Living in the question

'. . . the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.' RAINER MARIA RILKE Letters to a Young Poet

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Zen and the art of knitting?

My friend and colleague Danny Crosby says 'you seem to be able to put zen in front of anything these days and get away with it!'  Must admit it feels like that sometimes as I 'zentangle' or 'zen doodle' but really - zen and knitting!!

Well yes - I have to say that I can see it that way, especially after my latest summer school experience.

It all began when Jane asked me if I would run a knitting workshop again at this year's summer school.  And of course me being me I said yes and then had to hunt around for a theme that would fit in with the summer school theme -

"Sacred Living: Encountering the Holy in the Everyday"

How would it be possible to capture this idea in a knitting workshop which would include both novice and experienced knitters.  I then decided that maybe we would knit a rainbow, because that would be able to be done in squares and squares can be as easy or as complex as they need to be.

 I found this quote:

Knitting workshop
“When we knit, we place our attention over and over again on the natural rhythm of creating fabric from yarn – insert needle, wrap yarn, pull through a new stitch, repeat.  Following this simple repetitive action is the basis of contemplative practice.  It continually reminds us to stay focused, to stay in the moment.  When we knit with this attention, we have an almost indescribable feeling of satisfaction and contentment.  This is a knitting meditation.” 
From ~ Mindful  Knitting: Inviting Contemplative Practice to the Craft by Tara Jon Manning

and then set about collecting yarn in a variety of rainbow colours.

 And it certainly looked exciting and so I was ready to go - I just needed the knitters.

I began with a reading from Linda Skolnik and Janice MacDaniels' book 'The Knitting Way'

"Listen to the music of knitting.  The knitting melody flows, carrying each one of us along a river of connection.  Find the kind of music it is for you.  It doesn't really matter what kind of music.  Just let it speak to you and open your soul to wonders."

And then we began knitting:

 and knitting

 and knitting

 and knitting some more.


 Until finally we had knit our rainbow!!
 I still don't know if there is anything to do with zen when it comes to knitting - but I do know that I knit differently now.  Once I used to knit quickly but as I said to a friend recently. . . 

"Now I knit every stitch" and maybe, just maybe that is knitting mindfully and there is something 'Zen-like' about that.

(Oh and the rainbow - is now winging its way to Jane!!)

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