Being: Conscious, mortal existence; life.
Every month we welcome two families, two people, two voices to share their stories in whatever way they chose. We hope that you find joy in their daily lives, and their simple habit of just being.
“Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn’t hurt the untroubled spirit either.”
~ Elizabeth Zimmermann
I taught myself to knit over the course of several evenings while pregnant with my third child. I’d knit a few rows, notice a wonky stitch or dropped stitch, give in to my perfectionist tendencies and rip it out, start again. Every time I ripped it out, I cast on again, more determined to get it right this time. After that first week, my stitches were neat, my gauge consistent, and I looked forward to filling the quiet of my evenings with knitting.
Still a relatively new knitter, I remember sitting there one evening, nursing my babe, needles in hand, and I found myself thinking about my great aunt. She crocheted and her hands were busy, always looping yarn, hook flashing. I realized I had become like her, how hard it was now to just sit there, hands empty, fingers fidgeting. Knitting became what I did in my spare moments and in my stolen moments. Knitting was an excuse to get together with friends, as well as a way to pass countless hours spent at the park watching my kids play. Over the years, knitting has helped me process my thoughts and calm inner storms.
I have taught women to knit, asking nothing of them but that they pass it on, either teaching others to knit or bestowing the gift of hand knitting to others. One of my highest points as both a knitter and mama, was the day my eldest child asked if I could teach her to knit. I wanted this to be special for her so we bought her her own knitting needles and she spent a long time deciding on a yarn color. I cast on for her and began to show her the knit stitch reciting:
Down through the bunny hole,
Around the big tree,
Out pops the bunny,
And off goes she!
Stitches were made, labored over. She came to me frequently those first afternoons because she had too many stitches or too few stitches or a hole (or three). Each time I’d get her set up again, once again show her the knit stitch, and she’d take her knitting from my hands, sit with a look of determination and knit, knit, knit. After she had mastered the knit stitch, I taught her to purl. Then a basic rib, knit two, purl two. My girl has gone on to teach her friend to knit and now that her younger sister has begun knitting, she helps her, too. As I was cooking dinner the other night, I looked over to see the youngest struggling with her tangled knitting. I told her I’d be happy to spend time with her after dinner getting her knitting sorted out but minutes later her big sister came, sat down beside her, and showed her the knit stitch again. Like me, she is a sometimes patient teacher, a sometimes impatient teacher and like me, I find that in taking up wool and needles, her spirit settles making way for patience.
I love that each time I pick up my needles, I’m creating something useful, and I’m carrying on a tradition. I’ve become part of a circle of women that extends back through history, women that have handed down this skill from generation to generation, knitting items to keep loved ones warm, to welcome new babies, to wrap the sick in the prayers and whispered hopes they knit into each stitch.
This month we are so very pleased to be welcoming Amanda as a contributor to the Being series. Amanda is a homeschooling mother of five who lives in the deep south and writes with wit, humor and honesty on her blog, The Habit of Being. We hope that you will stop by each Thursday to share in Amanda’s reflections.
Rhythm of the Home is an online magazine for families that focuses on creating with children, nature explorations, seasonal celebrations, conscious parenting, and mindfulness in all that we do. To learn more about us, please visit us on Facebook,Pinterest, and Twitter.
We welcome new submissions for our upcoming seasons. To learn more about submitting, please visit our magazine.