As a young and newly married woman, with a mother-in-law who knitted beautifully, I decided that I wanted to add this art form to my list of interests in art and crafts. I remember well the first, and until last year, my only attempt at knitting.
Thinking about that first knitting attempt, even after all these years, makes me laugh at my niavete! I selected a pattern for a sweater that was not a beginner’s project, typical to the way that I undertake new things. Then, I chose a fabulous buttery yellow mohair yarn, one that a beginner didn’t need to use! A few brief lessons, and I was deep into this sweater. I knitted the back first, then the right front side, the left front side, the sleeves, and finally the bias binding that was to be attached to the front opening. As I looked at all the finished pieces, I must admit my smugness. Indeed, they looked good.
The next step was to send them to the cleaners to be blocked. When the pieces were returned to me, I carefully put them together, certain that I would be wearing this new garment to dinner that evening. Once the pieces were a real sweater, I eagerly put it on, stood before the mirror, and admired my handwork. Well, that was until I turned to see what the back looked like. Need I say, it was not good!
As those of you who do needlework know, whether it is knitting, embroidery or needlepoint, beginners tend to work either too tightly or too loosely. The more one does those things, the better one gets, and the tension on the yarn or thread becomes more consistent. What had happened to my beautiful sweater? Since I had knitted the back first, the stitches were much more loose than the rest of it. As a result, the back was very floaty and wavy. Not the look was I after! Even after all that effort, the sweater was never worn, and eventually found it’s way to some other place. The experience was discouraging enough that I had no desire to take it all apart, unravel the back and reknit it!
The recent revival of knitting once again piqued my interest in knitting. This time, however, I started as a beginner should start, working on simple scarves. The first ones were of yarns that weren’t too hard to handle, though I quickly moved on to using novelty yarns and multiple yarns. The lesson here was that I needed to start simple, and stay simple until the tension on the yarn had adjusted to where I would automatically and normally work.
I made lots of scarves! The purpose was not only to add a bit of the latest fashion craze to the wardrobes of our daughter and daughter-in-law as well as a few for myself, but to establish my tension so that the stitches would be even and neat. After all the scarves were finished, and none of us needed another one(!), I decided that we needed a few simple hats, and so I was on to something new and different. I had to learn a few new things to make a rectangle into a hat. Now, I am knitting other things, and the learning process continues.
My first experience in knitting was that I plunged into something that I didn’t know about, and didn’t understand; the result was much less than desirable. This time around, I took the time to learn, to practice, and then move ahead when I was accomplished sufficiently to produce something of value.
Sometimes I think this is how I approach life. I just plunge in, not really knowing how best to accomplish my goal. I forge ahead, not really understanding the basics. I race along, not taking the time to acquire whatever it is that I need to succeed. And, what does it get me? A life that is sometimes lacking. A life that is sometimes unsatisfactory. A life that can be unfulfilled. And, much less than what God had planned for me.
So, I wonder, what do I need to do? Afterall, it is not my wish to continue along under the current modus operandi! This is not what I want. I remember that I have heard that if one does as one has always done, one gets what one has always gotten! I know that I want to end up with knitted items that are wearable, even pretty. And, so it is that I realize that I need to select simple projects, practice knitting and pearling until my stitches are neat and are the same size. Then, and only then, should I take on a more complicated project. Does life work that way, too?
As I muse about how knitting and life are similar, I think about my own spiritual journey. I know where I am, and I know where I want to go. What my ultimate goal is. I know that I cannot just put my foot out and blindly step forward. I must prepare myself for the journey. I need my desire for a relationship with Christ. I need trust, hope and faith in God. And, His lantern to light my path. God offers the gifts I need for my journey. It is only when these gifts are tucked into my heart and soul that I can begin the journey.
Being a sojourner on God’s road requires a lot from me. It’s not always smooth and easy travel. But, in the end, it is worth all the learning, practicing, and so to speak, knitting of all the elements together. On the road, one step leads to another, just as in knitting, one stitch leads to the next; and thus it goes until the finish. In the knitting of a sweater, I have something to keep me warm on chilly days. A garment that offers comfort. At the end of my journey, God will fulfill His promise. He will open His arms for a seeking sojourner. A comfort beyond measure!
Father God, your pattern and your stitches are always perfect. I pray for a willing heart to follow your design for me. Amen.