Many newspaper articles recently have extolled the health benefits of knitting and crocheting.
As these articles were published, I dutifully shared them to our Facebook page and other social media accounts.
As knitters and crocheters, our fans and I already knew about the benefits of our crafts, including awesome finished objects to show off. It was nice to have both confirmation and validation for the activities we pursue on a daily basis.
While I read the articles, and felt smug since I’ve been knitting and crocheting for years, I didn’t really think about whether or not I was actually getting those health benefits until the other day.
I’m a multitasking knitter and crocheter.
I knit while I’m watching TV, as a passenger on long car trips, and while sitting in waiting rooms. I even pretend to knit during my local yarn store’s social time every week, but, honestly, there is usually more talking than stitching going on.
The point is, I don’t knit “mindfully“. My hands make the motions automatically while I’m focused on other things.
But knitting and crocheting are such tactile activities that we should pay attention, at least some of the time! After all, visually stimulating colors and the delicious sensation of holding the yarn is part of the appeal of the crafts.
Lately I’ve been so focused on finishing knitting projects that I’ve forgotten to enjoy the process.
My recent epiphany came last week when I was working on a weaving project.
Normally my loom sits in a corner of my office, where the dogs can interrupt me and I can play the radio and look out the window.
However, in March I had signed up for a weaving workshop with a guest instructor through my local fiber arts network. Since there were more students than looms, I took my personal loom up to the studio.
I left it there when I signed up for a class with our regular, local teacher as I wanted more practice on my own equipment.
Last week I was alone in the weaving studio finishing up my project.
As I fell into the weaving rhythm of treadle, shuttle, beat, I felt my thoughts quieting. My cares drifted away as I focused and became “present” with the task at hand.
All the benefits mentioned in the newspaper articles came washing over me. All because I had been forced to stop multitasking and unplug.
As I drove home, I realized I have been shortchanging my knitting time. By always making knitting a secondary activity, I was missing out on all the benefits aside from having a pretty new sweater.
Every evening my knitting time is an opportunity to regain that feeling of peace and relaxation I found in the weaving studio.
All I have to do is turn off the TV and focus on the yarn in my hands. And I don’t have to wait until evening! I can knit anywhere at any time of the day, including outside.
Well, I can knit outside as long as I can convince my dogs that we don’t have to play fetch the entire time.
I’m not saying I’m going to stop watching TV while I knit, but I might try to do it less often.
Have you fallen into the same trap I have?