A Slow Knitting Manifesto


Especially at the height of knitting season, the world around me seems to settle into a constant state of blur. Timelines, deadlines, due dates—they rush forwards and then past, being fulfilled and crossed off the planner, pages turning like a flip book, the margins animated with notations and ideas. The knitting of samples, swatches, patterns, projects, speeds by almost as quickly. Sometimes this is okay. A project rapidly off the needles provides some sense of satisfaction, especially if I can wear it sooner. Lately, though, I have been thinking of slower knitting.

You may have heard of the “slow food” or “slow living” movements, through which people are taking a breather in their busy lives and re-evaluating. Fewer ingredients. Fewer belongings. Simple food, simple beauty, simple lives. It’s a return to the past. After all, didn’t our ancestors come up with all of this technology, all of these inventions, to make life easier? So why has it become so difficult to set aside time for ourselves, our families, our interests? We seem busier than ever.

I propose a return to the slower cycle of all things knitting. I plan on taking my cues from fiber animals, whose fleeces follow a year-long journey, culminating in a shearing, a carding, a spinning, a yarn.

In this same way, I will choose my fibers carefully and thoughtfully, selecting a project not for it’s expediency or end product, but simply to make something beautiful. I will muse over the stitches, taking pleasure in the beauty of yarn passing through my fingers to become something new. No longer will I fear a long project, or blocking, or trying a new technique. I will do this for the enjoyment of the process as much as for the project.

I vow to take time each day simply to enjoy the act of knitting—all too often, I find myself absorbed instead with a task within the task, knitting while waiting or doing something else. I will add in time just for the knitting itself.

In these simple, quiet moments, I will rediscover the meditative quality of wool and needles.

November 04, 2014 by Hannah Thiessen
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