The Knitting Yogi - Jenn!
By now you've all seen the gorgeous hats and stockings in our lobby. Knitted with love by our very own Jenn. What inspires her to create such beautiful pieces? Let's find out ...
"My mom was a knitter. She worked at Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth performing historic Women's Crafts. She bought raw wool straight from the sheep farmers, cleaned it, carded it, spun it, dyed it with weeds and onion skins, and then knit sweaters, hats, and mittens. I grew up with baskets of smelly wool, fresh from the sheep, scattered around my house. Knitting was part of her job. She tried to teach me to knit, but I was a rebellious teenager and wanted nothing to do with it.
Fast foward 20 years: I'm married to my Army Officer husband, stationed in Anchorage, Alaska and I'm an honorary single mom for 15 months while he is deployed in Iraq. All the other officer's wives were organizing weekly Party Days. The plan was to get together while the kids were in school and do lunch and socialize and keep each other sane while we were husbandless in the midst of the Alaskan winter. Someone thought it would be cool to learn how to knit too during these Party Days. I wasn't initially on board with the knitting part, but I told them that I was more than happy to show up and eat, drink and be merry. And then something strange happened... someone shoved a ball of yarn and two needles in my hands and I LIKED it. To this day, I'm the only one of those officers' wives who still knits.
Fast forward 2 years: I started my teacher training program in Chesapeake, Virginia. My guru was determined and focused on teaching us a solid framework and then encouraging us to be creative within that framework to create unique yoga classes. It didn't happen overnight, but eventually a light bulb went off in my head that I could do the same thing with my knitting. I knew how to make squares, rectangles, triangles, circles and tubes with knitting. What would happen if I didn't have a knitting pattern, and just rearranged and pieced those shapes together in different ways? It was liberating to say the least. My yoga teacher training was responsible for making me a more creative and adventurous knitter.
These days I have a teenager who is a competitive athlete. I spend a lot of time waiting for her. Waiting in the orthodontist office, waiting for gymnastics practice to be over, waiting to pick her up when she has after-school activities. I feel like I spend a huge chunk of my time WAITING. So how to fill the time productively? I knit. But I can't be hauling tons of yarn and needles and other supplies around with me all the time, so I knit hats. Hats are small enough to fit in my purse, usually don't take more than one or two balls of yarn, I can knit them in the small space that is my car, and I've done so many of them at this point, there are several pattern frameworks permanently etched into my brain.
My knitting is still connected to yoga. I practice my pranayama/breath work while I knit. If I'm at home and I have room to spread out, I'll sit in pigeon, wide-legged forward fold, reclined hero, etc. and knit so I can get super deep into those stretches. Its very easy to get hunched over when one is knitting, so maintaining proper core support and spinal alignment is a yoga practice in and of itself.
I have a level one Reiki attunement. I got it when I was really young and I never used it to its full potential. It wasn't until I started to teach yoga that I truly began to understand some of the deeper energies at work in our bodies and in the universe. That Reiki energy starts flowing whenever I knit, simply because I'm doing focused work with my hands. I put the Reiki into my knitting. They don't know it perhaps, but everyone who walks around in one of my hats is wearing a little blessing on their head. Who doesn't need more of those? "