Thursday, June 11, 2009

Why "empty" knits?

I think the best way to begin this blog would be to tell how it got its name, thus answering the question I'm frequently asked: why did you choose the name EmptyKnits?

This question is in response to my starting an online store, I'm a knitting fanatic - and have been since I taught myself the art a year and a half ago - and I also crochet, sew, embroider, quilt, and weave tapestry. I channel my love for textiles through making things for friends and family, making things for sale, and knitting for my two favorite charities (both of which I highly recommend knitters/crocheters and non-knitters/crocheters check out): Mother Bear Project ( and Afghans for Afghans (

I am also a practicing Buddhist, primarily in the Tibetan tradition. (I say "primarily" because I don't yet have a teacher, which is essential to Vajrayana.) One of the fundamental ideas in Buddhism is that of "emptiness," which Thich Nhat Hanh explains beautifully and concisely:

"Because form is emptiness, form is possible. In form we find everything else - feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness. 'Emptiness' means empty of a separate self. It is full of everything, full of life... To be empty does not mean nonexistent... Emptiness is the ground of everything. Thanks to emptiness, everything is possible" (Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of Understanding: Commentaries on the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra. Berkeley, Cal.: Parallax Press, 1988, pp. 16-17).

When I knit, I am made aware of emptiness, of interbeing. Knitting is a way of expressing love, both for people I know and people I don't know. Knitting a teddy bear for a child in Africa or a pair of socks for a baby in Afghanistan makes me feel closer to them than does anything else in the world; through it, I can express my love for them as fellow beings. For me, it's a palpable reminder of how we as sentient beings inter-are.

So, at the risk of being labeled a Dharma-burger by The Worst Horse (actually, I'd be rather flattered if they did!), my shop name - and now my blog name - became EmptyKnits.

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