I am not a knitter. I admit to having a fascination with wool and yarn. The texture and colours appeal to my creative side. I can get lost in a yarn store; I love the different ways each store sorts their inventory. I’ve seen my designers’ colour wheel produced from solid colour yarns but also walls of random colours. This all pleases my sense of sight.
However, it is not only my eyes that experience the stores, my fingers are busy too. Sometimes I am pleased by something furry and other times I get goose bumps from a yarn I don’t like. There are yarns that are so soft they work perfectly next to a newborns skin but there are also yarns that are more fashionable than comfortable. The amazing part is you can’t always tell which is which by sight alone, you need to get your fingers in there.
For someone who doesn’t knit or crochet my fascination is kind of wasted. I have tried both with little success. Finding comfort in creating something out of yarn is on my bucket list…maybe when I retire. I often wonder if knitters feel the same wonder about their skill or do they take it for granted? Does knitting become routine and functional? I romanticize the process; the pleasure of finding a new pattern, the wonder of picking out the perfect yarn, and the joy of giving a gift or wearing something I’ve made myself.
Women of the church have been knitting as far back as I can remember. In the congregation I grew up we had our Christmas bazaar. There were always baby blankets, lap afghans, and toys. My best friend in high school knitted many of the sweaters for toddlers and younger children. There were dinosaur tails on the back of sweaters, little sailors sailing the seas, and ballerinas dancing. Church members even placed orders months in advance.
Knitting has also been a part of my work with the Women’s Missionary Society. Baby pneumonia vests were knitted and sent overseas when I started over 10 years ago. Today groups knit for newborn babies in many hospitals’ ICUS. Prayer shawls are also a popular item. They are share with others in the group’s congregations or with outreach ministries, some are sold as fundraisers for mission projects. During the Advent I have also heard of a few groups knitting for a hat and mitten tree, where the “decorations” get donated to homeless shelters and elementary schools.
If you do a Google search on knitting and bible study, you will find resources that make the connections between yarn/needle work and spirituality. Blogs, books and other resources use knitting as a solitary, meditative journey, helping the knitter focus on daily prayer. They also use the practice as a tool to bring women of faith together.
If you knit, next time take a moment to consider how you are knitted together with women in your church, women in your community and with women around the world. Use this skill and hobby to bring joy to other, to provide for other and to centre yourself in God’s love.