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Your brain on knitting

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Your brain on knitting

Sally Melville, is one wise woman. A pioneering knitwear designer, Sally's mantra is "knit what you wear and wear what you knit"  I love the way she teaches, the way she writes, and the way she thinks.  She spent a number of years at Canada's University of Waterloo teaching study skills and she has done some wonderful work on learning and remembering.  In studying how to study, one of the things she addressed was how the two sides of our brain function.  Everyone is familiar with the analytical left brain/creative right brain concept, and specifically how our left brains are the controllers, keeping pesky irrationality at bay.

Certainly, our left brains serve us well in our daily life.  Our left brain is careful, analytical, and precise.  It knows and follows the rules and keeps irrational fears from paralyzing us.  And it is where language resides.  The right brain, on the other hand, is emotional, intuitive, and uninhibited.  It is the playground of the unconscious, the font of understanding, and the birthplace of creative energy. 

Obviously we need both sides working together to get through the day, and we lean most heavily on the left side.  But we should never discount what the right side brings to the table.  It is the right side that offers creative solutions, gives form to our fears, and offers insight into a the complex.  But how do you force your right brain to get busy?  Can you access it on demand?  You can.  Whenever you do something that's physically repetitive and not intellectually challenging, such as knitting, your mind wanders over to the right side.  It takes some work to develop that faculty and be able to consistently access the emotional intelligence that lives there, but it is so worthwhile.  When we can use both sides of our brain at will, we find greater balance in our life overall.  The next time you're knitting, and your mind wanders, write your thoughts down and see what your right brain has to say.

If you're interested in exploring this concept more, join us for our Mindfulness Retreat this Sunday where we'll do stuff like this and more.  It's going to be great. 

I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table.  You are always welcome here. ~Ellen

Back to the 15 January 2019 Newsletter

Comments on this post (2)

  • Jan 28, 2019

    Hi Justine!

    Thanks so much for your comment on the blog. It’s so interesting that you are naturally ambidextrous! When you say that you knit left handed, do you mean that you work from right needle to left needle, or do you mean that you hold your yarn in your left hand? I am always curious because there are so many different ways to knit!

    Thanks again for reading and commenting. It’s nice to know that people enjoy the blog – I certainly enjoy writing for you.

    — Ellen Lewis

  • Jan 16, 2019

    My mother always pointed out to me that I use my left and right brain so well. She noticed it one day when I was hammering away building one of those huge play sets for my children….she said to me, “do you always use your left hand like that?” I looked down at the hammer like it was completely foreign to me all of a sudden as I am right handed. I can also write left handed and was able to teach myself to knit and crochet left handed (fairly easily), so I could teach my left handed granddaughter to crochet/knit. I have become very aware of this since my mother’s comment and I am always “making myself use my left hand even more”, so it is coming quite natural for me to use both at tasks I would sometimes do completely right handed. It is fun! I enjoyed this article! (I just found your blog and put it in my favorites) I saw the pretty new sweater to knit on my FB page! Sincerely, Justine

    — Justine Lloyd

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