library, recommendations, review, wool journeys
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The Mindfulness in Knitting

I was recently sent Rachael Matthew’s new book  The Mindfulness in Knitting to review and what a lovely book this is! I mean to talk about this on the podcast too, but I have quite a few things to review and so while I will talk about some of the aspects of the book in a later episode, I thought it would be nice to mention the details here too.

For most of us it is not a new concept that knitting and craft goes hand-in-hand with mental and physical well-being. I’ve spoken on the subject myself, quite a few times.. I feel that knitting can ground me and also reconnect my mind. But mindfulness can ground us in our environment – as well as in ourselves – and it can connect us to the world around us. 

Split into 6 chapters on Structure for Learning; Finding Our Place Through Yarn; Knitting Sacred Spaces; Knitting Circles and Craftivism; The Gift and Knitting and Self-Discovery – the book covers how to observe knitting in a mindful way and making yourself present and aware. We then go on a journey through yarn; fibres, textures, provenance; of colours and the importance of harmony and look at the places and environments for our craft and connections to other people and situations through knitting circles and craftivisim. I think the connections to yarn, wool and the process of getting wool from sheep to FO are perhaps my favourite and something that I really relate to,

“Knitting a thick over-sock for wearing with Wellington boots, I consider the entire process of making a garment. As I cast on the first round of rib, I feel a connection with the folk who pile on layers of clothes at 4am, to battle their way through miserable storms to see the lambing of their ewes. Working up the rounds of stocking stitch. I remember the inquisitiveness of the sheep on the fells, staring at me as I hike on past.  … as I divide stitches for the heel, I consider the generations of knitters who developed this technique and handed it down to me. As I cruise along the foot, I give thanks for the prolonged summer sunshine that enabled the farmers to make ha for the sheep’s winter feed…”

Thoughtfully written (and a very elegant volume indeed); Rachael says knitting puts your mind to work as much as the actions put your fingers to work and it is truly her reflections and the structure for practising mindful knitting which really appeal to me most in this book.  There are exercises in each section that someone new to the concepts may find useful. These didn’t quite appeal to me, but I know I will be dipping in and out of this book for a very long time and finding inspiration, calm and a sense of kindredness.

I think this book will make a lovely and different addition to your knitting library and the advice it has for mindfulness can be an incredible asset to daily knitting practice and your own approach to craft and calm for your health and well-being.

The Mindfulness of Knitting is published by Leaping Hare Press. It is a beautiful hardback volume, with lovely illustrated artwork and costs [a frankly awesome] £8.99, available from all bookshops. Thank you to Graham for sending me a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I will definitely be talking about this book again!

7 Comments

  1. Kerry Sibson says

    Really interesting review. Thank you. Having suffered from bouts of depression for years, my GP advised me to take up knitting again, (after a 22 year break). It saved me: reconnecting me to my inner self and to a world of fantastic, friendly crafters. Will definitely put this book on my Christmas list!

    • louise says

      oh yes! you must! it is a lovely book to hold and look at, as well as read (which I think makes a big difference too) If you are looking for other books on mindfulness, I personally recommend The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh

  2. Lynne says

    Great review … I’ve been contemplating getting my daughter something similar but for crochet and after reading your review may just add this to my own wish list ☺

  3. Alison Mayne says

    Lovely review – I ordered 2 of the books by mistake… do you want one for a giveaway?
    ROAK

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