Christ­mas cards

Irish Examiner - Farming - - COUNTRY LIVING -

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.

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