Mindfulness in Knitting: meditations on craft and calm
Casts fresh light on a famously calming craft, and reveals how the simple repetition of plain and purl can in itself nurture wellbeing.
Everyone can pick up a pair of needles and a ball of yarn. And everyone can be mindful. Rachael Matthews explores the joys of making and looks at the benefits of taking up one of the simplest and most useful of crafts.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rachael Matthews is the director of Cast Off Knitting Club and Prick Your Finger, an ethical yarn shop and textile gallery, both in East London. An artist specializing in knitting and a teacher focusing on Craftivism and craft process, she has curated knitted works at the V&A, Barbican, Tate Modern and the Crafts Council, including a Yan Tan Tethara Mandala.
Chapter 1: Knitting Triggers Enlightened Thoughts pp8-27
How knitting and the meditative space it offers provides a lifelong structure for learning.
Craft demands regular practice and frequently asks us to relish a challenge, in the same vein as meditation.
Introducing ideas on identity.
Growing up with knitting.
How we learn.
Following knitting trends-where are we now?
How our knitting experience is shaped by the past, and how we will fit in here and now.
Mindfulness exercises: What do we wish to achieve? Explore your knitting history. Start a Mindful Knitting diary. Measuring rows and rounds with breath.
Chapter 2: Knitting Circles pp28-45
Not just any old knitting club; how a knitting circle can benefit individuals and a community.
Significance of your practice on a global scale; discover the meaning of the word
Craftivism and how its movement aims to change the world.
Mindfulness exercises: What does knitting mean to you and what do you think it means to others? Creating a knitting plan.
Chapter 3: Adventures With Materials pp46-67
Relating to a specific yarn.
Take a journey with yarn.
Become an expert in materials.
Collect a color story!
Mindfulness exercises: Letting our materials take us on shamanic journeys across the world or backward and forward in time. Noticing the harmony in placement of materials.
Chapter 4: A Sacred Space pp68-89
Our relationship to time; our knitting timetable changes throughout our lives.
Mindfulness in knitting can be practiced whether you are multi-tasking or spending quiet time with just knitting and breath.
Expectations; watching the process of knitting, mindfully, moment by moment, can lead us to peaceful conclusions.
Working to relax; the proven health benefits.
Mindfulness exercises: Noticing expectations, final outcomes, and the impact knitting has on your body.
Chapter 5: Accepting Your Creations pp90-107
How to deal with a project that goes wrong.
The UFO Project Administration Service, dedicated to the study and completion of Unfinished Objects.
Creative mistakes do not have to be thought of as failure and are opportunities for inventiveness, allowing new ideas to grow.
Mindfulness exercises: Showing your creation in public; taking time to accept what it now is. Using finishing techniques mindfully, showing compassion for your creation, and noting your changing relationship.
Chapter 6: The Gift pp108-125
Emotional values; the emotional cost of creativity.
Knitting for others; the issues to be aware of when knitting for someone or becoming the owner of a knitted gift.
Attachment & value.
Mindfulness exercises: Finding clarity on how you feel about something you have made. Giving thanks for the experience.
Chapter 7: Patterns For Knitted Meditation and Mandala pp126-139
Instruction for knitted meditation in the making of a mandala, including ancient structures, starter patterns, and forming a mandala knitting circle.
Mindfulness exercises: The mandala and meditation.
Endmatter: Further reading, index & acknowledgments pp140-144