Updated: Nov 24, 2021
In the month of October, several knitting and crocheting projects graced the Church Office. Beautiful projects that some volunteers took on just to let others know that they matter, and that they are thought of and remembered. What a blessing to receive these "gifts made from the hands and the heart".
(Photo 1) Crocheted Lap Blankets - these are distributed by our Pastoral Care Coordinator, Gabriella Cutler, as needs arise. Usually given to those who need some extra comfort in a challenging time.
(Photo 2) Knitted and Crocheted Red Scarves - these are collected by Sue Preston, a member of the Mission & Outreach Committee, and turned over to the local AIDS Committee of the Chatham-Kent area to help raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.
(Photo 3) One sample of a hat and mitt set knit for children in need as we approach this winter season - these will be distributed by our Pastoral Care Coordinator, to those in need (ages 4 to 14) from the church and surrounding community.
THE SPIRITUALITY OF KNITTING (or crocheting)
Here's a question for theological debate: Was God a knitter??
In Psalm 139:13, the psalmist writes in this song of praise: "For it was you who formed by inward parts; you knit me together in my mother's womb. For I am wonderfully and fearfully made."
Elsewhere we find in the Hebrew Scriptures, Job, too, declares to God: "You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews." (Job 10: 11)
So yes, God, who we understand as a Creator - who takes delight in the creative process, can also be seen as a knitter - taking pieces and parts which are separate and somehow connecting them - making intricate patterns and creating something new and beautiful.
KNITTING AS SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
Knitting, like music (which St. Andrew's knows alot about) includes rhythm, repetition and contrast, patterns and harmony. It requires focus and attention. Like counting beads on a rosary, or other prayer beads, it involves deliberate focus and intention.
For many, the practice of knitting (or crocheting), can be very contemplative - almost like an individual meditation. By simply creating a quiet state of being, the knitter may open in awareness to thoughts, feelings and experiences. This in turn, may lead to a calmness and centeredness that spills into other areas of their lives.
As all knitters know, mistakes happen! Stitches can be dropped...the tension can become too tight or too loose...patterns can easily get mixed up or yarn gets strangely twisted.
Knitters often have to pause and reconsider, then un-do some of their work, going back to start again. What I'm trying to say is that knitting can be very humbling! But it can also lead to greater empathy and forgiveness. Knitters don't dwell on their mistakes, but do what is required to move forward again in the right direction by making the necessary amends. This is good advice for all of us, knitter and non-knitter!
Knitting slows down time - it is all about delayed gratification. It takes discipline and concentration, yet there is visible growth each time one picks up their needles. There is great satisfaction in creating something new, and even something holy about participating in the creative process.
Knitting can help people develop patience, compassion and mindfulness - all healthy characteristics of the spiritual life. For many, the combination of handi-craft and contemplation is an awakening, to the ancient concept of the sacred at work through our own hands.