Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Angie: A Lesson in Applied Mindfulness

What do we have here?

Yes, it's a bag. The package contains "stuff."  Nothing special, just a few vacation treats.  The photograph shows something else that is not readily apparent: it's an example of mindfulness in action.

I go to Worldly Accents every time I visit Kelowna.  I like the merchandise, but the reason the store appeals to me is the care and attention the staff takes with small details.

Everything is wrapped in handmade paper, tied with hemp string, garnished with a dried leaf and placed carefully in a recycled bag.  Yes, it's good for business, but it's also an extra touch that shows someone has the time to pay attention to the task at hand.

We practise mindfulness for itself, not to achieve a goal or get somewhere, but what I notice with regular practice is that I'm becoming more mindful about my life in general and the work that I do.  I pay attention to the details of what passes through my hands.

"Angie" is an example: this cowl began with a hand spun 2 ply angora and silk yarn, dyed with walnut husks.  I had 140 metres of this soft, soft yarn and I wanted to knit a special project.

I knit several samples, but nothing quite worked until I modified a lacy rib pattern, staggering the "ribs" in alternate sets.  The pattern is reversible-I like to make things which are attractive no matter which side shows. 

I also like to make things which can be worn in a variety of ways, so Angie began with a basic knitted cast on.  I knit until I was almost out of yarn, then cast off in picot edging.  Worked on 88 stitches, this cowl is loose fitting, so I added a twisted cord which can be laced through either end, depending where I want the picots to sit:

Attention to details, mindfulness in action, paid off.  I'm pleased with the cowl.  I've included a simple version here, so you, too, can practise applied mindfulness.  This version is knit with Aslan Trends's Royal Alpaca.  One skein makes a cowl long enough to be doubled over or pulled over the head as a nachaq.  It's tight enough that it can be folded at one end and used as a hat.

You can increase the circumference of the cowl by adding stitches in multiples of 4.  (Be sure to buy more yarn if you do this.)

If you stay with the original 64 stitches, cast off in picot edging-casting off in pattern makes the cowl too tight to frame your face.  You can omit the picot cast on.  The stitches on this cast on are picked up as you go and match the cast off.

The stitch pattern is reversible.

Angie: Mindfulness Cowl

1-100 gram skein Aslan Royal Alpaca (220 metres) or similar yarn
4 mm circular needle/ 40 cm long or needles to give gauge of approximately
4 sts/inch: 16 sts/10 cm

Finished size, unblocked, is approximately 38 cm/15 inches long x 38/15 inches around.  Finished size, blocked, is approximately 40 cm/16 inches long x 40 cm/16 cm around.  The pattern has a lot of lateral stretch.
Picot Cast On
Make a slip knot with your yarn.  Place this stitch on LH needle and use it to *cast on 2 sts onto LH needle.  Bind off 2 sts. (1 st remains on RH needle.)  Notice the loop hanging down from your knitting.  Pick up this loop and place it on your LH needle.  Move the st on the RH needle to the LH needle* and repeat from * to * until you have 63 loops and 1 st on your needle (or desired number of sts).  64 sts.
Place marker on RH needle, join round and work in pattern as follows:
Rnds 1-3:  *K3, P1* repeat from * to * to end of rnd.
Rnd 4:        *yo, K3tog, wrn, P1* to end of rnd.
Work until the cowl measures approximately 38 cm/15 inches long.
Bind off in picot edging:
Using cable or knitted cast on, cast on 2 stitches on to your left needle.  *Bind off 1 stitch.  There is one cast on stitch remaining on the right hand needle.  K2 tog, and bind off one of the cast on stitches on the right hand needle by pulling the single stitch over the k2tog stitch.  Place the remaining stitch on the left needle and use this stitch to cast on 2 stitches on to the left needle.* Repeat from * until you have one stitch remaining on your needle.  Fasten off this stitch.
Make a twisted or crocheted cord and pompoms from remaining yarn and thread through the bound off edge of cowl.
Wash in warm water and no rinse wool wash product.  Roll cowl in towel to remove excess water.  Shape to size and dry flat.

©Deborah Behm 2011

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