Wendy Freebourne writes from the 2017 Yearly Meeting Gathering in Warwick:
Knitting meditation is hugely popular at the Quaker Yearly Meeting Gatherings.
Sunday morning and Tuesday morning we had Knitting Meditation, during which we did Mindful Knitting and then had Meeting for Worship for knitting, together with knitting ministry. This was organised by Dawn Beck and myself, aided by Mary White. Up to 70 people, men and women, attended, so that we spilled into the corridor and the peaceful garden.
Mindful knitters in action at Warwick YMG 2017.
We also set up a knitting table in the meeting area, which became a haven for knitters and non-knitters, a place to meet, relax, and wind down. People came and left wool and needles there and knitted 4 inch squares, often started by one person and completed by another. There was a paper table cloth to write our messages and patterns. Dawn is putting the squares together to make baby blankets for refugees in Wakefield, a City of Sanctuary. On Friday morning we had another impromptu meeting there, with cake. So I didn’t get to many plenary sessions.
The theme of the conference was community building, The clerks had to revise this theme as the week progressed and as we grew into the concept. I am not an activist or a marcher, so my contribution was to teach people to knit and to crochet, which gift was received with gratitude.
I met up with an acquaintance, not a Quaker when I knew him, who I hadn’t seen for 32 years. We reminded ourselves of the work we did together with others in the 1980s. We were networking and community building. At Meeting for Leaving on the last morning the penny dropped for me and I was able to see my own niche in building community. I have always been good at bringing people together.
Wendy Freebourne used craft to knit a closer community at the Warwick event.