block out some time to chill

Takk is debating which part of the post-blocked bunny swatch he'd like to taste first...

Takk is debating which part of the post-blocked bunny swatch he'd like to taste first...

Today, being April 1st, it’s not only Easter, it’s also the first day of #StitchAwayStress Month! Every year, the Craft Yarn Council promotes stitching as the perfect way to invite ease and reduce stress. It couldn’t be more aligned with my thinking - of both stitching and stretching. So to kick off the month, I’ve got the ultimate Stitch and Stretch comparison. Let’s hop right into it :)

Bunny See: Bunny Do

Let’s set the mirrored scene: 

You’ve found a stitch designer with a pattern that you really want to make (or you design your own!). / You discover a yoga teacher whose class you really want to take (or you lead yourself!).

You gather all the appropriate materials for the task: yarn, notions, needles (or hook). / You gather all the appropriate materials for the task: mat, blocks, strap.

You begin the pattern/practice, devoting your time, energy, concentration.

Despite the occasional challenge (maybe?), you settle into a rhythm, and feel the connectivity of the process. Everything else starts to blur into the background, and stress melts away. 

You reach the final stitches/poses and feel accomplished and grateful for a job well done.

The End… or is it?

I’d venture to say that one of the most important elements of stitchwork/a yoga practice comes after the last stitches have been completed, and the last active poses taken. The final step before donning your handmade article, or leaving class. The process that seals in all the hardwork you’ve undertaken. That is to say, the act of blocking/taking savasana. 

Some Bunny Needs to Chill

I’ll be completely honest with you. When I first began stitching, I never blocked anything. I deemed it unnecessary. After binding off my last stitch, I didn’t have the patience to soak, pin and wait for my garment to dry before I could wear it or gift it. I soon discovered that skipping this step was akin to omitting savasana after a delicious yoga class. 

And yes, I’ve done that too. 

Typically, when I’m in a yoga class at a studio, I’ve set aside that time to practice, and I stay until the very end, when the teacher calls the students out of savasana, final rest, and we all say Namaste. (I think I’ve dipped out of a savasana early one time, and it was in a Bikram class that was cold - which is an oxymoron, since Bikram classes heat to 105ish degrees.) At any rate, I’ve taken thousands of yoga classes at studios, and as a rule, I don’t leave before/during savasana. 

But when I practice at home, it’s all really loosey goosey. I do the poses that feel good, I skip the poses that are difficult (which are the ones I really should be incorporating, but I’m being honest here), and I almost never stay the entire length of savasana, which in my mind is 10-15 minutes. 

Have you ever not blocked a garment? Have you ever dipped out of a yoga class before or during savasana? Do you know, first-hand, the results of said skippage?

Here’s the thing: yarn can be wily, right? Stitches can appear wonky when we’re knitting/crocheting through a pattern. Ends can roll all kinds of ways. A hand-stitched garment rarely appears pret-a-porte (ready-to-wear) when the last stitch is bound off. It needs time to settle into shape, to ease into the desired appearance. It needs a little coaxing to relax and align itself. 

Pre-blocked bunny swatch

Pre-blocked bunny swatch

Soaking bunny swatch

Soaking bunny swatch

Pinned and drying swatch

Pinned and drying swatch

So does the body. 

Soaking in savasana

Soaking in savasana

Yes, the active poses of yoga are meant to work out the kinks. Each pose has a myriad of benefits, such as assisting the functioning of organs, helping the various systems in the body, encouraging strength and flexibility, and settling the mind. But savasana is the final pose for a reason. Savasana is the time for all of those benefits to assimilate into the body. It is the opportunity to marinate in the wonderful post-practice feelings (that you’ll experience even after you leave class) by doing absolutely nothing. It’s essentially soaking in the glory of a job well done. Absorb and relax.

See what I mean? Blocking and savasana are essentially one and the same!

The next time you finish a stitch project and you’re debating whether or not you want to block the item, conjure up thoughts of complete relaxation - think of blocking as giving your beloved stitchwork the opportunity to take a lovely savasana. And conversely, if you’re at the end of a yoga practice (whether in studio or at home) and you’re considering leaving early or cutting time short, remember how freshly bound off stitchwork can sometimes appear askew and how everything magically falls into place with just a little time bathing in relaxation. Chances are in both instances, you’ll block out some time to chill. And your garment/body will be ever-so-grateful that you did.

Happy Easter, you chill bunnies!