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Is Crocheting the New Mindfulness Meditation?

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  Is crocheting the new mindfulness meditation?

When I was younger I loved to crochet. I could whip out a queen-size blanket in two months.

Everybody in my family received hand-made afghans as gifts.

My blanket production came to a screeching halt when my husband brought home a kitten for me on my birthday one year.

After the cat came into the house it was impossible to crochet. He would pounce on the ball of yarn and attack the shiny crochet needle in my hand every chance he got. It was so difficult that I finally gave up crocheting.

Fourteen years later, I still have the cat and the half finished blanked in a bag somewhere but, not the husband. Oh well, I guess that’s just the way the afghan crumbles…. I do have very fond memories of crocheting and still miss doing it but, I won’t attempt it with the cat still around.

The one thing that I recall most about my love of crocheting was how calming it was. Now that I think about it – it did feel like mindfulness meditation. I was reminded of this time in my life when I came across an article about “beading being similar to doing a mindfulness meditation.” The way the author described beading brought back similar memories for me of crocheting:

“Each off-loom beadweaving stitch has its own rhythm that feels like a meditation or a chant. Breathe in, stitch a bead, breathe out. That’s probably why I turned to my beadweaving when I got home from the office after a hard day. Not only was it soothing to handle those shiny, beautiful little beads, but being able to sit down and focus on something else for an hour was the best way for me to set aside my problems and relax.”

I too turned to crocheting in the evenings to relax and focus on something aside from the stressful events of the day. I have a dear friend who is into beading and makes gorgeous jewelry. She says the same thing. It relaxes her and feels “meditative.”

While I am a devoted meditator and enjoy it very much, I realize I miss crocheting. I miss the feel of the yarn in my fingers and the rhythmic movement of the needle going through the “loops” and growing afghan. Now that winter is coming I miss the feeling of cozy warmth from having the afghan tucked around me. I also miss creating something I can give as a gift and the relaxation that came with crocheting.

What is it about doing these activities that is so addictive? I came across another article that basically said that people who meditate remain focused in the present, which we all pretty much know by now. What I found fascinating though, was that the scientific study cited in this article showed that people who meditate faithfully have been found to be happier people. Aha! “That must be it,” I thought.

When we remain focused on the present moment we don’t ruminate over the past or ponder the future. Those types of thought patterns are what set people off emotionally.

If you’re constantly reliving the past and feeling upset or remorseful you’re going to be unhappy because you cannot change the past. If you dwell on what is yet to come you’re probably going to worry and be fearful about the future. Worry and fear most certainly contribute to unhappiness.

No wonder we find these crafts so relaxing and even “addictive.” They make us feel good as they work like a “mindfulness meditation” to keep us in the present moment.

“Meditation’s ability to help people stay in the moment has been part of philosophical and contemplative practices for thousands of years. Conversely, the hallmarks of many forms of mental illness is a preoccupation with one’s own thoughts, a condition meditation seems to affect.”

After reading these two articles my mind jumped to two people I know who are supremely negative and constant worriers. The one thing that jumped out at me was that neither one of them meditates or has a “hobby” they enjoy doing. I wondered if I could introduce them to crocheting or beading? Would it help to calm their minds? Would they be happier as a result?

I’m now racking my brain to try to figure out a way I can nonchalantly introduce them to crocheting to observe whether either of them becomes happier…hmm.

What do you think about crocheting being the new mindfulness meditation? Do you have a hobby you enjoy? Does it feel meditative and calm you down when you’re doing it?

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30 Comments

  1. Oh I love the photo! What a nice reminder – I also used to crochet and I can’t even remember why I stopped except I have a feeling it simply became a casualty of the ‘busy schedule’ syndrome. Maybe one of these days I’ll get back to it – though it’s usually so warm where I live in Maui that having a pile of yarn draped across my lap isn’t that appealing. Still, lovely article and memory.

    Reply
    • Hi Marquita,
      I fell in love with that photo too!
      Busy person syndrome is rampant -even in Maui.
      I suppose I assume everyone in Maui is on vacation and that’s not the case at all.
      I would imagine that having a heavy crocheted blanket on top of you would not be too much fun there like it is in a cold climate.
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the article.
      It’s a pleasure meeting you and welcome to PbI!

      Reply
  2. Being mindful is the traditional way of life for the native people. It is called “walking with the earth.” While the traditional way of life has no religion, it does follow what is taught by nature… to live in balance and harmony, which, of course, also includes having storms! It is a way of oneness, so that all can be one with whatever is presented to them. This is why there is not a fast pace at all, but rather time is taken to sit with things, being mindful of all input into the answer from a variety of sources. When speaking to a spiritual elder, it may be more than a day before you are answered. If you are impatient, you probably will not be answered at all!!

    I corrected the link… thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Susan,
      Thank you for coming back and sharing more information on Native American mindfulness.
      It’s so interesting.
      Thank you. I’m glad you corrected your link too!

      Reply
  3. This kind of mindfulness is a huge part of the traditional Native American. They taught their children to do beadwork, leather work and so forth to help them achieve that stillness and mindfulness from an early age. You understand this ancient truth and way of life!

    Reply
    • Hi Susan,
      Welcome!
      Really, that’s fascinating. I never knew that about the Native Americans.
      It makes total sense though.
      Thank you for sharing that interesting tidbit with us.

      Reply
  4. Angela,
    I say yes it would calm their lives and minds. I’ve done it all when it comes to crafts and creativity. It’s one thing I miss since blogging and now have my camera which is different but the same I think!
    Tess The Bold Life recently posted…What Bold People Know and DoMy Profile

    Reply
    • Hi Tess,
      I miss crocheting too. Blogging definitely takes up most of my time these days.
      I guess photography can be just as engaging. Being out in nature and taking pictures sounds very calming.

      Reply
  5. Hi Angela,

    Hope you’re doing well! It sounds like crocheting is something that really helps you get in the zone. For me I get this sense of being totally in absorbed and engaged when I’m drumming. There is certainly a mindful presence when I’m doing this and I would say it is as emotionally healing for me as meditation in it’s own way.
    Joe recently posted…Ready to Reach Your Potential? Start Raising the Set-point in All Areas of LifeMy Profile

    Reply
    • Hi Joe,
      I’m doing well – thank you. Great to see you. I hope you’re well too. Drumming – great. I can see how that would put in the same mindful state. That’s really cool. It takes a lot of energy to drum, I would imagine? By the end of the day if I have time to crochet my energy is just enough to hold the crochet needle and sit somewhere with my feet up crocheting.
      Angela Artemis/Poweredbyintuition recently posted…Awakening the Essential Feminine Virtual Book Tour for Maureen Simon Day 7My Profile

      Reply
  6. Totally Cool topic Angela,
    I totally Love crocheting, beading, cross stitching has been my latest passion since we last spoke. So too I find that these type projects helps to heal and or nurture my inner child. Having to be so many titles thru out the day, it’s nice to have some play time for mom, in a way that is so relaxing.
    With each project it is as if I am in a totally different world, celestial in a sense. Sometimes I am inspired to create future projects, answers to questions I had long forgot I’d asked or wondered about, but mostly I enjoying the time not really having to THINK about anything at all. By the end of the project, I am always amazed how beautiful the project came out, even when I think that I don’t know what I’m doing.
    thx for allow me to share
    ChellaB

    Reply
    • Hi LaChella,
      It’s so nice to have you comment.
      It wonderfully relaxing, isn’t it?
      The best part is being so engrossed that you don’t have to think about anything.
      I’m glad you enjoyed this post.
      It’s my pleasure having you come by and share your comments. Thank you!

      Reply
  7. I am sad that so many of the comments were from people who used to crochet. I am a former crocheter and now an avid knitter; I also create beaded jewelry. These are great ways to just sit and be for a bit. I will admit though, that sometimes a project can be a challenge, I guess that is why I have so many going at once.

    One of the knitting groups I go to was cat sitting for a bit . . . a well behaved cat of a fellow knitter. She would snuggle up close and you could knit away; as long as you took a moment to scratch her every so often.

    Reply
    • Hi Vicki,
      I know what you mean. I’m sad too! I really do miss crocheting.
      It is such a perfect way to relax. Once you get into it and allow yourself to be lulled my the repetition of the stitches.
      That cat sounds perfectly lovely!
      Thank you so much for visiting and commenting.

      Reply
  8. Hi Angela,

    Does zoning out in front of the television count as mindfulness meditation? I think most guys would agree that we can sit there and not really be thinking about anything just sitting there in our own little world. Of course, wives don’t think much of this but it works for us.
    Todd recently posted…We Are FamilyMy Profile

    Reply
    • Hi Todd,
      Television is a great way to “zone out.” That’s what most people use it for. Our lives are so stressful – and the majority of people on the planet don’t know how to relax and disengage from their stress so they watch television. Advertisers “take this to the bank!”
      The difference is that because you’re mind is focusing on the television program and processing that you’re not in a meditative state.
      You’re mind is producing “Beta” waves. When you’re in a meditative state your mind produces more “Alpha” waves.
      When you’re in a meditative state you’re able to “watch” your thoughts and not engage with them. You also have “insights” and solutions to problems that surface while in this state – you don’t have that while watching Television.

      Reply
  9. Hi Angela,

    I used to crochet and made a few blankets. I tried knitting, but that didn’t work for me. What did work was quilting, which is a slightly different concept than knitting and crocheting. But I can feel myself getting completely absorbed in it and I lose all track of time. I agree to keep from feeling crabby and worrying too much we need meditation and hobbies that we enjoy doing.
    Cathy recently posted…Monthly Message – November 2011My Profile

    Reply
    • Hi Cathy,
      Yes, I tried knitting too but, it felt too complicated to me. I agree when I crocheted I would lose all track of time and it was so relaxing.
      I’ve got to get back to some hobbies. Writing does take up most of my “spare” time though!

      Reply
  10. Dear Angela,

    I think I love you. Your words are very tender and there’s something… personal about it. I mean, not just the topic, but.. gah, I don’t know how to write it. Loved the post though. Touched my heart strings.

    I don’t have any particular things I do when meditating, but I do like walking. Walking’s good.

    As for introducing these people to crocheting (first time I know the English term for it, it’s ‘strikking’ in Norwegian), yeah, that might help. I mean, no risk, no reward right? Perhaps it could serve as a conduit to clear the energetic structures in their bodies while they do something else!
    Sol recently posted…Using Your Emotions When WritingMy Profile

    Reply
    • Hi Sol,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed this post!
      An elderly neighbor taught all the little girls in my neighborhood to crochet when we were little. I was about 10 I think.
      I loved it right away! Now that I think about it – I think I loved it because it was meditative. It allowed me to focus and clear my mind of my problems.
      I also started reading the Tarot cards around that time too – perhaps the mindfulness helped me to develop psychically?
      I think walking is a great way to clear the mind from focusing on negative, repeating thoughts. If you get into it and focus on the movement of your legs and feet and become really present with it – I think it can be as beneficial as a mindfulness meditation.
      Yes, I’m going to bring up the crocheting this weekend and see how it goes over.

      Reply
  11. Hi Angela,

    I was thinking a similar thing about knitting a little while ago- being relaxing, almost meditative. And I had the same dilemma as you – just started knitting a couple of years ago (a total novice) and then not 2 months later I adopted a kitten found by a neighbour and had to hide my knitting away.

    My cat is actually the “worst” cat I’ve ever had – she’s a hyperactive hunter and catches anything and everything that moves! But she’s mellowed out a bit now and I’m actually able to get a little bit of knitting done while she’s taking her evening snooze. Of course, as soon as she becomes aware of me knitting, I put it away to make sure I don’t lose any stitches.

    Maybe try watching your cat’s evening activities and take advantage of his naptime to get back into crocheting. You just have to be diligent and put it away safely at the first sign of interest from him. (Hopefully you can finish your row (or crochet equivalent) before he attacks!)

    Reply
    • Hi Judy,
      You’re cat sounds like mine. I actually had one that was even crazier about attacking me when I crocheted but, I had to put him to sleep last November.
      I can’t tell you how many rows he pulled out!
      That’s a good suggestion about watching him to see when he snoozes.
      I’m going to to do that.
      Thank you. What are you making?

      Reply
  12. Cute story and photo. It might be safe to break out the crochet needles again. Kittens can be little terrors. Of course, any cat loves string no matter what age.
    – Wendy

    Reply
    • Hi Wendy,
      It’s good to see you. I’m a cat lover so, of course, the cat came first.
      I’d love to finish the afghan someday and start a new one but, it will have to wait until I’m cat free.
      He still loves string at 14 years old.
      The real problem now is writing vs. crocheting. Can’t do both at the same time!

      Reply
  13. Hi Angela,

    Ok, this is amazing timing. With the weather getting colder, I’ve actually been thinking of trying my hand at making a blanket. I learned crocheting as a child, but haven’t done it since (and I’m trying to get over the whole image that only old ladies crochet. I know it’s not true, but that idea exists in me). My mom used to make these simple blankets out of squares and I always loved them. And I really like the idea of creating something with my hands. Ok, you’ve convinced me. I’m going to give it a try. I suppose I’ll have to wait until I’ve gotten decent at it before the meditative qualities will kick in, though. :)

    Hugs!
    Melody
    Melody recently posted…What Does The Law of Attraction Say About Coincidences?My Profile

    Reply
    • Hi Melody,
      It’s lovely to see you!
      I think the colder weather drew me to thinking about this more too.
      The blankets made out of the crocheted squares were really big for a while. They were beautiful.
      Please let me know how your crocheting goes. Even if you only make a nice scarf it’s still fun and relaxing.
      I see what you mean – yes, if you make a lot of mistakes and have to keep pulling it out it does ruin the “meditative” quality.
      I’ve had that happen many a time!
      Good luck!
      All my best,
      Angela

      Reply
  14. Well, yes! You know I used to crochet as well. Like you I started when I was about 4 years old, then I just shifted into other crafts. I think what is so meditative about my jewelry making is that it is the essense of the creative process…you visualize it and than it appears. Crafting for me was also purely intuitive…meaning It was something I knew I had to do…no logic involved. Creating something from nothing is a wonderful experience. We will have to have a crochet party.

    Reply
    • Hi Rosemarie,
      Yes, we’ll have to have the crochet party at your house! My cat will shred your blanket to pieces.
      You’re jewelry is beautiful. I love my bracelet.

      Reply
  15. Hi Angela!

    I think you are on to something here! I, too, used to crochet alot. But with kids and life being busy I haven’t done it for a few years. Thank you for the reminder! It makes me crave to feel the yard and needle working together in my hands. I can do it without thinking, yet feel present.

    I use running and walking as meditation too. I think that for some people who have a very hard time sitting still (me) a moving meditation is much much more successful, yet the same results can be achieved.
    Thank you for sharing (and the reminder) about this engaging and fun activity. With winter hitting us here in Montana, I am going to start a new crochet project.
    Plus, I only have a dog…no cats:)
    In Harmony,
    Jen
    Jen recently posted…Cyber-Monday and BEYOND: Music and Books that make you smile!My Profile

    Reply
    • Hi Jen,
      I hear it gets really cold in Montana!
      Lucky you – no cats! Yes, you do need to start a new blanket for sure.
      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting.

      Reply

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