Every Monday morning, from 10 til noon, you will find me at the Public Library in the Carnagie Room. This is where a very diverse and eclectic group of women meet to knit. We bring our yarns and our various styles of needles, and we knit for two or three hours. We knit and we talk and we share and we learn. We bounce ideas off one another. We rejoice about Life, and we complain about it. We laugh uncontrollably and we listen with great intensity.
To the Outside World, we appear to simply knit and create garments out of various wools and silks and cottons and acrylics. We do nothing out of the ordinary, and certainly not anything that would qualify as even important. At least not in this world where Nothing is handmade and Everything is much cheaper readymade.
But we all know that there is lots more to this weekly gathering than just twisting yarns around a smooth shank of bamboo or a slick piece of aluminum. We know that, while we knit, we are also building. Building friendships and binding ourselves together with the thick mastic of love and concern and the healing balm of listening.
I knit with my Collie Wool (see the blog in Sept, 2008). Another friend knits only lace with spiderweb sized silk. Another only knits fuzzy, hairy acrylics. Yet another friend knits garter stitch scarves for everyone in her family. There is one lady whose husband spun her yarn from their wooly spring lambs. One lady knits torn-up strips from bandanas. We have all found what makes our hearts sing, and the click of the warm needles plays like a symphony in the Public Library.
Earlier this winter, one member of our group began work on a sweater from the wool of her Shetland Sheep. She had raised these sheep from tiny wooly lambs, and they have become not only her livestock, but also her pets and her dear companions. "Each one has a personality," she tells me. And, of course, she knows them all by name.
So the wool yarn that she is knitting is now becoming a sweater of the most intricate design. She stayed up late at night to conquer each segment, bringing each piece to knit group for our inspection. Finally, one day this month, she entered the room wearing one of the most beautiful sweaters any of us have ever beheld.
The completed project was a garden of tiny twisted cables at the wrists and ribbing up the frontspieces. Her finishing touches were beautiful shell buttons that slipped easily into her created buttonholes on the opposite side.
Of course the whole knitting group offered up their compliments and their praise (for that is what we do best, these women who knit), and their hands touched and caressed each part of the sweater in great appreciation of her accomplishment. My friend's smile was bigger than I had ever seen her smile before. She was pleased that we were so complimentary and appreciative.
However, as I watched her, modeling and smiling, I came to realize that she was savoring even more inside her heart than she could ever reveal to the rest of us. Her expression was almost holy when she wore this garment. It was like she knew Something Very Important and had experienced something that mere words could never express.
Her smile deepened, and she began to explain to me what she could regarding these sheep, this wool, this knitting. This has been a dream of hers for years, she told me.....To be able to raise her own sheep, shear them, send the fleeces to the spinner, and knit the entire sweater before the weather got too warm to wear it.
So....what we were looking at that day in the Public Library, was actually a very REAL Dream Come True. A Desire of the Heart come into being as something that we could actually touch and see!
What a wonderful Gift she gave us, letting us live out this part of her life, allowing us to share in the joy and the fascination of a Dream becoming a Reality. I felt truly honored to be a part of this moment. There is a connection between us now that is unique and timeless----a bit of "knowing" that we did not have before.....We are no longer ordinary.