I've been reading a few things lately about zen and running, including this book and this blog. They have got me interested in the the whole concept of zen, and how it relates to crochet, and other crafts.
Clearly many people far more qualified than I can give you an explanation on what zen is, but for me zen is being in the moment, noticing, and appreciating that moment.
So how do crochet and zen connect?
For me, when I crochet, it's generally a time of relaxation, and focus. It can be almost a meditative state at times when I crochet.
I don't use patterns when I crochet, I just kind of look at something and try and work out how to make it myself.
I like not reading patterns, as it totally frees up my mind to the calming monotony of crochet.
Not reading or following patterns also means I do lots and lots of frogging when something goes wrong!
And that I make lots of simple things like blankets, scarves, and these cushions, which were made from using one of those sharp hooks to crochet a tea towel into a cushion cover.
But one of the things I love about crochet, is how it makes me appreciate the moment I am in. I will often sit with my youngest whilst she plays in her room, and crochet and chat with her. She will often ask me to play a game with her, where she is the princess, and I am the queen who sits and crochets. Makes game playing quite easy when that happens! It also makes me more amenable to spending more time one on one with her. (Not that I need assistance really for that, as she is so adorable and lovely I cherish most every minute with her.) I guess what i'm clumsily trying to say is that it's kind of multitasking, but where I am totally focused on both her and the crochet.
So this is quite a rambly post here, and i'm not quite sure what I'm trying to say. I think I started thinking about the zen component of crochet, when I recently had some extended sick leave from work. At the beginning of my leave, I was quite positive and focused that looking on the bright side of my extended leave would mean that I would be able to do lots of crochet, as I often feel I cant fit everything in. And I know I'm not Robinson Crusoe there either!
However the strange thing was, once I had all the time in the world, I just could not pick up a crochet hook. I made maybe three things in the whole four months I was off work!
It really made me think about why that was, which is how I came to write this post.
I think that when I had lots of time, was unwell, and a teensy bit stressed, I perhaps did not want so much to be "in the moment". I wanted more of an escape from where I was. And by sitting and crocheting, I would be forced to think and ruminate. Which I clearly did not want to do so much at that time.
So this post is not really earth shattering, but I just thought it was quite interesting to chart how for me, crochet is a really useful tool for me to be still, to think, and to appreciate.
And that maybe, for me, when I find I'm not in the mood to crochet, I should probably look a bit deeper as to why, and think about what I might be avoiding.
Or it might just mean I'm not in the mood. And that I think too much :-)
What does crochet/ knitting/whatever mean to you?