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Crochet as Meditation

July 24th, 2013

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo shares tips on meditating through crochet.

Crochet as MeditationI remember the first time that I tried formal meditation. I sat amidst a group of compassionate people with closed eyes who were letting go of all thoughts, focusing attention on their breath. I felt no compassion for myself as my monkey mind skittered about. I felt self-conscious about my constant twitching and resituating, certain I was irritating the peaceful beings around me. More than that, I simply didn’t enjoy the experience. My anxious mind raced into terrifyingly uncomfortable places. I left feeling that meditation is a great thing…for other people but not for me! Then I found crochet.

Crochet offers a chance to meditate in a way that many people find easier than sitting still in a room and focusing on the breath. Crochet is a relaxing, repetitive craft that can be done as a means to mindfulness. The combination of constant counting, gentle recurrent hand motions and focus on the work is a stress-reducer and a path to being present in the here-and-now.

Want to practice crochet as a form of meditation? Here are some tips:

  • Choose a project that requires only beginner skills, like a large granny square or a scarf made of only single crochet stitches.
  • Select a project that offers comfort in counting. For example, a scarf will let you count the same number of stitches again and again in each row.
  • Use a yarn color that feels comforting.
  • Work in a quiet, relaxed space.
  • Set an intention. At the beginning and end of the crochet project remind yourself what it is you want to achieve with meditative crochet. Celebrate the craft and celebrate yourself.

There is certainly something valuable to be found in formal meditation. However, it doesn’t work for all of us. In particular, people with mental health conditions including depression and anxiety may find it too difficult to simply sit on the cushion and watch the breath. We can use mindfulness crochet instead to bring ourselves back to the present moment, practicing compassion for ourselves and for others with each stitch.

What has been your meditation experience? How does crochet help?

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  • Mariamarta Lee

    Meditation and mindfulness are very helpful for people with mental health issues.

  • Pingback: How Visualizing and Completing a Crochet Project Can Change Your Life | Lion Brand Notebook()

  • Christina

    I crochet for premmie and newborn babies. While I’m crocheting I pray for the child who will wear the garment and for their families. This to me is a form of meditation. It takes me to another level of relaxation. It makes me forget all of my problems as I focus on the rhythm and the counting of the stitches. It keeps me focused on the here and now. The movement of the crochet hook, the counting, the satisfaction that I get as the garment takes shape and of course the completion. Knowing I have made something for someone I will never meet but that I have blessed with my time, patience and love.
    For the past 8 years my daughter has suffered from a severe mental illness and I have spent many long hours, days and nights sitting on a chair waiting for her to be treated or to come out of a coma. This has helped me worry less about the situation as I sit there crocheting instead of letting my mind focus on the medical interventions going on around me. Of course while I’m crocheting I’m praying that she recovers from the situation and of her illness. These are prayers that otherwise may not have been prayed if not for the calmness that crocheting has provided.
    I thank God every day for blessing me with the talent of crocheting. No pattern needed. Just a hook and some wool.
    Every morning I start my day with at least an hour of crocheting and more often than not it is the last thing I do before I go to sleep.

  • Kit Donner

    Choose yarn that feels good in your hands. I often knit with my eyes closed. I am not yet good enough to crochet with my eyes closed but someday I will be. Then the texture and softness of the yarn is doubly important. Nothing to see. Just the feel of your hands on the yarn and the hook or the needles. You may even find that a hook of a nice wood like birch or a bamboo hook feels particularly good in your hands or you may prefer the smooth feel of a good metal hook.

  • Kit Donner

    By the way, once you are comfortable with the motions of knitting or crochet, it is not that hard to transition to doing it with your eyes closed at least part of the time. Start by closing your eyes very briefly for the easiest movement then look to see if it went right. Practice just this momentary eye closing until this part is almost mistake free, and you 100 percent recognize by feel when it was not quite right. Open your eyes to check out the mistake when you make one, and then fix it. Only close your eyes for a little longer when you are ready in your own comfort zone to close them longer. One day you will notice that you almost never make mistakes with your eyes closed even for fifteen or more minutes at a stretch. Fantastic feeling. Yes I knit faster with my eyes open, but I get the best stress relief with them gently closed.

  • Kit Donner

    I asked my minister if he minded if I knit during the church service. He felt that knitting or crocheting during the service was entirely appropriate, recognizing that it is a meditation for many people, and that I make much of my knitting to give away, especially the pieces that I used to bring to church when I was able bodied enough to attend, which I am not at the moment but hope to be again in the not too distant future. That way, I pray through the service with the appropriate prayer for each part, so there is no need for me to have special prayers for that part of my knitting. It helps me focus on the service too.