Sunday, May 12, 2013

One Breath, One Stitch

I want to start a practice of knitting as a form of meditation.

Tonight I played with this idea while knitting and listening to Hoagy Sings Carmichael, a dear old favorite. I didn't do any knitting meditation tonight, but after working on my silk and mohair throw for the length of the Hoagy album, I laid down to meditate with a class I'm taking online, taught by Scott McBride of Clearlight Meditation. During the guided meditation, Scott talked about cultivating "an openness, a gentleness and an allowing." I was especially taken by the phrase "an allowing." There's not enough of that in my life; I've spent much of my life closed off to experience from outside, living in my head. I want, before I leave this world, whenever that will be, to allow things to pass through me a little more often.

And that little triad of needful things — openness, gentleness and allowing — put me in mind of the stitches I'd watched take shape as I knit tonight. I'm knitting a wide-open stockinette stitch throw in Rowan Kidsilk Haze on size 10 needles. I got two skeins of this wondrous yarn at Yarnings ("Yearnings for Yarn") when I couldn't resist the colors and pictured them draped simply over my white sofa. The colors are the same luscious, citrusy colors I'd chosen for my place when I designed my new home from scratch last year, and they were put together for Rowan by Kaffe Fassett to boot. 

Anyway, my mind helplessly went to those loose stitches when Scott started talking, almost hypnotically, about "an openness, a gentleness, and an allowing." I tend to think in threes anyway, and knit and purl stitches each split nicely into threes — the needle pushing through, the wraparound of the yarn, and the needle pulling back through. When I'm in flow, I have a kind of 1-2-3 waltz going through my head as I knit anyway, and "an openness, a gentleness and an allowing" put me in mind of those noble kidsilk stitches, as each one opens without resistance to the needle, the soft haze of the mohair parting gently and allowing a new stitch to be born from it. Knitting can indeed be a very feminine activity. 

Sensory and Other Pleasures 

Hoagy Sings Carmichael

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