Do you have a project you can pick up just for soothing comfort? There are many outcomes to a reflective, meditative routine, or "practice" as this endeavor is often referred to.
Before embarking on this time I encourage you to consider the outcome desired. Is it to reduce stress and anxiety or focus on a time of healing? Are you looking to overcome grief, improve memory or cope with life's challenges? To start, you might just be interested in trying something new. Whatever your reason, the best part has just begun: you've decided to learn more!
Here are 7 Tips for soothing downtime with your yarn
1. Set a regular time for your reflective knit or crochet practice. I schedule time for reflective knit or crochet by using an alarm on my phone labeled "downtime" that rings on Saturday mornings.
2. Have a go-bag or case with everything inside you need to start knitting or crocheting. More on each of these items in the tips to follow: Yarn, Pattern, Needles or Hook, Environmental Helps. To stay stress-free, there's no need to look around for your personal prescription items for a relaxing time of creativity
3. Select scrumptious yarn. Let this be delicious yarn you can't wait to work with, ready to go, no need for winding a center pull ball. Consider fiber content that feels wonderful in your hands with a soft touch or silky caress, or both!
4. Select a simple pattern with little fuss but enough going on that you don't zone out completely. In the beginning, a simple garter stitch or single crochet scarf can be the perfect project.
5. Treat yourself to quality tools. There are more delightful crochet hooks, knitting needles, yarn bowls and the like than we could ever dream of. For the purpose of creating peacefulness for yourself, choose something special that you adore and care for it lovingly.
6. Enlist environmental helps for support. Do you like potpourri, incense or candles to set the mood for some calming time alone? The right room with silence or perhaps some fresh flowers? Can you find a serene spot outside? A favorite comfortable chair, good lighting, soothing mug of herbal tea and disabling my phone alerts are some of my essentials
Where you decide to practice mindfulness should be an environment that exudes tranquility. Try and set up a spot where you can imagine yourself entering a state of solitude. Consider what would be helpful for you to go on a journey of settling down quietly away from activities and reconnecting with yourself. Create that space. Mine is simply a desk near a southern exposure window. I can quickly clear off any clutter that has built up during the week and relax.
7. Encourage your own calmness and get started! There are many words used to describe this aspect of reflective knitting and the main idea is to experience a relaxed, peaceful frame of mind.
In the beginning of this post I asked you to consider the purpose of your time for relaxed crafting. Now that you have prepped everything and are ready to sit down and do it, what exactly do you do? This is different for everyone, and future posts will cover some options. For now, start by setting the amount of time you would like to spend. One way for this is to use a timer. You can set a gentle chime to ring at the end, or if you listen to music, set the timer to stop playing music at the end.
Next, take a few deep breaths. Remember what your intention is for setting aside this time. Focus on that thought. Let's say you wanted to release grief over a disappointing situation. Perhaps you need to cast on or get your foundation chain done, take care of that and when you're ready to just knit or crochet, take a few more deep breaths. Think of a gentle thought or sentence for yourself. Perhaps one of these might help:
- All is well, I am feeling better right now.
- Life is improving, I am healing, I am at peace.
- I enjoy what I am doing right now, and will be more relaxed because of it.
- Things are always getting better for me, setbacks have brought opportunities for my growth.
- I love life and am moving forward!
- Life is a gift, I love what I am doing right now and am grateful for this time.
Think of your own positive thought. The focus is on the positive, soothing aspects of what to think about. As you knit or crochet across each row or round, look at your hands. Feel the moment, the movement, the colors, the lighting, the texture. Be here right now. When you get to the beginning of the round or row, check your breathing and return to a slow, deep, relaxing breath. Let your thoughts drift intentionally back to your chosen statement, or affirmation, or mantra (they can be called many things!) and continue.
Make sure you are comfortable and do not put any pressure on yourself for the perfect execution of a stitch or any other detail you might normally strive to achieve. The only thing you are going to set out to achieve at this time is taking great care of yourself. You're alright, your stitch is alright, the yarn is alright...everything is alright. Enjoy this time!
All the best to you in love and peace,
Wendy Ann | Artisan