Unwind your stress with mindful knitting

Members of a knitting group practice their craft in the Campus Center recently. The “mindful knitting” group just started on campus and is open to anyone. Photo by Adam Cook.

Just below the Formal Lounge in the Campus Center, the sounds of an active Monday afternoon can be heard with students making their way to Fireside, shooting pool or just studying outside the 1787 room.

But Inside the space, the only sound that can be heard is the soft hum of meditative music and the sound of clinking knitting needles. This workshop, which occurs every Monday at noon, focuses on “mindful knitting.”

“When we talk about mindful knitting, it’s really something that we can use individually,” said Kelly Giancola, who leads this workshop every Monday. “We can make baby blankets for the hospital, you can make helmet liners for veterans. There’s lots of different ways to use this craft as something that’s productive and helpful, too.”

The group, this week made up of five members, is not just for skilled knitters, however. According to emails sent campus wide, inexperienced knitters are welcome and supplies are provided. The group was made up of some who had attended the last week’s meeting, and some newcomers.

“There are three other women who came last week,” Giancola said. “But they had another commitment today.”

One member of the group, Gabe Sequeira-Bacher, has knit before and said his mother has encouraged him.

“My mom kept telling me, ‘why don’t you join or start a knitting group’?” he said. “But I made a couple of hats last year, actually.”

Hats are not the only thing Sequeira-Bacher has made, however. He has also created a “guernsey wrap,” a fisherman-inspired textured wrap.

Castleton professor Gillian Gale, who also attended the gathering, was already at work as others were casting on.

“These are dish scrubbies,” she said, showing the group. “I’ve also done hats for charity, and just a lot of things.”

The hats were sent back to a hospital in Rochester, New York, where her mother is a nurse.

“I hadn’t hooked up with any knitting groups (locally) and figured out how to contribute,” she said.

There are several tools that a beginner needs, according to Giancola, including a crochet hook, scissors, tape measure and stitch markers.  She also noted that knitting can be done alone, or in groups.

The finished product does not have to be perfect, however, and it is up to the craftsman doing the knitting to decide whether or not a mistake is worth keeping.

“Always remember that your knitting is your own,” Giancola said. “If you knit 10 rows and you see that you made a mistake, it’s up to you if you feel it impedes your pattern.”

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