Last weekend, I confess I worked on a quick commission. Something I've 'banned' myself from doing, but I'd been asked if I could design up something really quickly in time for a photoshoot that was just a few days away, and so I said yes.
In truth, I really enjoyed this quick commission. It was very therapeutic and calming, especially given the worrying circumstances of the recent horrific attacks and events in London and the previous events in Manchester. My heart goes out to all those caught in the these traumatic and life-changing incidents.
Whilst my knitting and crochet doesn't solve the world's problems, it certainly helps me to focus my mind, meditate and improve my wellbeing. Here's how it works for me.
A Mindful Knitting/Crochet Exercise:
The repetitive movements of your hook or needles can really help to calm the mind and shut out the stresses and strains of daily life, just for a short time. I breathe in and out with the rhythm of the stitch and either focus on the movements of my hands, or on my breathing. I repeat the words "In" and "Out", "In" and "Out" over and over as I breathe, until they are the only things in my head. Eventually I can stop saying the words and I'm able to really focus on just my breathing because my knitting or crochet come naturally, without thought. Combining your breathing exercise with very simple and repetitive crochet or knitting stitches will help your mind find some clarity, peace and mental stillness. It has taken me a while and a lot of practise but if you persevere it can be really enlightening and refreshing. If you can practice this exercise for at least half and hour a day it can be extremely beneficial for your wellbeing.
Note: It works best if you can find a quiet place to work on your mindful knitting or crochet exercises, but with practice I find that I can now do my mindful knitting exercises in a room where the TV/radio is on - as long as I don't need to talk to anyone then I can shut the noise out whilst I'm focussing.
A Mindful Crochet Project:
My quick commission gave me a thought. One thing often leads to another, as they say, and a new design popped into my head along with an idea for sharing. I've called it my 'Friendship Flowers Bunting' and once you've mastered the first triangle you can use the simplicity of the granny stitch to practice my breathing exercise above. The central flower itself requires a little bit of getting used to, but it is a memorable combination of stitches and the rest of the triangle is very simple and repetitive - just perfect for a bit of mindful crochet.
What is the purpose of the bunting?
The idea is that you use your yarn stash to create a lovely strip of colourful bunting - bring all those wonderful colours together - don't be choosy - just embrace the different combinations that you can create. Image that each colour is a person from a different country/a different culture/a different religion/a different sexual orientation to you and bring them all together in one long happy strip of bunting; all happily sitting side by side, working well together and complimenting each other.
Pimp each triangle with a funky tassel (they're such fun to make) and here's the best bit - give your strip of bunting away as a gesture of friendship. You could give it to a family member or friend; post it to someone that you haven't seen or chatted to in a while; give it to a new neighbour or a work colleague, or if you're feeling brave enough you could give it to a random person on the train or tube, or to someone that works in your local supermarket or shop. I'm sure it will really make their day.
Here are the details of how you can join in:
1. First, have a good mooch in your stash and pull together oddments of yarn of a similar thickness - this could be double knitting (US light worsted) or 4ply (US sport) weight. For each bunting triangle you will need approximately 5-6g of yarn in total, and 3g for each tassel.
2. Grab your favourite 4mm (US G/6) to use with double knitting yarn or 3.5mm hook to use with 4ply yarn.
3. Cut a piece of strong, thick card that is 9cm long and about 5cm wide (for making tassels)
4. Find a pair of sharp scissors and a large tapestry/wool needle.
5. Cut a piece of thin ribbon that is around 2 metres long (or you could use yarn if you have no ribbon)
5. Make 9 or 10 bunting triangles following my free pattern which you can download below.
6. As you make each bunting triangle, use my mindful exercise above. Combined with the act of gifting, it makes the perfect Mindful Crochet Project.
You can download a free copy of the pattern by subscribing to my website here:
Subscribe to Knit, Crochet, Create with Lynne Rowe
Once you have subscribed, you will receive an mail with the free pattern code, with a link to buy on Ravelry (you don't need to be a Ravelry user to download the pattern).
I do hope that you enjoy the pattern and that you feel the benefit from this project as much as I did.
I'd love to see your Friendship Bunting so don't forget to use the hashtag #friendshipflowersbunting or #knitcrochetcreate when you share your makes on social media. I'd love to hear more about who you gave your bunting to, and how they reacted.
If you tag me when your share your project, I will repost. You can find me on social media as:
@thewoolnest on Facebook and Twitter
@the_woolnest on Instagram
Lynne Rowe on Ravelry.
You can join my 'Knit Crochet Create" group on Ravelry (click here) and share your finished bunting there and ask me any questions about the pattern.
Happy Mindful Crocheting and Knitting,