Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Iris: A Meditation Wrap

I've been making a series of meditation wraps over the last few years.  The primary purpose of these pieces is mindfulness, but I've discovered that working them improves my focus and my fibre skills.  I finished Iris yesterday.  Here she is on the needles:

Before blocking:

And after:

iris is named for her colour, which is more violet than it appears here.  She's also named for the GooGoo Dolls song. 

I found the yarn at the back of a bin.  There was one ball, weighing about 55 grams, no record of the date spun nor the yardage.  (Lesson:  Label your yarn when you store it!)  I spun it years ago, I'm sure.  My current spinning is more casual, far less consistent and certainly not as fine.

I thought the yarn would be perfect for a meditation piece in a simple lace.  With no idea of the yardage, it would be easy enough to cast on, knit until I ran out of yarn and not be tempted to focus on the "project."  (I could have skeined and measured the yarn, but where's the fun in that?)  This piece is small, but large enough to protect me from the chilly night air.

I'm pleased with this little thing, so I offer the pattern here for you.  It's a very easy, one row lace pattern, perfect for meditation or for beginning knitters.  No dogs were harmed in the making of Iris, although Morris nearly came to a bad end when he thought it might be a good joke to steal the scarf when I was photographing it.  He was mistaken.


50 grams 3 ply hand spun Samoyed dog hair yarn, Z spun/S plied, 24 wpi.  Rowan’s KidSilk Haze or similar yarn is a suitable substitute.  (20 sts over 4 inches/10 cm on 4 mm needles.  210 metres/229 yards per 25 gram ball.)
1—60 cm/24 inch circular needle or a pair of straights in a size to achieve gauge.  I used a 4 mm circular Addi.
Blocking Pins (lots of them!)
Gauge:  Approximately 16 sts over 10 cm/4 inches in lace pattern, unblocked.  14 sts over 10 cm/4 inches blocked.  Unblocked piece measured 29 x 94 cm/11.5 x 37 inches.  Blocked piece measures 33 cm x 122 cm/13 x 48 inches.
Note:  My standard border for meditation wraps is garter stitch.  In this piece, the K2 at the beginning and end of the lace causes the border to fold to the back of the work.  This fold blocked out on my wrap, but take the time to wash and block a sample of your yarn before knitting your wrap.
I used all the hand spun Samoyed yarn I had available.  You may knit your wrap to any width or length.  Be sure to buy sufficient yarn to complete the project.

Lace Pattern:  (Adapted from Jan Eaton’s Knitted Lace, Shell Pattern, p. 71.  Multiple of 7+2 sts.)
Row 1:  Knit
Row 2:  Purl
Row 3:  K2, *yo, p1, p3tog, p1, yo, k2, repeat from *
Row 4:  Purl
Using knitted cast on, cast on 47 stitches (37 for lace section, 5 for each edge).
Knit 10 rows (5 ridges) garter stitch, placing a marker after the first 5 sts and before the last 5 sts to mark the edges.  On a RS row, begin the lace pattern over the 37 sts between the markers, keeping the edges in garter stitch.  There is only 1 pattern row, on RS row 3.
Knit in pattern until you are approximately 2.5 cm/1 inch short of your unblocked length, ending after Row 1 of the pattern on a RS row.
Knit 10 rows (5 ridges) in garter stitch, removing the stitch markers before you bind off.  End on a RS row and bind off loosely.  I used Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Sewn Cast-Off, from Knitting Without Tears:
Break your yarn, leaving about 3 times the width of your piece.
Thread this yarn into a blunt tapestry needle.  Hold the work on the knitting needle in your left hand.  Your yarn and tapestry needle are at the right end of the work.
*Slip the tapestry needle and yarn through the first 2 sts on the knitting needle, pull the yarn through.
Slip the tapestry needle and yarn back through the first stitch as if to knit.  Pull the yarn through and slip that first stitch off the knitting needle.*  Repeat from * to * until there is 1 stitch remaining.  Pull the yarn through this stitch as if to knit and fasten off.
Darn in all ends.  Wash the wrap in a no rinse wool wash product.  Roll the wrap in a towel to remove excess moisture.  Block the wrap to size.
(The silver shawl pin was a gift from a friend who purchased it in Asia.)

©Deborah Behm 2011


  1. Just lovely! Thanks for posting the pattern!

  2. You're welcome! And thank you.

  3. Love the scarf/stole and the colour is wonderful!

  4. This is so lovely!! I love the idea of fibre arts as meditation practice.....

  5. While I like your art, I have to ask. How do you practice mindful meditation while focusing on knitting. Is the purpose of Vipsana suppose to be to look inside oneself? To not pay attention to the "other". At least that is what my teacher has been telling me. Just wondering, because when I suggested to him that I could knit and meditate he explained why I could not.