Our minds are racing, thoughts flood in. We try to block them out, turn down the volume of the voices in our head.
Now we are surrounded by silence. The light bare walls, the simple rooms, all our basic needs taken care of. What to do? How to fill the time without filling the mind. How to calm the mind, soothe the soul and heal the heart.
We congregate in the common room. At first smiles and hellos, then names. A few have already brought the supplies. And so the craft begins.
I pick up my needles and pause. Am I really doing this? I get the wool wrapped around my fingers the way my Nanna taught me. The stitches gather and grown, the counting in my head at first. Then the pattern of wrap, pull through and lift the loop, repeat. End of row, now to purl. I giggle as the voice in my head says ‘Knit 1, Purl 1’. And row by row my scarf begins to grow and take shape.
Others ask what I’m making? And how do I know how to knit? I learnt as a young girl from my Nanna. But I’ve just retaught myself with the help of a friend, to knit a square for a ‘helping hands, healing hearts blanket’. Its funny, as my friend Claire showed me how she holds the wool to keep the tension and not to drop stitches, my hands had a memory of their own. They remember from over 25 years ago the way my Nanna wrapped the wool around my index finger, then threaded it beside my ring finger. Then I laughed, remembering how now matter how tight my stitches were I dropped lots! Perhaps it was my skinny fingers, my lack of co-ordinatipn or the plastic thin needles.
I like these thick bamboo needles, they grip the wool and hold the stitches together, they help the scarf to take shape.
Row by row, an hour here and a few minutes there, my scarf gets longer and longer. My head soothed by the rhythm, this mindful craft is almost meditative.