journey of mind

Every Wednesday since January we’ve been taking a journey to My Place: traveling to different locations that are full of distinctive meaning for knitters around the world. Today’s place is just as meaningful and distinctive, and yet it is not physical or spatial. Rather, it is an experiential and conceptual place that’s well known to us all. It’s a place in which we can often find solace and refuge, but from which we sometimes wish we might escape: it is the place of our own mind. This place holds particular meaning for Diana Niedobova because of her own personal experience of depression and its management: an experience out of which she’s created today’s design, Journey of Mind. I am very grateful to Diana for contributing her beautiful pattern to the My Place project and humbled by her open and generous sharing of her creative response to Her Place.

My name is Diana and I created today’s pattern, which is called Journey of Mind. It is my first proper published pattern – which is, for me, a big step outside of the safe world of knitting for friends and family and producing free and informal instructions. And at the same time, this step is also a very personal one.

Having grown up in former Czechoslovakia, closed behind guarded borders in a country literally surrounded by barbed wire, I never dreamt I could ever travel freely. The events of 1989 changed all this, and from that moment I spent all the money I could save as a student to move beyond my boundaries, to travel, and to see the world. I studied abroad and eventually ended up settling abroad too. Choosing just one My Place would have probably been rather difficult back then as I would have found myself torn between tropical jungles or the familiar cobbled streets of my old home town, Prague.

Journey of Mind

Then, several years ago everything changed. In spite of having a reasonably successful career, home and family, one day I simply could not get out of bed. I suddenly found myself at the point where even brushing my teeth felt like a task I had no energy for and taking another breath felt pointless. A diagnosis of depression followed and my life has been a battle ever since. Since experiencing depression, my view of the world has changed utterly, and with it my perception of what the very idea of My Place means to me. Life has taught me that My Place is not the physical location in which I find myself but my current state of mind that determines whether or not I enjoy being somewhere. So My Place is my mind:  it’s there where all my rain and sunshine is hidden.

The shifting motifs of Journey of Mind

If our minds decide to put a dark filter on our vision, we can find ourselves unable to enjoy whatever beauty might surround us. We can dwell in the darkness while sitting on a sunlit beach. Similarly, under a bright filter, we might suddenly experience happiness simply by watching rays of sunshine playing a game of shadows on our own windowsill. In such a manner, we can travel from sad to happy places without ever moving beyond our doorsteps or leaving our homes.

an alternate colourway . . . .

The shifting motifs of my design suggest the journeys our minds often take from a dark to brighter places by gradually letting in more dots of light.  My pattern is also created as a moebius strip, whose continuous loop suggests the journey of the mind along an endless road that shifts between light and darkness.

worn as a loop.

This loop, this shifting road, is something many people will recognise, since everyone’s mind has this capacity. So although this design is based on my personal everyday experience, it has seemed to me that in the current times, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, more people than ever are finding themselves on this familiar mental swing. Nevertheless, no darkness lasts forever, and it is this message of hope I would like my pattern to represent for the knitting community. Let us find sunshine even when we cannot leave home: let us seek the light in our own secret place, our mind.

Two beautiful cowls

Thanks so much, Diana, for this great design, and for so generously sharing your place with us.

You can find the Journey of Mind pattern on Ravelry.