Sun Salutation: Greet The Day with Yarn & Needles
Image above excerpted from Knit the Sky © Lea Redmond. Illustration by © Lauren Nassaf.
“To him [or her] whose elastic and vigorous thought keeps pace with the sun, the day is a perpetual morning. It matters not what the clocks say or the attitudes and labors of men. Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me.”
–Henry David Thoreau, Walden (1854)
Like the sun, which rises unceasingly, I am again and again inspired by Thoreau’s words. Oh, if only I felt the “dawn in me” every day! Thoreau went to the woods to practice being awake—truly spiritually awake. I go to my knitting needles for a sense of wonder and connection.
I think Thoreau would especially appreciate one of the projects in my book, Knit The Sky. The Sun Salutation scarf invites us to get up before dawn and greet the day by knitting the sunrise. Knitting on big needles with thick yarn from our Sun Salutation yarn kit, it’s possible to chase the sun across the sky and knit an entire scarf in one day, weaving in the loose ends at sunset.
I recently did this project while visiting my dear friend Amy up in rural Sonoma County. Amy is an early riser, so she made sure I was up before sunrise, in time for us to drive out to a good viewing spot in a field. Just as the sun peeked over the horizon, I began to knit it into the beginning of a scarf! The sun felt great on my face in the chilly morning air. After completing the sun section, we moseyed on over to Howard’s for our ritual veggie eggs benedict. (By the way, I highly recommend Howards if you're ever in tiny Occidental, CA!)
A Quick Knit With Time to Explore
Knitting the Sun Salutation scarf on size 10½ needles gives a nice big gauge, letting you knit this scarf up quickly! It’s about 5-7 hours of knitting total—and remember that you’re getting up at sunrise to begin—so this leaves lots of time in the middle of the day to alternate knitting with playing in the sunshine. I went on a walk in the tall trees in my friend Amy’s neighborhood, and even knit a row on her amazing swing! Yes, I was making a lovely scarf; but even more than that, I spent the day paying attention to how light makes leaves shimmer, and how sunshine feels on skin.
As Thoreau also says in Walden:
“It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look… To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”
I drove out to the Sonoma coast for the last section of my scarf—and sunset over the Pacific Ocean. I found a cozy spot in the ice plant on a cliff overlooking the water. (And coincidentally, there were two women doing sun salutation yoga moves down on the beach below me!) I accidentally cut it a little close with the timing, but I raced to the last row and even managed to weave in the loose ends just as the sun started to sink. And as it did, I wrapped my new scarf around my neck and sunk my hand-stitched sun into the hand-stitched “horizon” I’d made.