Thursday, November 13, 2008

Knitting Mindfully

Since it was my turn to anchor our meditation group last night, I got there early to set up and light the candle. I sat down with my knitting to await the arrival of other meditators.

But 7:30 came and went and no one walked through the door. Instead of starting the sit, I just kept knitting, promising myself to quit after each additional row about 10 times. I’m still so new to knitting that I can’t really think about anything else while I’m doing it so it is almost a form of meditation.

At 7:40 I put the knitting aside and began to sit, telling myself I’d go for 20 minutes. I invited the bell 3 times and closed my eyes. At precisely 8:00 I looked at my watch for the first time. It was a calm sit with virtually no distractions. After the concluding bell, I blew out the candle, turned off the lights, collected my knitting, and locked the door on my way out.

I’m now into my 3rd of three balls of yarn. The scarf is approaching 3 feet as you can see. I’m having lunch with an experienced knitter who can tell me what to do with the yarn ends that remain from where I’ve finished one skein and started the next. I’ll be curious to see whether the approach is to tie them in a knot or work them into the scarf with a crochet hook or maybe something else that I haven’t even thought of.

I’m afraid I’m becoming one of those annoying people who whip our their knitting any time they sit down. There is something very soothing and meditative about the repetitive motion of picking up a stitch with one needle, wrapping the yarn around it, and then transferring it to the other needle – over and over and over again.

It was really OK that no one showed up. I had a new sort of practice that was equally beneficial.


Blogger Cyndy said...

Your scarf is looking good!

10:36 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Cyndy -- I'm pleased with the scarf. It makes me feel good when people in a doctor's waiting room admire it. It serves to start conversations, sort of interesting I think.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

It's really coming along beautifully! And I don't think there's anything wrong with whipping out your knitting whenever you want. It's a very productive habit and you're making beauty.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- I will probably be somewhat selective about where I choose to knit. It's hard to watch someone's face and not drop a stitch.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

such beautiful colors -

I like moving meditation, too. I space out when I iron, when I walk, when I dust... the repetitive movements induce a welcome "no-thought" space.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- I think it's sometimes nice to become a part of the repetitive motion. I often feel the separation of mind and body, finding myself outside simply watching my body breathe. Is that weird?

8:12 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Weird? I don't think so - it's a state I love to achieve.

6:16 AM  
Blogger mouse (aka kimy) said...

the scarf is looking mighty fine!!

when e was into knitting she often went to a local 'knit n bitch' group - she loved it - was held at a local coffee shop two evenings a month. she said it was a tremendously eclectic group - women of all ages. unfortunately she hasn't time these days to knit, but maybe one day will return and get back to the group.

I bet in your area there are knitting groups

9:00 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- I can see we're going to have fun when I come to visit you!

Mouse -- I think a knitting group would be fun because although you might need your eyes for knitting, your brain and mouth would be quite free to move!

9:18 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

I tried to comment on this yesterday and for some reason Blogger wouldn't let me. At any rate, I can totally see your point re. meditation and its similarity to getting lost in a mindful task. The scarf looks great!

10:05 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Steve -- Blogger can be unpredictably uncooperative at times. I hate it when I try to make a comment and it comes out twice, which happens from time to time. Oh well, I guess we can't complain because it's free entertainment!

Sometimes I even feel meditative when cooking. Maybe that's similar to the effect of the green tea ceremony done by the Japanese. It's all about achieving a particular state of mind, whether in silence or not.

10:16 AM  
Blogger lettuce said...

the scarf is beautiful

i love the colours

I find knitting (or weaving or spinning) very meditative activities

6:31 AM  

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