Not to bore you with details, but I had a bit of a setback last week (don’t panic, nothing medical). During the mental roller coaster of processing, dealing with and reflecting, I was mostly sitting in a quiet room and knitting. Knitting along on autopilot while my mind rolled around what had happened and letting my fingers click-click along.
When reflecting on this I remembered a quote from Elizabeth Zimmermann, “Properly practised, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn’t hurt the untroubled spirit either”. I thought how absurdly true it is.
There have been many links between knitting and meditation and tests showing that it apparently lights up the same parts of the brain (although I do wonder how much meditating/knitting you can do in an MRI machine). There are few of us that wouldn’t agree that it does relax you – spirit, body and mind.
Now, some of you will wonder about this (especially if you have ever thrown your knitting across the room in frustration during a tricky bit of lace). I do enjoy the look of bewildered disbelief on the faces of new knitters when you tell them that you do this as it is “so relaxing”. But few will pick up their needles and not feel themselves draw a calming breath and step out of the world for a bit.
I think some of the relaxing comes from the fact that it is a series of simple, achievable tasks. Life may have thrown a large complex issue in your path, but knitting is only four things – knit, purl, increase, decrease. Knitting forces you to sit still and while your mind wanders your hands are doing something useful and rewards you with visible progress.
So remember, gentle reader, it isn’t “just” a hobby. It is meditation with free socks thrown in.