Knit together at Christmas

Okay.  I admit it.  I like to knit.  And so on Christmas Eve as I sat in the closet in the center of eight Christmas stockings with bags  of goodies on all sides it occurred  to me that scarves are in style at the moment and I just happened to have an entire bag full of scarves.  Out they came, a red scarf for Mrs Claus, a green scarf for Mr Claus, matching fleecy scarves for daughters, maroon and green with white stripes for sons, a black and white hat for another son.  The grandbaby was already well taken care of and a scarf might trip her up.

I don’t always do stockings anymore but even the grown up kids still like to see what little treasures await.  The stockings are the best part they tell me.  One after another the stockings were emptied and scarves were wrapped cavalierly around necks, a warm and welcome addition.

Before Christmas I was hoop knitting in front of the TV.  Liz watched me; she wanted to learn to knit.  I told her it was easy as pie.  I showed her what I was doing and left her with yarn and a hoop. Of course that wasn’t enough.  When I came back the yarn and hoop were set aside.  I thought back to when I first learned to knit.  I was living in Chile and I asked my sister Selma to teach me to knit.

I remember sitting in the sunshine in the small patio in front of the house.  Selma was right handed and I am left handed.  She sat in front of me and I watched as she knit a line.  Then I took the needles and tried to knit the next line.  She corrected the position of my hands, she showed me how to maintain the tension on the yarn, she showed me how to feed the yarn.  And she taught me to wrap a skein of yarn into a ball so that the ball would not be too tight or too loose, so the yarn wouldn’t be stretched and so that it would unroll easily.  There is more to all this than meets the eye.  And there is more than a two minute explanation can cover.

To this day when I roll a ball of yarn I think of Selma.  When I knit  a piece I particularly like, I think of Selma.  She does not know this.  But she is responsible for the Christmas scarves Santa left with the stockings this year.  That’s what comes from patience and a willingness to spend time, to correct, and to teach another.  You become a part of their work.

And if you’re lucky and not too impatient you will pass on the lessons of love and patience and willingness to share.

In the New Testament Paul wrote to the Colossians concerned “that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love,” that they might receive the “riches of a full abundance of understanding . . .”

It takes work to arrive at a full abundance of understanding.  It takes time together, shared experience, lessons learned and passed on to become a master knitter–the One who helps knit our hearts together in love.  But it comes one stitch at a time.

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About Karen Hopkins

Karen Hopkins (1949-) was born in Los Angeles and raised in Martinez, California. At seventeen she moved to Talcahuano, Chile. After completing her university degree she worked in London, England for Pan American Airlines and traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East, and India. For twenty-six years Karen taught Spanish and English as a Second Language in a variety of settings including a private school in Panama, the "most remote school in the United States"--Ticaboo, Utah, the Navajo Reservation, a teacher exchange in Hermosillo, Mexico, Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix, Arizona, and Cochise College in Nogales, Arizona. She and her husband travel extensively throughout Mexico and Central America, and have spent many summers in the remote highlands of Chiapas and Guatemala with their family. Karen currently lives in Southern Arizona, near the Mexican border.
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