of the new Knitter’sPride Mindfulness Collection – which, let’s be honest, is perfect. I care about reducing my plastic consumption, and I typically hate weaving in ends. RIP to my scrap-yarn blanket. Maybe it’s materialistic, but beautiful tools genuinely make mundane tasks a little more appealing by reminding me how much I love to create through each step of the process. With this beautifully crafted wooden needle in hand, maybe there is hope for my scrap yarn blanket after all.
- Untangle thoughts.
Traditional meditation can be difficult to do, especially if you’re new to mindfulness practices. Rather than breaths, try focusing on your thoughts. Words matter. Words inform your thoughts which then inform your mindset and actions. At the end of the day, our thoughts and actions dictate how we see and experience the world around us. Identify negative thoughts and reframe them, or even try repeating a mantra of your own making as you knit. Personally, meditative mantras help me when knitting ribbing, or repetitive stitch configurations. A simple mantra might be, “I am witty, I am healthy, I am loved.” If you are comfortable, you can take your mantra a step further by adding intentions to your affirmations. A sample intentional affirmation might be, I am promoted by summer, I am excited about the moving process, I am loved and willing to allow love in return.” As your thoughts wander, think about the possibilities behind your mantras being true. Reframing negative thoughts and using affirmational mantras while knitting supports a more mindful knitting practice and life.
Kelsea Wilhelm of DarkYarncraft