How knitting can be calming

23 November,2022 10:36 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Tanishka D’Lyma

In a chapter of her book The Light We Carry released this month, Michelle Obama describes how knitting helped calm her mind during the pandemic. Two knitters share their story of the grounding effects of the craft

Michelle Obama. Pics courtesy/@Twitter

Pace the mind

Knitting was part of Sandhya Kulkarni*s Karyanubhav class in school. But unlike most students whose grades in work experience and craft were based on projects completed by their parents, Kulkarni was excited to learn how to work with two needles and a ball of yarn. It*s been 40 years since the HR consultant learned how to knit and she says, "Even with two hands and 24 hours in a day, a lifetime isn*t enough to complete all the projects and styles that I want to tackle."

A still from an interview with Michelle Obama as she shows off a sweater she knit

The 54-year-old also has her own label, Hook2knot, which comprises a team of 30 women looping yarn to create different accessories and apparel. "Knitting for all these years has helped me strengthen my memory, focus, to be patient and build perseverance," Kulkarni shares, revealing how retaining the patterns and number of stitches for different styles improves memory. Even with many projects lined up, you have to focus on the task at hand, pace your hands along with your mind and stay in the moment. "Knitting has always helped me during difficult times to remain balanced and deal with grief and anxiety. Even though you knit alone, you are not lonely," she shares.

During the pandemic, Kulkarni, who spends time between Dadar and Pune, did not waste time scrolling on social media or binge-watching television shows, but found herself knitting more - finding calm amidst uncertainty in the rhythmic movements. It was the meditation she needed. Even today, you*ll find her up at 8 am knitting her way into the day*s schedule.

(Clockwise from left) Handwarmers, a set of baby clothes and sweater created by Sandhya Kulkarni

Stitch with it

Being a senior citizen, Maggie D*Silva, a 71-year-old Bhayandar resident, spent much of her time during the pandemic stuck at home. To stay on top of her game, this retired teacher continued with knitting projects to expend her creative energy, but with renewed enthusiasm. "Knitting helped me to divert my mind from a rush of thoughts, to focus on a single task and build my concentration," she tells us. With over 200 creations including sweaters, blouses, baby clothes and more gifted to friends, family and neighbours, D*Silva notes that it is always one task at a time, and one loop at a time.

Loop it together

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