Welcome, welcome, to week 3 of the knitalong. What a delight it has been so far. I hope that you are finding joy and relaxation in your stitches. Today, I hope to share with you some self- compassion. 

One of those questions knitters will sometimes discuss is “are you a process or a product knitter?” Essentially, it asks the knitter, do you knit because you enjoy the process, or do you knit because you love the finished product so very much. Every time this conversation emerges at knit group, I get this uncomfortable feeling and an urge to shout out, “it can be BOTH!” 

I believe in a world view of dialectics, an acceptance that two seemingly opposite statements can be true. I can hate waking up early AND I can love the sunrise I get to see on my way to work. As a kid, we might hate our siblings AND also love them dearly. When it comes to knitting, we can both love the process AND love our finished pieces, we need not frame in an either/or mindset.

As we enter week 3 of the KAL, the knitting process has likely started. We’ve swatched, chosen sizes, and our spectacular yarn is wound up and ready to knit. We are in the process, and what a joy that is! I invite you to take a few moments the next time you pick up your project to practice some one-mindfulness as you knit. Focusing your entire attention onto your knitting…

What does the yarn feel like between your fingers?

How do  the individual loops look on your needles?

Is there a particular scent you can pick up on?

How does each row of knitting alter your work in progress? 

If your mind wanders away, gently bring it back to your knitting. 

Sometimes our minds wander into the territory of negative and nasty thoughts. They might sound like “My knitting is so uneven,” “how does everyone else understand this?” “I am so dumb for having to rip back again,” “why is this so hard for me?” We all experience these thoughts to some extent. My first reminder to you: these are thoughts, not facts, and not you. You are not your thoughts. Mindfulness allows us to choose where we focus our minds. Indeed, we can notice a negative thought, and then refocus our attention on the yarn. How? We have to choose over and over again to focus on the yarn. 

At times when I share this concept of choosing where our minds go, and particularly with the concept of deciding to unfocus on negative thoughts, many folks will judge themselves for having negative thoughts. They will question - well why can’t i just shift my brain like Emma said? Here is the thing - our brains are powerful and complex. They think and think and think some more. We have to accept that our brains will show up with negative thoughts AND we can continue to practice mindfulness to bring ourselves back to the present moment. 

If there’s one thought that our mind seems to return to time and time again, we can approach it with curiosity and compassion. Let’s say I keep thinking, “I won’t ever be able to finish this sweater.” I might ask myself, where is this thought coming from? Or maybe I will ask, 

Is this thought trying to communicate something to me? From there I can consider - do I need to pause? Do I need to reach out for help? Do I need to just keep trying? Why is this particular technique so challenging to me?

Within this knit-a-long, you do not need to figure it out on your own. You do not need to do this alone. Whether it is in the facebook community, through private knitting help with Cheryl and Anne, or during a zoom, you have the space to ask your questions, and get the support that you need to keep moving along with your unique knitting process. 

My question to you this week - how can you embrace curiosity and compassion as you work through your knit-a-long projects? 

Cheers to the process! 

Emma of Bloom and Create, Amy + the Knit Collage team