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Weaving for Mindfulness: The Therapeutic Benefits of Fibre Arts

  • 6 min read
A loom with a new warp. Photographer: Samantha Gehrmann
A loom with a new warp. Photographer: Samantha Gehrmann

Mindful Weaving

Have you ever sat weaving and found yourself fully immersed in your work? Your mind is focused on the feel of the warp and the weft, over and under, as you work backwards and forward. Nothing else fills your mind; the washing and cleaning are all forgotten in that moment, and your focus is on the rhythmical process of weaving. What you were experiencing was mindfulness.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is defined as attending with intent to the present moment. This is achieved by focusing awareness and accepting non-judgmentally any feelings and thoughts you may be experiencing (Kabat-Zinn, 2009).

With the flood of information available on the internet and the fact that the words are used interchangeably, it can be easy to become confused and believe that mindfulness and meditation are the same. While mindfulness and meditation can be interrelated, they are different. Meditation is a practice, whereas mindfulness is a way of living developed through practice. Mindfulness can also be developed through meditation to make things more confusing. Mediation is a more formal practice, whereas mindfulness can be formal and informal.

What are the benefits of mindfulness?

The benefits of mindfulness are broad-reaching. Individuals who regularly practice mindfulness report lower levels of anxiety and depression and a decrease in stress levels. They also have enhanced mood, increased self-esteem, and life satisfaction. It can help with relationships with improved emotional regulation, mood, and self-esteem. People who practice mindfulness often feel they have greater clarity and focus.

Research has shown that it is good not only for the mind but also for the body. Mindfulness can assist in reducing blood pressure, improving heart and brain health, and slowing brain ageing. While the focusing of the mind through mindfulness has positive outcomes, the reverse can be said of an unfocused mind; it not only impacts the body and the brain but can also result in a loss of meaning and purpose.

Weaving as a Mindfulness Practice

Weaving can be an excellent tool for practising mindfulness. However, it is not the weaving that makes the practice mindful. It is the way with which we approach it. Living in a world that is now so connected and where we often share our accomplishments online, it can be easy to get caught up in the finished product. Sometimes, success can be measured by how much we have created or clouded by thoughts of the next thing we will make, and we forget to slow down and savour the process of creating. As a seasoned weaver looking to explore weaving for mindfulness, it's an opportunity to revisit your craft with fresh eyes and a renewed intention.

It can feel unfamiliar to practice mindfulness when you first begin. You are training yourself to be mindful, which can take a little time; however, having the right mental and physical environment can help.

Photographer: Chris Chow | Source: Unsplash
Photographer: Chris Chow | Source: Unsplash

If you want to practice mindful weaving, there are a few things that may help you:

Set Your Purpose and INTENT

Begin by setting aside dedicated time and space for your weaving practice, treating it as a meditative ritual rather than a creative endeavour.

PRACTICE regularly

To get the maximum benefit from mindfulness, you must be weaving regularly; however, the length may vary. Somedays, you may find yourself engrossed in your mindful weaving; other days, you may find that you need to keep bringing your attention and focus back to the loom. Just 10 minutes a day can improve clarity and memory.


Being curious and open to the process helps, and also, be kind to yourself. If mindfulness is new to you, it will take a while before it becomes more automatic.


Ensure you have all the materials you need and are familiar with weaving. Suppose you are frustrated as something is missing or unsure of what you are doing. In that case, focusing on your thoughts non-judgmentally may be challenging.

Use SIMPLE Techniques and FAMILIAR Patterns

Weaving simple patterns will help with your mindful practice; it's not easy to let your thoughts flow through your head if you are wrestling with an intricate pattern or new technique.

FOCUS on the Process

Instead of worrying about the result, focus on the process of weaving itself. Pay attention to the sensation of the yarn or fibres in your hands, the rhythmic movement of the shuttle, and the gradual formation of the fabric.


Whenever your mind begins to wander or you feel distracted, gently bring back your focus to the present moment and the task. Notice the colours, textures, and shapes emerging from your weaving.

EMBRACE Imperfection

Each practice may be different, but try not to be judgemental and think of them as better or worse; it's all just practice. Remember that weaving, like mindfulness, is also a practice, not a perfect art. Embrace mistakes and imperfections as opportunities for learning and growth.


After each weaving session, take a moment to reflect on your experience. Observe how you are feeling emotionally, mentally, and physically. Appreciate the time you've spent weaving and the beauty you've created.

By incorporating these simple strategies into your weaving journey, you can cultivate mindfulness, creativity, and a deeper connection to the present moment with each thread you weave.

Mindful Weaving Exercise

Photographer: Robert Linder | Source: Unsplash
Photographer: Robert Linder | Source: Unsplash

If you want to try mindful weaving and are still trying to figure out how to do it, here is a simple exercise that might help.

  1. Take a seat at your loom, ensuring that you will be distraction-free for at least the next 15 minutes. Ensure you have all the materials you need.
  2. As you sit close your eyes and feel your feet on the floor, notice where your body touches the chair, your hands in your lap.
  3. Take a deep breath and breathe out, dropping your shoulders to their natural position and releasing any tension from your body. If you feel you need to, you can repeat this process; it's especially helpful if you've been carrying a lot of stress.
  4. Continue breathing slowly and rhythmically.
  5. When you are ready, open your eyes, pick up your shuttle or yarn, and focus on its feeling between your fingers; if it helps, you can close your eyes for a minute while doing this.
  6. Before you begin to weave, take the time to look at your yarn and your weaving. Look closely, imagining that you have never seen your work before. Let your eyes explore every part without judgment, taking in the colours and textures.
  7. If you hear the voice of judgement chiming in, acknowledge the thought and let it be. This is a non-judgement space, where thoughts are neither right nor wrong; they are just thoughts, and we don't need to dwell on them.
  8. When you are ready, begin weaving, taking note of the actions of your hands, the textures of the yarn and the wood of your loom.
  9. Remember to continue to breathe deeply and slowly as you work; there is nowhere else you have to be at this moment, just here with your loom and your work.
  10. If your mind starts wandering, as it often will do, gently bring it back to your weaving; there is no judgment.
  11. Do a body scan and check in with your body from your head to your toes; no judgment, just awareness. Is your body feeling comfortable as you weave?
  12. Continue weaving with purpose and intent for as long as it feels comfortable.

To begin with, you may only be able to do this for a short period, but that's okay; it is a practice, and over time, you will find it easier to do.

Journaling as a Mindfulness Practice

If you are keen and enjoy self-reflection, you can also add an element of journalling to your mindfulness practice.

  • Get yourself an excellent book and pen; when you have finished your mindfulness session, take a moment to reflect on what you experienced:
  • How did it feel to weave mindfully?
  • What did you notice was different, if anything?
  • How do you feel now?
  • Did you notice anything else important?

We give special thanks to Sandie O'Neill, clinical hypnotherapist and mindfulness teacher, for her contributions to this article. Visit her website at

If you find yourself experiencing upsetting or intrusive thoughts, please reach out to one of these organisations or another local to you:

A Therapeutic Journey of Self-Discovery through Weaving

Weaving for mindfulness is more than just an artistic pursuit; it is a therapeutic practice that nurtures the mind, body, and soul. As individuals engage in the rhythmic motions of the loom, they find respite from the demands of daily life and embark on a journey towards greater self-awareness and well-being. The therapeutic benefits of fibre arts, particularly weaving, offer a timeless and accessible path to mindfulness in our fast-paced world.

So, pick up those fibres, thread the loom, and let the art of weaving guide you to a place of tranquillity and self-discovery.

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