Monday, April 30, 2007

In which I write yesterday's post

Yoga for Knitters led by Maureen Braun. The ad in our community college's flyer caught my eye, and I asked for the class as an early birthday present. Headed off at 10:45 on Sunday morning for 5 hours of "me time." Just being kidless for five hours, much as I love them, was a gift in itself...and getting to knit AND do restorative yoga AND have a leisurely lunch? Bliss.

Being a chicken blogger, I didn't take any photos during the class, but here's a still life from the day...the start of my tea cosy, in rice stitch; the patterns; my notepad from The Chrysalis Inn & Spa, a great location for this class; and Maureen's Yoga For Knitters book.

Here's how the day went:

INTRODUCTIONS: There were about 14 people, all women, in the class. Some were experienced knitters--one woman had supported herself knitting for 22 years, knitting commissions and garment samples and owning a retail store--while others were pretty raw newbies. Yay for the newbies! I'd say I was on the low end of total time knitting, but the middle-to-upper end of skill.

Maureen, the teacher, talked about the similarities she sees between knitting and yoga: ritual, repetition, and rhythm. She shared some stories about herself as a knitter and how she came to change from a product to a process knitter after giving herself a repetitive stress injury in her shoulder trying to finish a shawl.

This story really made me think about how I've been so focused on finishing M's chevron socks that I've neglected my health...knitting with a sore shoulder & elbow, etc.

We then wrote our own centering thought for the day, and Maureen had us couch them as "how can I" questions rather than "I must/need" statements. You can see mine in the photo above.


We made a little i-cord, which was, surprisingly, a new skill for at least half of the knitters, and then started off with the cable cast-on, also a new skill for many. I started visiting with the woman next to me, who had just moved here from Juneau, Alaska, where she taught in an alternative high school. That particularly focused buzz of knitting and voices in conversation filled the room.

The project I chose, of the two options, was a tea cosy in rice stitch. The original pattern (used with permission) is in One-Skein Wonders and calls for cashmere. (Um, why would I dress my teapot in cashmere?) I brought Paton's Classic Wool, which has been on sale at JoAnn this week, two for $8!

(The other project option was a dishcloth with a knit/purl pattern of hearts and I'm sort of dishclothed out right now. And why would I want anything other than my favorite Mason-Dixon pattern?)

Here's a bad macro shot of the rice stitch used for the cosy:

It's a super easy stitch that comes out looking like long johns. Love it!
Worked over an odd number of stitches (45, in this case):
Row 1 (RS): (P1, K1 tbl) until last stitch, P1
Row 2: K
(I'm pretty sure this is an old and common pattern found in lots of stitch dictionaries, so I don't think I'm breaking any copyright law by posting it here. Anyone know otherwise?)

We knitted until lunch, then took a 90-minute break. My friend & neighbor Analisa and I walked about a third of a mile into Fairhaven and lunched at the Colophon Cafe, one of my all-time favorite Bellingham places.

We returned to class, did an hour of restorative yoga using Maureen's cool book containing all her original drawings, and then closed with reflections.

The yoga was almost all chair yoga, I guess because one knits, typically, sitting? We did a little bit on the floor at the very end. As we stretched, I reflected on how I tend to rush through stretching when I do it on my own. Focusing on the sensations, the breathing, and really being present for your body...that's what I like about yoga--it forces me to stop and both think deeply and not think at all.

My only beef with the day--and it's a tiny one--is I wish they had just raised the class price $10 and given us the books instead of having to purchase them there. It was optional, of course, but I felt it added a little unnecessary commercialism to the day, and I also felt I needed to buy the book because I otherwise wouldn't remember much of the series of stretches we did. Again, a small thing.

1 comment:

Lolly said...

This is a really great idea! I loved reading your thoughts on the day. I have actually never done chair yoga, but I am assuming that many of the postures are regular standing or sitting poses that are just adapted for the chair? Did you feel nice and relaxed afterward?

The rice stitch is pretty! Thanks for sharing the pattern :)