Signs of Spring
The sun is coming out more here in the UK, which means that when you're sat inside, with the sun shining through the windows, it feels so much warmer. It really is the nicest feeling (and reduces the need for heating or extra layers, which is a bonus).
I'm longing for the day that I can set up our garden furniture and sit outside, although I'm keeping fingers and toes crossed that it will last another year once we've cleaned it up and painted over the decking and fence again. We first painted everything grey a few years ago, and it seems to need an annual lick of paint - no doubt due to the extremes of weather we get in the UK.
Everything is looking a bit forlorn and neglected at the moment, but with a bit of elbow grease and touch-up paint, I'm sure it will all look fab. I'm a firm believer that you can create your own little corner of comfort by using what you have - without the need to go and buy anything fancy. Perhaps a few knitted or crocheted cushions won't go amiss this year, and would brighten up the garden as well as depleting my yarn stash. I may even crochet some pretty mandala hoops too, and add a crocheted cover to my plain hanging baskets.
Don't these knitted cushions look fabulous in my cosy corner of the garden. I designed them last year and snapped a quick photo before sending them off. The pattern is currently in Scheepjes YARN 15 bookazine which has just been released and they're knitted with Scheepjes Metropolis which is a joy to work with. I love how the different cable and slip stitch patterns perfectly mimic the amazing structure of honeycomb.
I was delighted with my crocheted basket cover last year - I will give it a wash and spruce it up for this year's baskets too.
I must admit that I'm not a keen gardener. If you ask my husband, he will quickly tell you that he can't get me to help with the gardening 'for love nor money'. The fact that we have a great selection of plants that are now giving us privacy, is all to his credit. Just to balance things out though, I will always do the housework when hubby is gardening, so that it's fair, and I do love to clean so it works really well for us. Do you have your own preferred jobs?
Mindful listening and the sounds of nature
Whilst I wait patiently for the warmer days, I have been opening the window instead, to listen to the sounds of the outdoors, listening to the birdsong, the wind rustling through the trees, children playing, lawnmowers chugging, traffic roaring, and all of the noises that are there around us, that we often don't notice.
I grew up with a school field behind our house, so the sound of children laughing, shouting and playing together, feels really familiar and comforting, and really makes me happy too. If I close my eyes, I can take myself back to my own school days, where we played without a care in the world. I love that we have a school near to our home too, so I still hear that familiar sound floating through the airwaves and into my garden, although the sound of the teacher's whistle still makes me stop in my tracks. We had to line up into our respectively classroom lines and march back in, to take our seats and resume our lessons. I almost do it automatically still!!!
A mindful listening exercise for your knitting and crochet
If it's still too cold to sit outside, here's a great mindful exercise for you to try if you find yourself with a few minutes to sit by a window to knit or crochet. Open the window and settle into your seat and place your knitting or crochet down for a moment. Close your eyes and spend a few moments noticing your breathing. As you relax, listen to the sounds that you can hear outside.
Concentrate on the louder, nearby sounds and pinpoint one sound to focus on, such as a birdsong. Listen to it's melody and how the notes are strung together. Breathe deeply as you listen and feel how your body reacts. Try to receive the sound without judgement, without responding. Notice the sound arising and the sound passing. Notice the pauses between the sounds and also note the sound of silence. After a few moments, pick up your knitting or crochet and as you work on your mindful project, continue to hear the sounds around you, noting their comings and goings. Using our senses in our mindful knitting and crochet can bring us into direct contact with the present moment and to what is happening around us. When our senses are engaged, our minds are less likely to find the time or space for thoughts and emotions. You can practice this simple exercise anywhere and it's a great way to train your senses to be aware of the present moment. As you practice this exercise more and more, when you hear a birdsong, you will naturally tune-in to the sounds as your body memory responds.
Happy mindful knitting and crocheting, Lynne xxx
If you're looking for a mindful crochet project, you could try my Shawl of Two Halves