FALL 2021 Knitalong ~ Week 1 Blog
Week 1: Starting wherever you are.
There is this serendipitous feeling in my heart today. It’s a day that I look forward to season after season; It is the Knit Collage Knit-A-Long cast-on day. There is such delight in opening these emails, writing down zoom dates, and beginning to work through Amy’s videos.
Part of why I love this day is that we are reminded that our knitting is about much more than just the yarn itself. There may be some of you who don’t yet have your special knit collage yarn in your hands (it is coming! And if you need support please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org). Or maybe, you are trying to finish that sweater, or complete the second sock to your pair. Or even, you’ve already casted on, and are excitedly watching your yarn come together in stitches. Or perhaps, you are feeling a little intimidated by the pattern length or a new technique. Regardless of where you are on this journey, you are welcome here. In this blog post, I hope to remind you of two incredible aspects of this KAL: our community and an opportunity to explore mindfulness.
Cast-on day signifies the official start of a communal journey. Knitters from all over are casting on the same set of patterns, and yet, each finished piece will be just as different and unique as the knitters themselves. So many knitters are choosing to dedicate pockets of their days and evenings to do something that brings them joy, comfort and relief. Knitters are opting to experiment, try something new, and let their creativity shine. There is just such serendipity in these early days - excitement, connection and hope for what’s to come.
I want to take a moment to encourage you to interact in the communities in a way that feels right for you. There is an open and vast community of knitters ready to cheer each other on for every step of the process. Your voice is unique and gosh, we want to hear it!! If you are on the fence about posting in the facebook group, or speaking up in a zoom call, I encourage you to think: what joy, what excitement, and what connection could I gain from taking this first step? It can feel overwhelming to put ourselves out there, and yet time and time again the KAL brings people together. Just as trying out a new stitch, saying hello to someone new can be oh so rewarding. Of course if you prefer to listen, respond to the posts of others, or log on and watch for an IG Live, that is all a-okay. This KAL is about doing what makes the most sense for you, in this specific moment, in this unique season of life. Sometimes that’s speaking, and sometimes that’s listening. You are in charge of your KAL experience, whatever that might be.
Beyond the community, you’ll likely hear Amy, myself, and others bring up the topic of mindfulness. Sometimes mindfulness can be overwhelming or feel like something far off and unattainable. However, I want to take a moment to demystify it a little bit. Mindfulness is really just being aware and choosing where your mind and thoughts go. When we grab our knitting, we can make an active choice to focus our mind on those stitches. If our mind wanders, we can notice it without judgement, and gently bring back our focus to those stitches. Mindfulness doesn’t demand that we are calm or that we change our experience, instead it’s about embracing the present moment.
In this present moment, I invite you to consider how mindfulness can intertwine into your life. What can tuning into the present moment do for you? What moments would you like to savor a bit more? During our last KAL Emily Hagenmaier, a clinical social worker, created a guided mindfulness practice for the process of opening up our yarn packages. I invite you to read through this (or give it a listen!) as you touch and explore your special yarn. Even if your yarn hasn’t arrived, consider how you can visualize the yarn, and how it may feel when it finally meets your hands... listen to Emma's audio version of this meditation here.
Begin by allowing your body to be in as comfortable of a position as possible. Take a few minutes just to notice your breath, however it falls right now. Now, when you’re ready, hold the box in your hands and decide how you will open it. Notice any sensations of excitement or anticipation in your body. As you open your box, notice sounds of the crinkle of tissue, the tactile sensations of cardboard and wrapping. Take in the colors with your eyes. When you’re ready, you may want to hold the yarn in your hands. Allow yourself to savor the textures and colors, noticing gradations and unexpected whimsical details… notice how your body feels as you touch and savor the yarn…
Now, Thinking of all the people involved in bringing the yarn to you—the sheep and farmers in Australia, the spinners and carders in India, the people who carried the yarn across oceans, the women who boxed the yarn, who wrapped it in such stunning trims, who dreamed and wrote and troubleshooted the patterns, Amy who imagined all the colors coming together in such unique ways… all the ways we are interconnected in our creativity...
As you look at your yarn - notice, appreciate and savor the small details! For example:
As you are ready, bring your attention back to your breath. Perhaps you roll your shoulders back as you shift into the present moment. Reminding yourself that you are able to come back to your delightful yarn whenever your heart desires.
I hope you’ll consider what this community and mindfulness can do to enhance your knitting journey. I am so glad that you are here. Each of us brings something special to the table. Thank you for taking the time to read this post; Each week there will be a new post on all things knitting, mindfulness, creativity, connection and self care. What a delight it is to write these words and connect with so many beautiful souls.
If you feel moved to share, I would love to hear your response to this question:
What word (or maybe a few!) would you use to describe how you are feeling as you begin this KAL?
Take care + happy knitting,
Emma of Bloom and Create and Amy + the Knit Collage team