Knitting--My New Yoga

Ever since I began knitting a few weeks ago, the most rewarding aspect that I have experienced has been the meditative state that I enter once knitting. I have found that I knit at a faster pace when I have something on my mind and end up knitting for a longer period of time as well. After a while, (and many, many rows) I can look at my work and feel that I have worked through something mentally and I actually have a physical representation of it! I find it very rewarding and extremely calming. I find myself not caring what it is that I'm making, but just that I am going through the process. Does anyone else have a similar experience?

MC :)

Darrel's picture

Why yes, Matthew. Yes, I do.

Now that I can actually knit with some sort of rhythm, I'm quick to zone out while doing it alone. A little while ago, as I sat on the sofa working on the Camo Scarf, I realized at one point that I was smiling! How about that?

hizKNITS's picture

Me, too.
Although a neophyte knitter, I'm finding that knitting has the potential to be an enjoyable practice for me, whereas yoga, writing and running have always been stop and start. If I get the chance to knit a few stitches and throw some yarn around, it's a good day.

Although I love the accomplishment side of finished projects, this is one of the first processes I've done where I'm not attached to end results. Mistakes happen, loops get twisted, stitches dropped. In the end, the fact that anything happened is all that matters.

Thank goodness there's no performative aspect to knitting. (don't tell me if there is... I don't need to stoke my competitive fires.

malckwan's picture

I find I'm not much for the sitting still school of meditation, though I respect those who can achieve that stillness and quietude. I'm more suited to moving meditations: walking, cycling, even riding in planes, trains and automobiles...

Knitting seems to fit into that niche... fingers busy, the chatter in the mind is quieted... or perhaps it's more that the rhythm of knitting forms a constant that the inner mind can match cadences with and thus ignore the internal and external chatter... rather like drumming.

I too am fascinated that there is a sense of encoding my thoughts, memories, experiences into a piece as I knit. I gather the same is true of weavers at their looms. There is some magic in this form of creation.

It fascinates me too how we turn this one dimensional string into a two dimensional plane... more like two and half dimensional plane since there is depth and texture... if one were a freaky savant, one could encode information into a piece by letting a knit stitch equal one and a purl stitch equal zero...

Sum Ergo Knit

Sum Ergo Knit ~ I am, therefore I knit.

My initial comment to someone who expresses disbelief that I knit is that it is very therapeutic.  I actually believe that knitting, which I started only a month ago, may help me ditch the cigarettes.

Serge664's picture

you might take a look at  Mindful Knitting: Inviting Contemplative Practice to the Craft (Paperback) by Tara Jon Manning

I like this book, which has an overall non-denominational slant with Buddhist leanings, but there are others available in Christian flavors as well. The projects are basic, and the book is more focused on the action rather than the project. from

Book Description

Mindful Knitting looks at the art of knitting from a Buddhist perspective. Exploring the parallels between knitting and meditation, this book instructs the reader in how knitting can be a tool for contemplation. It explores the benefits of engaging in knitting in a mindful way, presents simple meditation exercises, and provides clear, easy-to-follow project instructions that complement and expand upon each meditation theme.

Please remember: I have a collection of needles and a history of violence

Kerry's picture

Matthew, I agree with you and the others about the meditative experience, I find it very calming. A Buddhist monk friend told me I could use my needlework as a meditation, the type of stitch becomes the mantra.

I agree. When I first started knitting, I was knitting the Three Scarf Ruanna by I Don't Know Who. Once I got going, I would space out and feel like I was relaxing each row I went. Because it was all knit stitch in VERY big swatches, like 6 or 7 feet long, this came up very quickly!
Now, only my third pattern in, I am working on the Sampler Afghan by Melissa Leapman. As the cable patterns are difficult, I find myself getting frustrated with my counts or how the pattern is coming out. I am sure that the zen will return.

scottly's picture

I find knitting in the round the most meditative. Its this one long continuum of stitches and every once in a while you pass your marker and its like a prayer bead. I also swim distance and it has a simalar quality - a continuum of strokes and then turn. Many times I will be thought free except for the number of the row I'm on and other times I'll be working through something either way its very relaxing and I can tell my heart rate goes down.

I wish I were knitting now.