Passing Time

Learning something new (or practicing a skill you forgot you had) is both joyful and meditative. Yesterday, I did the latter; I know how to “short row” but it had been a long, long time since I’d done it.

Last winter my husband’s cousin & his wife had a baby boy, J. I’d promised J’s mom a hat for her little man, but didn’t get to it when the weather was cool enough to use it. So, I shelved the project, and yesterday picked it up again to make him a “big boy” hat for fall.

My friend R suggested the pattern Aviatrix. It is formed largely by short rows; that is,  you knit across only a portion of the stitches to form a curve.

This little hat just fell off the needles. I had it done in an evening, about 6 hours. What a joy to make!

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(The front is to the left.) I can’t wait to see what it looks like on J’s head.

Pattern: Aviatrix

Yarn: Full o’Sheep

Needles: US 7 & 9

Before meditation: frustrated from work. Tired out from heat.

After meditation: joy in creating something so darling, so quickly. A sense of completion. A regained sense of control of my time.

Generosity

It’s important in most world followings to have a generous spirit.

“God loves a cheerful giver.” (Christianity–my own faith path)

“Generosity brings joy at every stage of its expression.” (Buddhism)

“The best men in view of faith is the most openhanded.” (Islam)

I have little in the way of “first-world” measurements, but I’m rich by any other standard. I have friends and family who care about me, food, a roof over my head, clothing, and lots of yarn to knit. An abundance of riches are mine in many senses, even if my actual “liquid assets” are few. But because of this lack of cash-flow (aka, stupid little green pieces of paper), I’ve had to come up with some pretty creative ways to practice generosity in my spiritual and meditative practice. 

I’ve put forth both the typical and atypical offerings–meals for those in need of them, transportation where I can help with it, food drives, volunteering time and talents where I can. But in my meditative practice, I wanted to use my knitting as a means of expressing generosity. I’ve often done baby caps or chemo caps (and have had family receive the same from generous knitters!) But I was looking for something a little different recently.

Enter: the Jayne hat.

Some of you will know what I mean…some need it explained.

There is a now-cancelled television show that had something of a cult following called Firefly. On it, there is a macho-man (near as I can tell) figure named Jayne Cobb, whose mother knits him a “pretty cunning” hat.

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Yup. “Pretty cunning.”

Anyway, I have a friend named S. She knit this hat for someone in her life, but had extra yarn when she was done. Because she has a wool allergy (*SOB*), the hat was a labor of love, and the extra yarn pretty unnecessary in her stash. She decided to return the extra but alas; the store offered only credit for what the yarn had been clearanced out for, which was a pittance.

So, we made an arrangement. I have a friend (probably several are, but one in particular) who is MAD for Firefly, and I knew he’d love a “pretty cunning” cap of his own. His wife, K, is a cancer warrior of some renown in my world–she’s kind of my hero, in the sense that she approaches all of life with grace and integrity in the face of enormous adversities. S and I decided that I would “buy” the yarn from her by making a donation to the American Cancer Society in K’s name, and make her husband a “pretty cunning” hat with the yarn.

Hence, my own interpretation of the “Jayne Hat.” If I were to do it again, I’d perhaps change how I did the earflaps, but in all I’m hoping my friend will like it.

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Most importantly, in it I have meditatively knit healing thoughts for K. I’ve meditated on blessing K & D’s marriage with love and strength. I’ve meditated on blessing D with a partner’s patience for his wife, as her spouse and as her support. And I’ve meditated on their love, and how grateful I am that they can be an example for others in what loving care is.

And in so meditating, I have found blessing myself, in terms of peace and strength and joy for today: “A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

 

On Finishing

A few months ago, I was aching to cast on something for a baby. No baby in particular, I’m a 30 something with many friends of childbearing age so I knew one would come along in time. LATER THAT SAME DAY….one of my dearest lifetime friends told me she was pregnant. And so, a purpose!

I cast on the item (anonymous until she receives it, sorry..) and in no time, had about 2 inches done.

And then I quit.

Quitting is not new when it comes to me and knitting. What I love about the art is that there are so, so many facets available for exploration–so many techniques to try, so many yarns to choose from, so many items to make. Possibilities are endless, and my attention span is woefully short.

Something meditation is still teaching me: finish what I start. Today’s project took the form of that little baby item that had been languishing in the basket for a few months. It needed to be finished. I started on it yesterday (the creative, thinking parts) and knew finishing weaving in the ends, sewing on the buttons, and neatening the top would be meditative in action. I spent over an hour doing this.

Before meditation: I was tired, having just woken up. I was nervous, having had a nightmare just before waking. I hadn’t had coffee, so thinking wasn’t even an option–really an advantage in this case. 

Project: baby item in worsted cotton on size 8 needles, doing the finishing work.

After meditation: Energized. On a high from finishing something that had languished awhile. LOVING the cuteness!

Again, I don’t want to show the whole finished item, because it’s going in the mail soon. But here…I can’t resist showing you one little piece.

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You’re welcome. 😉

Why I’m doing this; or, meditation in lace.

Meditation is calming. It never fails to stun & amaze me. So why don’t I do it more?

This has been an incredibly hard month for me. For a long time now, anxiety has been creeping up on my life. Some days, it’s hard for me to get out of bed, knowing I will have to face the big, bad, scary world. I’ve withdrawn significantly from activities I used to enjoy, and find even the smallest hurts almost insurmountable. Enter: meditative knitting.

Simply stated, meditative knitting is the action of knitting combined with the mind-focusing and clearing of meditation. Meditation is normally an INactive yet active process, involving soft focus and quieting your mind. But for someone just beginning the process of meditation, I found it to be insurmountably difficult.

Then, I started reading about knitting and meditation, and as it happens, the two are strongly linked. When one is engaging in the action of knitting, many of the same benefits of meditation such as soft focus, quieting the mind, lowering blood pressure, and easing stress come into play.

This blog is intended to relay some of the benefits of both knitting and meditation, share some of my own experiences in both practices, and build my own confidence back up as I seek respite from the anxiety that has overwhelmed my life.

Today: meditation in lace.Image

Project: Sawtooth lace to apply to a pillow, pillowcase, or garment at some point in the future.

Needles: Size 3 steel.

Yarn: random fingering weight mohair delved up from the stash in a lovely chocolate brown.

Before meditation: I was stressed the last few days in particular about some family issues, and some work issues. Today alone I’d been by turns been angry, overly cheery, sympathetic and dissolved entirely into tears from frustration.

After meditation: I feel energized, clear, and creative. I feel as though a spark is being rekindled. I have a clear focus on what the rest of my day is going to look like, and have made a date with a friend to venture into the world in a limited way outside of work tomorrow, for the first time in several weeks.

What a difference 30 minutes makes.