Knit 1, purl 2, knit 6, breathe

dishrags for mom

Before COVID-19 was worldwide news and long before it forced us indoors to isolate, I resolved to knit more.

Actually, it was a New Year’s Resolution. Sort of. My notes say, “knitting? 6 projects?”

Real definitive, there. But yet, I have followed through.

I’ve been knitting and purling since junior high school when I taught myself to knit so I could make a bikini (yup, true story, didn’t ever actually wear the see-through bikini though). Knitting is either a granny’s activity or a cool thing Cameron Diaz and Charlize Theron do between takes, depending on who’s touting it. I’m probably more like a granny than a Hollywood celebrity with a big Instagram following, but I’m in charge here, so we’re going with the theory knitting is hip.

It’s also great meditation.

Zen and the Art of KnittingIn Zen and the Art of Knitting: Exploring the Links Between Knitting, Spirituality, and Creativity, author (and knitter) Bernadette Murphy writes:

Best of all, knitting is slow. So slow that we see the beauty inherent in every tiny act that makes up a sweater. So slow that we know the project’s not going to get finished today⁠—it may not get finished for many months or longer⁠—and thus, we make our peace with the unresolved nature of life. We slow down as we knit. Our breathing and heart rate drop and knitters who’ve been at it a while experience a trancelike state that provides the same benefits as other forms of meditation.

Sounds like the perfect anecdote for a pandemic, right? “Unresolved nature of life”? It’s the theme of things in a pandemic. My timing couldn’t be better.

I started by finishing a couple of dishcloths I began at least five years ago.

dish clothes

When I posted these stellar creations to Facebook (because I like to stick to noncontroversial posts so I don’t tick off my liberal, conservative, religious, atheistic, immunocompromised, unemployed, vegan and paleo friends, and knitting is a safe subject, if a little dull), my mother remarked she could use some new dishcloths.

Hey, her birthday was coming up. Great idea! I’ll knit some more dishcloths for her. Knitting a gift is quite lovely for both the knitter and the recipient because the knitter gets plenty of time to think about the person who will one day use the item. Murphy put it this way:

“In sweaters I make for others, I gently pass on my positive desires for their lives; these garments give warmth while embracing the wearer in a hundred-thousand little prayers.”

sun flowers

Sunshine against a backdrop of clouds.

I chose to knit dishcloths for mom in the Sun pattern from Leisure Arts’ Trendy Knit Dishcloths because Mom doesn’t get enough sunshine in the Minnesota winters and could use something bright. I made one in yellow, one in melon and one in bright orange.

doilies

Mom loved them, but she didn’t put them to use in the kitchen sink. She used them as doilies. Now I think I need to make a couple of doilies for my nightstands.

But first, I finished a project for myself.

In Zen and the Art of Knitting, Murphy suggested a Sleeveless Rolled Neck Pullover as a basic get-going pattern. I selected a nice veriegated yarn in blue, green and gray, and created this:

sweater

It’s not the disgrace the bikini was years ago, but I’m not going to model it for you. It turned out the way I imagined it.

If you’re counting, I’m up to four projects this year plus two halves, so I need to do at least one more in order to accomplish my goal. The real accomplishment is not projects, but peace and creativity.

What’s keep you creatively fueled right now?

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