The next Cork Federation meeting is hosted by Dunderrow ICA Guild on Sunday, November 25 at 2.30pm in Dunderrow National School Hall. The competition for the meeting is a Christmas card in any medium. Please phone Maria Buckley South/east Cork vice-president before meeting date, as the host guild must know how many they can expect to cater for. Meanwhile, the mid-cork table quiz is in Blarney GAA Hall at 8pm on Tuesday, November 20. The Knitting & Stitching Show returns to the RDS this weekend for its 25th year and has announced mindfulness as this year’s theme, partnering with psychotherapist Róisín Whelan. Incidentally, Dublin-based Róisín’s aunt, Breda Raggett, was the first national ICA president of the new millennium, filling the role from 2000 to 2003 and flying the flag for Kilkenny Federation. Because of her aunt’s influence, Róisín is very aware of how much crafting means to ICA guilds. She’s also keen to promote the benefits of crafting for mental health, saying people can often find mindfulness difficult to do, whereas sitting with a piece of craft can help get them in the zone. “Mindfulness involves sitting and focusing on your breath. That can be difficult, especially if you’re going through an anxious time. Sometimes focusing on your body could have a negative effect, especially if you’re dealing with racing thoughts. “Crafting takes your mind off this because you’re focusing on something else — whether you’re knitting or stitching, a repetitive action like needlework puts you into a relaxed state. It has the same effect as you’d have after a yoga class or mindfulness session. A lot of research shows crafting helps you get into your flow, where you’re totally connected and absorbed in something you really enjoy.” With our lives increasingly busy — we feel we’re always on the go and it’s difficult to say no — Róisín says crafting is a great way to give ourselves permission to sit and be. “And there’s a sense of achievement because we’re doing something. We often can’t control stress in the workplace or in our families, but creating something that’s ours really gives us a sense of control.” Adding that craft forces us to slow down and be in the moment, she says it’s also good for social connection. “There are craft groups countrywide and it doesn’t have to be face-toface — you have groups on Facebook and Instagram. And doing craft with children teaches them the art of being patient, that with hard work you can create and children realise it’s good to sit and not always be on.”
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Róisín Whelan, who is promoting mindfulness of crafting at this year’s Knitting & Stitching Show.