Since early childhood I have been inspired by the textures and potential of wool. The journey began when I learnt to knit. Looking back, knitting was, a hugely powerful healing tool for me throughout my life. It introduced me to the potential of wool, the process of taking the wool and turning it into cloth was a curiosity for me.
Over the years I wrote my own knitting patterns and ran knitting workshops. I featured in knitting magazines and blogs, and was the resident textile artist and set up many knit and natter groups in local library service in Staffordshire, UK. I was resident textile artist for a play at mac Birmingham called Yarning based around the lives of women who knit through the ages. I provided knitted props for photographers and sold my knitting at various events.
I enjoy the feel of the cloth growing as I knit, the yarn moving in my fingers, the slow rhythm of the knitting needles clicking as I worked with the stitches.
A small diversion into weaving
It was a tour of the Outer Hebrides that was set to put me on a weaving path. I took inspiration from seeing the weavers on Harris with their looms. I could see how the land connected to the cloth that was woven and I brought this philosophy back home with me and started to weave, drawing inspiration from my local landscape. I found that the slow methodical rhythm and texture and feel of the wool on the loom really soothed my soul. I handspun my own wool from fleece, tracing the wool back to the sheep was important to me. I was working in a mindful way, the healing threads were connected together to make cloth that I could wrap myself up in, I felt safe, protected, warm, just like with knitting.
The process of knitting, and weaving is a slow contemplative journey, I now intuitively and mindfully knit and weave cloth that creates memory shawls, prayer shawls, mourning shawls, scarves, and cowls.
Knitting in the therapy room
From these experiences of working with wool in different ways, I realised that others could benefit from this whole process too. Knitting helps us to feel okay, is not a ‘cure all’ but it does make daily living much more enjoyable, and also, by sharing with others, I hope to give something back, helping others to find comfort in the cloth too.
I feel that there is a close connection between knitting and therapy. Working with wool, threads and stitches is healing, both in the process of making and also in creating a voice for when there are no words. I offer counselling including knitting, weaving and stitching, in the therapy room and also as patterns and kits, as I know and appreciate how healing working with wool and stitch is.