Knit. Knit. Slip. Slip. Knit. One two three four five six. Yarn over, wrap all the way around. Purl two three. Slip slip knit. One two three four five six. Yarn over, wrap all the way around. Purl two three…
That’s my mantra. Knitting is a meditative hobby, but unlike traditional forms of meditation, while the mind is stilled by concentrating on the repeating pattern, the hands are busy and something tangible is produced. Type A meditation.
Sometimes it’s hard to count to six. Because at four you start thinking about that medical test report you are waiting to hear about. Or as you are wrapping the yarn over the needle you think about the person who didn’t come through on their part of the project at work or school, and you make a mistake. You sigh, breathe, unknit and start over, repeating your mantra.
I like to knit things that have an interesting enough pattern that it takes me a little time to memorize it, but not so interesting that I am constantly referring to a chart or a set of instructions. Knitting plain sweaters is okay; the knitting is simple, but I’m constantly having to stop and measure or count rows and decreases, so there is no chance for the rhythm and mantra to work to still the mind and soul.
Right now my mantra is a diagonal keyhole scarf made with yarn bought at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. It reminds me of going somewhere fun with two friends. It has the perfect pattern for memorizing, and it is keeping me from dealing with the harder bolero project that is requiring too much measuring and row counting for my tastes right now. As my needles click back and forth and I still myself enough to be able to count to six without distraction, and worries both big and small dissolve, if but for a little while.