Long straight needles in each hand, yarn looped through my left. Small movements of both hands cause the simplest effect: pulling the yarn through a loop. These contortions of hands, fingers, needles, yarn feel very natural. I’ve been doing them since childhood. I watched my Grandmother crotchet year after year, project after project up to her death just a few years ago.
My love of knitting expresses a couple of core beliefs. I believe that working with my hands, creating something useful and perhaps beautiful from raw materials, gives something back to the world. Creating rather than destroying. Building up rather than using up. Whether I’m knitting a sweater, setting a tile counter, laying in hardwood floors or refinishing a worn out dresser I’m giving something back to Creation.
Doing it myself instills in me the knowledge that it takes an incredible amount energy and time to make something of value. It’s a struggle in our consumer-driven, machine-made, throw away society. I have access to an overwhelming number of goods and service, many of them so darn cheap that’s it’s much easier to just spend the money and acquire things instantly. Choosing to make it myself, knowing it may cost more and take months longer seems like a nonsensical choice but one I find myself making again and again because it’s very satisfying. The act feeds my soul in a way no mere shopping expedition can.
Whether it’s remodeling the kitchen or knitting a new sweater for my daughter I delight in the planning of the project. Putting pencil to paper, measuring, calculating, choosing materials and laying out the steps required to make the finished product I envision. It’s one thing to follow a pattern created by someone else but half the fun is in working out the design for myself. The challenge is developing the skill to execute that design. This is one reason I enjoy knitting so much. As a knitter, I’m a “ripper-outer”. I know that if my skills don’t quite measure up I can rip the whole darn sweater out and try again with a different technique or modified design. I’m a relatively new knitter but with God’s grace I have many years ahead in which to build my skills and pass on the love of hand work to my daughter.
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