Knitting Meditations: A Guide to Improving Mindfulness While Knitting

Does your knitting feel like meditation to you too?

I know that in my life, I need my knitting. When I knit, I feel the nervousness release out of my hands and into the garment that I’m creating. It’s healing. The energy dissipates back into the Earth, and what happens later is something created with my hands from the chaos that I didn’t know I was feeling. It’s important to have a practice like this. I know that most knitters feel the calm that is created from slowing down and focusing on a project. There have been studies of the mental health benefits of knitting. It’s not new. Sometimes, I feel like if I didn’t have my knitting, I’d be even more lost than ever.

Knitting can be a contemplative practice. Your brain is incredibly active while we knit. Most of us listen to something while working on our projects, whether its a podcast or an audio book. It’s one of those practices that allow our brains to do multiple tasks. Knit- and imagine. For me, this has been incredibly healing. I’ve been able to turn my knitting into “Brandie Cheer Time”. Sometimes, we need the podcasts or audio books, but sometimes it’s healing to knit and give yourself a pep talk. Here are some things I’ve found useful when knitting with a propose.

Knit in Silence

Okay, so this one is easy for me. I am an introvert and NEED some alone quiet time. However, this can be harder than just turning off the TV after the kids have gone to bed. When it’s quiet around you, you’re really able to hear your thoughts. This is the time to tune into what is bothering you, or what is making your heart sing. When I started doing this, I was hearing my negative self talk. If you could hear some of the things my brain was repeating to itself— you’d probably want to give me a hug. (At least, that’s what I wanted to do with myself) I don’t think these things about other people, why is it okay for me to say these things about myself? Well, that’s a long and complicated story. But when you’re listening to your inner dialogue- you can turn to yourself with gentleness and remind yourself that like the project you’re working on that you’re also a work in progress, and with each new row you’re growing into your true self.

Practice Loving Kindness

If you’re really struggling with yourself right now- its okay. Sometimes its hard to stop the negative voice. Sometimes it’s really hard. When you sit down to knit, with the same care and concern you use for your project, I want you to reflect that energy back onto yourself. Whatever love you need, think of that love, and give it to yourself. If all you can do is just knit. Do that. This doesn’t have to be hard. Sometimes the best things we can do for ourselves is say, I’m out of love today, I need to refresh it with my knitting.

Knitting with a Mantra

Sometimes when the day was really long, and I’ve found myself in a negativity spiral, I like to knit while repeating a positive affirmation. I know that it might feel silly to sit and think. “I am worthy of love, I am worthy of love” over and over again, but it does help. It allows you to remove yourself from the negativity. I always end up feeing lighter and more capable. It’s like giving yourself a pep talk. You don’t necessarily have to even believe what you’re saying. You just have to be nice. Eventually, it will help with the automatic negative thinking. And with all the love you’ve been putting into the stitches, it makes for a great yarn hug when you’re done with the garment. I love wearing my hand knits when I’ve been down.

Spread Love Out

I know that this is a lot about love. Bear with me. I do a lot of gift knitting, when I do, I like to think about the person i am knitting for. I like to put my love into it, so they, in turn feel the love from me whenever they wear it. The same way with the prayer shawl idea in many healing circles. We need more love in this world. That’s just a fact. It can feel dark and scary, especially in today’s political climate. Spreading out feelings of love to your family, to your pets and plants, to your house, too your land, to your neighborhood, to your city, to your state, and so on, not only helps raise our spirits, but also helps us realize that we are all in this together- everyone no matter what.

Sometimes i don’t know what I would do without my knitting.

I know a lot of us feel this way.

I hope that your knitting practice brings you love, and feelings of worthiness. You are worthy. You are connected. You are incredible.

Growth.

Do you ever just enter a period of turbulence? This season has been particularly difficult for me. I posted on my personal social media page about learning to love who I have become, as an adult, wife, mother, human person in the world. I didn’t know that that was the first slipping pebble in the landslide of emotions that have flooded me since then. I told my friends to be prepared for turbulence, but was I ready?

Today, I am dealing with a vulnerability hangover, like Brene Brown calls them. The feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness that started in my childhood bubbled over like a toxic sludge on me last night and it-was-hard. It’s made me realize that I have been living alone for way too long. I have been trying to hold myself up for the sake of not burdening others with my pain. I have also been trying to take care of their emotions. That’s a heavy load to bear. No wonder my energy is all screwed up.

If everyone is happy, no one can be angry with me.

I have taken responsibility for everyone else’s emotional stability, making sure that they’re comfortable, fed, clothed, and happy. But I forgot that I have a responsibility to myself and my own emotional healing. Isn’t that interesting? Why do we do this? It can’t just be a mother thing. I think that this is also a coping skill. If everyone is happy, no one can be angry at me. No one can blame me for their emotional outbursts. What an interesting revelation.

I live in fear of other people’s emotions, whether they’re actually directed at me or not. Most of the time, they’re probably not, like probably 99% of the time. My three year old can’t control his outbursts, it hurts when he tells me that I’m not his friend, but I don’t let it bother me. However I live in fear of being a disappointment. That fear is paralyzing- so it turns into a self fulfilling prophecy. Dudes, it’s a miracle that I made it through grad school.

That’s why you haven’t seen much updating from me in this shop. I am committed to Spruce Knits and Spruce Fiber Co, but I am also exhausted from a brain that questions every decision that I make and judges every little false step. My brain won’t allow me to be anything less than perfect. It’s really frustrating. Knitting has been my salvation in many ways and I think that I need to keep it as the mindfulness and stress reliever that it always has been. I love the knitting community, but I am still looking to see where I fit in. If I fit in at all. I’m not going anywhere, just slowing down and being completely intentional about where I am in my healing and where I am with my ability to cope with stress.

I am not typing this to make any excuses for myself or have anyone feel bad for me, this is just my truth right now. I live with an often debilitating mental illness- one that was caused by childhood trauma. I “know” that I will be okay, but dang these emotions freaking hurt. I don’t know how to properly sit down with them yet and accept them. For the most part life has been kind to me, but the hard years were the formative ones. I am learning what it means to let shit go.

I am coming back here to document this process. For those crafters who also struggle with Depression and PTSD or whatever chronic thing you might have, know that i’m in this forest too. We shouldn’t have to live our struggles out in the shadows- from our families or our selves or our social circles. I am not crazy. And if I was, who cares? I am here doing my work so that my children don’t end up with the same trauma i did.

For tonight, let’s rest.

Finding Stillness

I’ve been thinking a lot about stillness this month. 

My life feels like a series of snapshots that end up moving in a chaotic fashion. Every day is pretty structured, but do I ever get time to be still? I mean, really still. With a three year old and a one year old? Most of the time I am keeping up with diapers and deadlines. There’s not much stillness in my life. 

When I chose to do this challenge of knitting strictly from my stash this year, I didn’t realize that it would bring stillness. I haven’t taken great care of my yarn since we’ve moved. I haven’t had time to browse, to smell, to feel the skeins and hanks. In the time I’ve had, I’ve noticed myself going to the closet where my stash is stored and just looking. Admiring. I may have accumulated my stash out of a state of sadness, but each piece still holds a bit of love. Each piece has a purpose. 

I‘ve had many moments of discontent where I wish I had more sweater quantities, more naturally dyed, more fingering weight, more worsted- exc. 

But for the most part, I love my stash. I love the opportunity to make something beautiful out of nothing. That was probably the point of all the purchases in the first place. In my postpartum haze, I needed something tangible to create. To show that I have purpose. 

That’s what we find in the stillness. After the anxiety, the disappointment, and discontent fade away there is our purpose. We belong just because we exist. Nothing more. We can create something magical out of the loose threads of our lives. 

It’s agony for me to slow down and be still. I continuously want to move forward- to find success in busyness. I’ve never found success in that. So I must learn to be still. 

Finding Stillness

I’ve been thinking a lot about stillness this month. 

My life feels like a series of snapshots that end up moving in a chaotic fashion. Every day is pretty structured, but do I ever get time to be still? I mean, really still. With a three year old and a one year old? Most of the time I am keeping up with diapers and deadlines. There’s not much stillness in my life. 

When I chose to do this challenge of knitting strictly from my stash this year, I didn’t realize that it would bring stillness. I haven’t taken great care of my yarn since we’ve moved. I haven’t had time to browse, to smell, to feel the skeins and hanks. In the time I’ve had, I’ve noticed myself going to the closet where my stash is stored and just looking. Admiring. I may have accumulated my stash out of a state of sadness, but each piece still holds a bit of love. Each piece has a purpose. 

I‘ve had many moments of discontent where I wish I had more sweater quantities, more naturally dyed, more fingering weight, more worsted- exc. 

But for the most part, I love my stash. I love the opportunity to make something beautiful out of nothing. That was probably the point of all the purchases in the first place. In my postpartum haze, I needed something tangible to create. To show that I have purpose. 

That’s what we find in the stillness. After the anxiety, the disappointment, and discontent fade away there is our purpose. We belong just because we exist. Nothing more. We can create something magical out of the loose threads of our lives. 

It’s agony for me to slow down and be still. I continuously want to move forward- to find success in busyness. I’ve never found success in that. So I must learn to be still. 

Spruce Knits Stash Project Week 2: Thoughts on Boredom.

This is supposed to be the prompt for week two, but if you can count, and I know that you can, knit nerds, we’re well into week 3 at this point. 

That’s how boring I feel lately. 

I think a lot of my problems with my stash is that I want to lead a more exciting life. I’ve mentioned this before on my other blogs, that if you could describe me in a color, that color would be beige. So freaking beige. 

Sometimes I look at my stash and project those feelings of being bored with my life onto it and it becomes uninspiring. Like there’s nothing there to create. 

Have you ever fell for the idea that your stash or your life is boring? How do you deal with it? Do you notice when you’re bored with your stash or is it some other “ugh” feeling? 

While, I want a more exciting life, the thought about it kind of terrifies me. If I am honest here. Having an exciting multifaceted life means being more vulnerable. It means practicing what I preach. It means that I need to acknowledge that my boredom comes from within me and there’s no reason for being bored. It means moving from a place of scarcity into a place of enough. Being bored is no excuse to not create. Being bored is the perfect time to open up your mind to create with what you already have. 

I had a poetry professor tell us once, “If you aren’t creating, you’re consuming.” I’ve noticed this in my life. It’s true for me. Feeling bored is a great fork in the road between creating or consuming. The only way to cure boredom is to move. You either move toward creation, using your mind and your abilities to make something amazing; or you move toward consumption, going out and acquiring and acquiring.

Consuming is like drinking alcohol, it can be nice in limited quantities, but too much can be deadly. If we don’t check our consumption of things they can burry us. We need to make sure that we don’t try to burry our feelings with things. Our collections need to be intentional and have purpose. 

Stash boredom can be real. I’ve felt it before, and now I have too much yarn to handle. I am still bored with my stash, but this year it’s about what I am going to do with that boredom. Am I going to accept what I have and create something fabulous, or get caught up with mindless consumption of things to make up for the fact that I feel bored about things?