Mindfulness Blog Post #1 ~ Spring Knitalong
When I first started planning for this knitalong, COVID was far from my mind. I was in a blissful knitting dream land of yarns, patterns, stitches, colors and trims! Along with our small Knit Collage team, I spent about 6 months planning this knitalong (KAL). As the launch approached, we all saw the world twist, turn and contort into something we’ve never experienced before. I thought about postponing indefinitely but realized during that very first week of quarantine that my knitting, creativity and fiber friends are so important to coping and (I hope!) thriving during this time. Knitting has so many incredible benefits, one of those being that it forces us to focus on one singular task at a time. It is an inherently mindful practice. Mindfulness, knitting and community are the perfect antidote to fear and uncertainty we are feeling right now.
With all of this in mind, I knew I wanted to infuse this KAL with mindfulness in a more meaningful way. That is right when Emily Hagenmaier got in touch. Emily is a clinical social worker with a focus on mindfulness practices, who lives in Madison, WI. She is a past (and current!) KAL participant too! In this vein, Emily helped me pull together relevant resources for all of you. Of course this is for you to take or leave as you see fit and is 100% optional! If you have the time and curiosity, I encourage you to read these posts and join us.
So without further delay, I am excited to drop all of this juicy mindfulness programming and resources on you (alongside our knitting work). Each week, I will release a blog post with information on how to create and deepen your mindfulness practice as you do an activity you love, knit! Throughout the week, I’ll post prompts and stories for you to engage in in our FB group and at @knitcollageKAL.
My hope is that these activities make our Knit Collage community stronger. Please take this as your formal invitation to…
- Lean in
- Post (we want to hear from you!)
- Share your progress, any progress!
- Take your time, there is no rush
- Experiment // Rip // Fail
- Create whatever moves you
And most importantly collaborate with your fellow members and myself as we knit beautiful projects and create this incredible, joyful, loving and creative community - we are a team, now let's do this!
So here we go -- let's start with the basics:
What is mindfulness?
Diana Winston at the UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Mindfulness Research Center, defines mindfulness as "paying attention to our present moment experiences with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be with what is."
Or in other words it is the proactive practice of maintaining moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens. It doesn’t ask us to “calm down” or change our experience but rather to meet whatever is present with kindness and acceptance. The best part is, there is no right or wrong.
How can I practice mindfulness this week?
Savor the experience of receiving you yarn!
In mindfulness practice, we can use different anchors—such as breath, sight, sound, or tactile sensations. This week, when you receive your Knit Collage box of yarn, deliberately try to slow down and savor the experience of opening it! Notice the excitement you feel as you pull away the box tape, open each of the four box panels and touch the yard for the first time. Hold the yarn in your hands, feel its weight, touch its trims and consider how it was hand made just for you! Slow down and really try to enjoy this simple act!
So here we go, our knitting journey is just getting started. Inhale, exhale, savor. Here is an idea of a guided meditation Emily created for you as you receive your yarn.
Begin by allowing your body to be in as comfortable 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 ??, 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 innerconnected in our creativity...
As you look at your yarn - notice, appreciate and savor the small details! For example:
- Daisy Chain or Dreamland yarn, noticing shifts in the trims, colors, flowers, sparkle (as metaphors for the shifting nature of awareness and experience)
- Wildflower yarn—appreciated the knotted connections between strands, being curious about the person who made the knots, even extending gratitude
- Spun Cloud or Cast Away: noticing shifts in thickness, the silver and gold threads, the way the fiber colors blend together.
Ok....that is it for this week. Next week the fun really begins as we dive into knitting.
Thank you so much for tuning in. I cannot wait to share more of this content with you!
All the best,