Hand wound ball of caramel colored yarn sits on wooden shelf with palm trees in background

Slowing Down and Being Mindful

January 23, 2022 By laneras

Something about the winter time always makes me want to slow down and take my time. Between the shorter days and cooler temperatures, it feels like nature is inviting us turn our attention inward. This got me thinking about being more mindful in my making, so this is what I’ll be exploring on the blog this week.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of intentionally being present in the moment. This practice involves being aware of what we are doing and what is happening. With crafting, this means focusing our attention on our making, carefully creating our stitches, observing the fabric forming and the feeling the yarn as it slips through our fingers. This is an opportunity to focus on the recipient of the item we’re making, whether it’s a gift for a loved one or for ourselves, putting our love and well-wishes into each stitch formed. 
Practicing mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress and the feeling of overwhelm; it helps us gain awareness, to be less reactive and remain calm throughout the day. 

Reducing distractions

When practicing mindfulness, it is easy for the mind to get distracted and start wandering, thinking about the past or worrying about the future. Often makers will try to find things to occupy their mind while crafting, such as watching tv and youtube, or listening to audiobooks and podcasts. Practicing mindfulness is an opportunity to turn off those distractions and be present with the moment. Let the mind be quiet and focused. Thoughts will begin to wander, simply re-focus and draw your attention back to your project. Practicing mindfulness also helps one to develop their compassion, as it requires one to be forgiving of themselves, and thus of others as well.

Don’t worry – you don’t need to jump right in to always being mindful while working on your projects! Just get started a little bit at a time, maybe taking a row or two, even just 5 to 10 minutes of your crafting time to tune out distractions and be mindful.

Letting go of expectations

In this day of social media and everyone sharing their beautiful projects, it is easy to want to keep up with everyone else and make ALL. THE. THINGS. This can be overwhelming! Yes, there are many incredible projects and inspiring renditions of them, but this encouragement to make them all, right now, can wreak havoc on our mental health. Letting go of this expectation and simply enjoying our time spent creating can have life changing benefits. If we do have the time and ability to make all the beautiful projects – wonderful! – but letting go of self-imposed deadlines can be extremely beneficial. 

Enjoying the process

Take time to savor your making! Slow down, wind the yarn by hand, get to know your yarn from the beginning. Enjoy the feeling of the fibers as they slide through your hands. Savor each stitch, filling your project with your intentions. When the project is finished you’ll be able to wrap yourself (or your lucky gift recipient!) in your love! 

Plus – when you take time to enjoy each moment of your making, you’re really getting the most for your investment, the time and money spent will be thoroughly relished. This time spent calmly working on your project with mindfulness will carry through to the finished garment, and you’ll be reminded of that calm each time you use the item. 

What projects work best for being mindful?

Really, any project could be great for practicing mindfulness! Detailed colorwork, cables or lace – projects that really demand attention – are definitely excellent candidates. I find that even simple stockinette or garter stitch work just as well. Focusing on simpler projects really requires us to practice mindfulness, intentionally reminding our mind to stay focused and calm. Personally, I like projects that are right in the middle, with a bit of easy stockinette or garter stitch, but also parts that require a bit more intention. I am currently practicing my mindful making with the Long Love cardigan by Ankestrick (view on Ravelry here). To me, this pattern is just perfect! I love using thinner yarns for mindful knitting, as I don’t feel like I’m in a rush to finish them. Plus, Long Love has an interesting construction, coupled with an easily memorizable lace pattern that gives it just the right amount of ease, but still requiring some attention. 

Please share your mindful making!

We would love to see what you’ve been making! What types of projects do you find suit you best for mindful making? What are your thoughts on slowing down and enjoying the process? Please share in the comments below, or share with us on Instagram or Facebook! 

 

With best wishes for joyful making, 

 

~ Nikki.