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Art Yarns

Renewal – a WIP

It is often said that Springtime is about renewal. Growth and strength return all around us. The days get longer, the brave little crocuses pop through the snow and the earth wakes up.

Renewal is not just about the landscaping and a little more sunshine. Renewal is also about how we feel, an essence, our state of mind and our energy reserves. Renewal is a doorway to a sense of fresh and awake. The word itself seems to be about starting over. Re-newal, new beginnings, fresh start – all of these phrases have a redundancy emphasizing a quality of freshness and hope.

Springtime brings a brightness and spark to everything, even our knitting. What excites us about starting a new project? For whom do we choose to knit? What influences us to select certain colors, certain fibers, certain techniques? All these things that get our juices flowing about knitting relate back to that someplace inside of us that nurtures the spark. In cultivating renewal, we can invite this spark to burn brightly, turning into a full-on bonfire (and often accompanied by stash enlargement).

Renewal goes hand in hand with wellness. Wellness has been a very in-my-face theme in my own life this winter as I have over and over been offered opportunities to care for myself and refill my reserves -- otherwise I am no good to anyone. Do I listen? I am working on it. Like my many WIPs on the needles, I am in-progress. But even in the midst of my own depleted reserves, I see the opportunity to direct wellness back inward -- and it is often accomplished through my knitting.

So many more times than not, wellness is something we overlook in our self-attitudes -- yet we so naturally, willingly and quickly extend it to other people. If we choose, we can deliberately focus our attention inward, and summon the feeling of springtime, new growth and strength inside ourselves. In this way, we wake up our creative energies, our inspirations, and rejuvenate. Then, when the time comes, we are more completely available to those to whom we wish to extend our love, care and basic goodness.

Mindful Knitting offers a means of recharging and waking up to the renewal -- and it is something we already love to do. It is literally right at our hands. The work of our hands offers us a way to purposefully cultivate “fresh start.” It provides us with a feeling of comfort, relaxation and open space. It captures our focus and attention completely. Placing intentional thought on the work of our hands develops the essence of mindfulness, purposefulness, being on the spot.

When you knit mindfully, clear your head and simply sit quietly with your work. Place your attention absolutely on the formation of each stitch and the movement of your hands. Notice how the stitches are formed and the tactile sensation of it all. Notice when your mind wanders -- which will be often -- and bring it back to the moment and to your knitting. Spend some time quietly with this experience. Notice what thoughts flow through your mind. Notice if something inside you is waking up, if something feels depleted, or if something feels rejuvenated.

It can be work to remind yourself over and over (and over) again to come back to the sensation of needles clicking and fiber sliding through fingers. But, this skill naturally develops, and you find a wonderful sense of synchronicity as your hands, your intention, and the comfort of repetitive work in concert. You may find it helpful to make notes about the thoughts and feelings that arise with your Mindful Knitting. This can be the beginning of your Mindful Knitting journal, as well as a Mindful Knitting journey.

Then, when you are replenished and renewed, you can effectively offer yourself to others. If this means simply knitting, by all means, knit. If this means choosing to knit as a method of healing, please knit. If the springtime energy that awakens in you encourages you to knit for someone else, share your spark, knit! Don’t miss this opportunity to be in sync with the seasons. Rejuvenate! Renew! Welcome the waking up. Welcome spring.


Tara Jon Manning is a designer, and author of five books. With her book “Mindful Knitting: Inviting Contemplative Practice to the Craft” she pioneered the Mindful Knitting movement, and invites knitters and readers alike to apply the instruction of basic mindfulness meditation to the work of their hands. Among her other books are the newly released “Nature Babies” and “Men in Knits.” She lives with her family in Boulder, Colorado.

Visit to learn more about Tara’s Mindful Knitting retreats and workshops, and her blog, Earth-Sky-Knitter, for musings on life, knitting, dharma and motherhood.