Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Mindful Knitting



"The act of knitting is inherently built on the formation of a stitch, the creation of fabric. When we knit, we place our attention over and over again on the natural rhythm of creating fabric from yarn - insert needle, wrap yarn, pull through a new stitch, repeat. Following this simple repetitive action is the basis of contemplative practice. It continually reminds us to stay focused, to stay in the moment. When we knit with this attention, we have a almost indescribable feeling of satisfaction and contentment. This is knitting as meditation" so says Tara who wrote the book I am reading at the moment. This has been a really interesting journey for me. I am naturally reflective and I suspect that many knitters and crafters are, but I used to find knitting very stressful. However since returning to the creative world after much time away doing a pretty responsible and heavy day job, I have since come to find it very relaxing and therapeutic. It is just the very 'being in the moment' that creates that calmer sense of being.

The book is based on Zen Buddhism but I am not a Buddhist, I am actually a Christian and I reckon the book translates well into any faith (or none) context. It is a mixture of knitting with patterns for some interesting projects at different levels (I am about to start a tea cosy knitted on circular needles which is one of the easier projects) with hints and tips about process and the skill of knitting, combined with the art of meditation and quiet reflection and how the one encourages the other.

Life can become so busy, can't it, with so much to do, so many people to see and so many things to think about, and time and space become a rareity. But it is at our peril, I believe, that we let this go unchallenged. Just a few minutes of quiet knitting (and I know you will know this in the very core of your being as I write this) can provide just the 'centering' that we need to cope with the next task/chore/person/email/report/phone call or whatever.

I haven't read all of the book yet but what I have read I like and it has made me realise that my return to knitting (and crochet and sewing etc) is as much about that time and space as it is about creativity. Let me leave you with another quote from the introduction by Tara:

"By simply creating a quiet state of being, you can begin to notice - notice your thoughts, notice your feelings, and notice the workings of your minid and experience. Through this process of noticing we can begin to develop a kindness - toward ourselves and our world".

Let me know if you have read this book and what you think of it. In the meantime I am going to try and work out how to put an amazon widget on my sidebar so I can show all the books I love and would love to recommend!

1 comment:

Shirl said...

I have, for some time, been considering knitting much more than I do: I like the sound of this book.