Sunday, January 10, 2010

Learning the Zen of Knitting...

Knitters have known for years what I am only discovering in this quiet time after my father’s passing. Until now, I have worked on one or two projects at a time and forged ahead until each one is completed before starting anything new. Now I have 3 scarves, one pair of socks and a baby blanket on the go at the same time. Depending on my mood, I am taking time to sit down for a little while with any of them, watching them grow stitch by stitch. Only one of them has a deadline... and that is in flux because babies can be a bit unpredictable in their arrival date. The rest are just for the sheer pleasure of working with the particular colour of texture of the chosen yarn. None of the knitting is complicated enough that I have to concentrate very hard, so there is also the fun of letting my mind wander. Creative ideas pop up, prayers are spoken from the depths of my heart, dreams remembered or the week ahead planned out as stitch after stitch slips from one needle to the next. When my “thinking time” is over, I have something to show for it. When I sit down to watch television or help the girls with homework, I have something to show for it. 

Bit by bit the knitting grows, a single thread turned into something beautiful and functional.
No wonder so many of us get hooked on different crafts or ways of being creative. Each has a magic of its own and something to teach us if we only listen.

INHALE: Sometimes, in order to be creative, we have to pick up something simple to get our hands, mind and spirit to connect better with one another. Musicians have scales to keep them limber on their instrument of choice. Doodling is a great way to let your mind wander for artwork, but every craft out there probably has a simple step or an easy task that can accomplish the same purpose. You want to be creative, but you also want to give your mind a chance to wander a bit and the stress of everyday challenges to be held at bay for just a little while.

EXHALE: This week, find time to enjoy a simple part of the craft you love the most. Find a ball of yarn that you love to touch, cast on 16 stitches and knit until it is used up. Sort your floss boxes or wind some onto their little cards and then tidy up your stitching fabric to see what might work for a simple chart to stitch up between larger projects. Scrapbook some gift tags for next year instead of a whole page for an album. String a group of beads that you like to make a bracelet instead of a fancy necklace. Whatever craft touches your heart in a way that replenishes it, take the time to indulge in something simple so that your mind can go off to a calm place while your hands stay busy. It’s a great escape!

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