I have recently been unemployed. This has meant that I have had quite a lot of spare time. I have taken up several hobbies, including knitting (I was curious!). Surprisingly I have found knitting quite enjoyable, and have been learning and practicing new techniques that I’ve got from a book that I borrowed from the library (and yes I am feeling more like an old woman every day). As I have been sat knitting away I have been reminded of a verse from Psalm 139:
“For You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
This is an amazingly powerful image – the psalmist rejoicing in the fact that God was present and at work in his (and my!) development even as a foetus! But my experience of knitting has given me deeper insight in this verse. This is not just about God knowing what was going on and having a plan – though this is incredible in itself. The psalmist proclaims that YOU knit me together. God, THE LORD, I AM, Alpha and Omega, King of Kings… knitting me?
As I have sat knitting I have had to learn patience and commitment. Every stitch is painstakingly added, with three separate motions to create one new loop. There is a profound intimacy that builds with the work – the wool passes between your fingers many times as you knit: first as it comes off the ball, and then as you stitch it, then time and time and time again as the piece of work passes back and forth. The work is not complicated, but the repeated movements mean that after a while your hands, arms and shoulders ache. I will never look down on a hand-knitted gift again, even a small item is truly a labour of love!
My latest project has been to try and knit a bag for my wife. It is not a very big bag, but a quick calculation tells me that to make it I have had to form literally thousands of individual stitches – it has taken me several tens of hours. I know every inch of the knit-work (especially the one dropped stitch that I have desperately tried to fix!). I have just done a quick search to see if anyone has a sensible answer to the question ‘how many cells in a newborn baby’, and unfortunately the internet and mathematically sensible numbers have failed me: answers include ‘1 gazillion’ and ‘several trillion’. General consensus: lots. And it is my understanding (though it is only basic, and founded on hearsay more than science) that the human body is constantly regenerating itself and is completely replaced every seven years! That is quite a lot of knitting…