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The Good Kind of Challenge
Since fall hit the Boston area I have been on a knitting kick – can’t stop, won’t stop. It has been so much fun. For a while now I have wanted to start writing my own patterns, but to be honest didn’t believe that I could do it. Then one of my scarves I knit sold for $95, and I was like okay maybe I can (and should) make my own patterns and sell my stuff.
So the pattern making has begun and it is a little more challenging than I thought it would be – but a good kind of challenge. It makes me pause and really plan out what the project will look like. I really had to be present, and mindful of what stitches went where. Over the past few days I have been working on creating an arm-warmer pattern. As I was creating the pattern my dog, Cosmo, was sitting in front of me. Her pointy ears were perky and alert. Cosmo’s ears gave me the idea to include a triangle in the pattern. That was how the triangle pattern was born.
It felt like getting the correct rib pattern and stitches was slow going at first, but it really only took me two days to knit the left arm-warmer. It has excited and inspired me to get started on other projects as well. Maybe a cozy sweater or traditional Christmas Stockings next…
I’ve written before on how I think knitting and yoga are related. How the meditative nature of knitting helps reduce stress. Well I was reminded of this when I started knitting a new project. It was a small kerchief scarf. The pattern basically has you repeating the same stitch over and over again until you run out of yarn. It is a very simple project and the repetitive meditative nature is clear.
As I was knitting to stay focused and keep my stitches even my mantra was my pattern. “knit, knit, knit, knit” and so on. Every so often I would check that I wasn’t slouching and that my breathing was steady. It is easy to get caught up in a project and forget to take care of your posture, but like any repetitive motion you need to be mindful of your movements to not cause injury. When you spend hours in a row knitting it can cause your hands to cramp if you are gripping the yarn and needles too tightly. I find that taking periodic breaks to do minor stretches and take a few deep breaths help me out. As you become a more experienced knitter that just becomes part of the knitting – being balanced with your breath and you move through the project.
If you are not a knitter, but want to start, I recommend first making something simple like this scarf, because the chunky yarn knits up quickly and you will have a finished product within hours. (email me for pattern: email@example.com) Or if you want to learn to meditate, but are unable to “just sit there”, knitting is a great way to be introduced to the idea of a one pointed focus and sitting still.
Using a super chunky yarn does make a project knit up faster, but I also love using a thick yarn because of the texture. It highlights the stitches so much more and is super cozy. In the fall and winter I love nothing more than a super thick chunky knit scarf or poncho to keep me cozy.
Live Light Practice: No matter if you are knitting or sitting writing an email pause and check in with your posture and breath. See if you can keep the breath deep and steady. Also, see if you can keep a tall spine so you are not slouching forward.
Some days just go in slow motion. I started my home practice today and realized it was going to be a mellow day. My mind was racing, but my body was moving slow.
To quiet my mind and move towards a state of being where my body and mind were connected I did practices that had my head below my heart and sometimes my forehead connected to the earth. By grounding my forehead I started to notice the slowing down of my thoughts.
In this child’s pose (picture on the left) I put my hands between my heels and butt so that it was a softer pose. I let my muscles relax and gravity do its thing. Soon after getting into the pose I felt more balanced. By having my head connected to the floor, my hands and legs joined, I was able to breath deeply and coax my body and mind to a similar slow rhythm.
I began and ended my practice with this cuddly child’s pose. Feel like you are having a mellow day? Try it out.
Live Light Practice:
Take a child’s pose where you feel fully supported. That might mean a block under your forehead and blankets behind your knees. Take time to set it up so you can rest there for about three minutes.