I finally began my first knitting project of 2021! To me knitting is a way to relax and escape from it all. Especially with how the world has been the last year I have needed an escape. Knitting has been my escape. Last year like everyone else I was home more than ever. When lockdown started I thought staying home was going to be a simple thing. I like so many others discovered it was not as simple a task as it appeared. 2020 was mentally draining and stressful. To find peace during the year I turned to my knitting needles. I ended up knitting more in the past year than I have in the last seven. I created multiple shawls, hats, two blankets, and some other small projects. When I started knitting during lockdown I was really looking for something to do while I watched Netflix. I was looking for something productive to say I had accomplished something that day. I had been feeling driftless and needed something to motivate me. I had an urge to do something to do anything. What I found in those projects was peace. My mind was clearer and I was able to focus better. I was not as distracted as I had been. I found the longer I spent at home the less I was able to focus on things.

I worked on small projects during the zoom meetings for work to keep my mind clear and focused. My mind wandered far too much without a project in my hand. I was tired of just looking at a screen all day. I was struggling to focus on the screen. I know many of us had these screen burnout moments. I had a hard time focusing on these virtual meetings without something to occupy my hands and part of my mind. While I was at home it was all too easy for my thoughts to drift away to something else. Knitting kept me grounded and focused on what was happening on my screen.

I have also had a need for a happy place during these crazy times. I found it a challenge to not be able to go anywhere or see anyone. Knitting is my happy place. Knitting is like meditation and yoga to me. In fact I find it even more soothing than meditation and yoga. My mind wanders too much during mediation. It takes me too long to settle down and get comfortable. I have to be in the right mindset to meditate. I cannot relax as quickly with yoga as I can knitting. It takes me longer to get into that peaceful mindset. Yoga leaves me with a peaceful and relaxed feeling after a good session, but it also takes me longer to get started. Especially when I am home and trying to follow along with a video. I cannot focus as well on a video. If the video pauses or buffers my mood is ruined and I cannot get back into the yoga. That is why knitting is my number one mindful hobby. I can pick it up and put it up at any time. I can do a project based on my mood. It does not buffer. I do not need a set position of mindset. And it does not ruin my relaxation if I have to take a break.

I prefer to escape in simple repetitive patterns so I do not have to think. I can just clear my mind. I feel more peaceful and relaxed after a knitting session. It is my favorite way to unwind after a long day or meeting. My mind just empties as I work the needles back and forth. The yarn just glides across the needles in a soothing manner. I find the art of creating something with a skein of yarn and two needles to be the most relaxing thing I can do. Knitting is that almost magic thing I can do to empty my mind and calm my emotions. It brings a sense of pride to end a day with a clear mind and a finished project. Knitting is the mindful hobby that you can share with others. I get a free mind and my loved ones get knitted items to keep them cozy.

By Ashley

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