Thursday, October 3, 2013

knitting as a spiritual practice

As most of you know a dear friend passed over recently and I've been grieving. I'm sort of still in a weird place. Yesterday was my birthday and I started a post for all of you and then just had to abandon it because I just wasn't in the right head space. That led me to think about how I've been coping and what has helped to keep my grounded. I realized that the thing I've been counting on most is my knitting.

Now, I know what many of you are thinking. Knitting, a spiritual practice? Yes. Knitting keeps the hands busy and leaves the mind open to other things. The repetitive motion can lower the heart rate and bring one close to a meditative state. With all the feelings that have been coursing through my body and mind, I've found myself almost constantly knitting while I think about my feelings and about my dear friend and her family and friends.

I was working on a pair of socks when she passed. Here they are

I call them my Jenn socks because they are purple, her favorite color, and knitting them helped me cope with losing her. She also really loved receiving hand knit socks from me so there is that connection as well. I think she'd like them and I'm planning on wearing them to her celebration of life party this coming Sunday. I love them - they are toasty and soft and I probably would have given them to her for her upcoming birthday.

After those I immediately started a cowl that I use as a sort of topless hat to hold back my dreads, then I knit some socks for my daughter.

For my birthday yesterday my beloved husband took me to the yarn shop to buy yarn for a sweater for me. Here it is:

I'm already over half way done with the first sleeve - I always start with a sleeve - I use it as a gauge swatch so I don't feel as those I've wasted time knitting on something other than my project, but I can still easily pull it out and start over if my gauge is off. (gauge is the size of the stitches for those of you who may be interested)

Anyway, I think I'm babbling a bit. Back to the point. Knitting has been an important hobby for me for years now - I had to give up for awhile because of carpal tunnel, but I had surgery and can knit again. I'm so glad I can. Right now I spend a lot of time hanging out with the kids, listening to music (I just got a Michael Franti album - Jenn's favorite) and knitting. I think about my feelings, about my friends and I process my grief and in the end I have a beautiful handmade object that personifies my feelings, actions and thoughts. It's pretty profound for me. These handknit items are like living prayers and I'm so grateful to them for helping me through a challenging time in my life.

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