I’d been thinking for a while about taking up knitting as a hobby, and then, while browsing an arts and crafts fairs, I came across a stall selling knitting wool. I asked the lady if she had any needles, and she said she didn’t have any with her at the stall, but that she had some in her shop in the town, and so I bought some wool and she very kindly gave me some beginners pattern books for free. I couldn’t find the shop the first time I looked for it, but providentially came across some knitting needles in a charity shop, and a lovely elderly lady (who was also looking round the shop) who was an accomplished knitter helped me to choose the right ones for a beginner and wished me the very best! I then went to stay with my best friend shortly afterwards, and she is another accomplished knitter, so she taught me to knit. Super! She also gave me a ball of wool which she thought would be good for me to begin with 🙂
I found knitting reeeeeeeeally hard to start with! I’ve said before on this blog that I’m dyspraxic. One of the things I struggle with as a dyspraxic is learning new practical skills – it always seems to take me longer and more effort than the ‘average person’. Dyspraxia means that I have trouble with co-ordination, memory, the speed I think at, and visual processing. So knitting was tricky, and my initial attempt to teach myself from videos was just impossible – I couldn’t figure out what they were doing with the wool! Even when my friend taught me, I kept forgetting what I’d just learned >.< , and she was very patient in showing me for the umpteenth time what to do and remedying my mistakes. By the time my stay with her had ended, I could knit. Yay!!
I’m glad I persevered in learning to knit, because overcoming things I find difficult as a dyspraxic is important in not letting my dyspraxic act as a stumbling block in my life and also gives me the confidence to try other new things and to persevere when I find something very difficult to start with. I’m also glad because I’m discovering what a wonderful hobby knitting is! Okay, it’s frustrating, I admit, when you make a mistake and have to unpick it But the pluses more than make up for that!
I’m a PhD student, so I spend all of my working day staring at books and a computer screen, reading and writing. Knitting is a wonderful break from this when I get some free time to relax, as it gives me something to do with my fingers that leaves my brain quiet space to digest things I’ve been learning, to reflect on what’s going on in my life, or to listen to a podcast or music. I’m quite fidgety, and struggle to focus on listening to a podcast without anything to do with my fingers, so it’s good to have a hobby that’s more productive than doodling while I listen 🙂
I decided to give the first fruits of my knitting to God. I felt that was especially appropriate as I took up knitting as a hobby partly because it would allow me to do something productive while listening to interesting podcasts about my faith. I spent much of my time while knitting my first piece listening to Ancient Faith podcasts and praying contemplative prayers (such as the Jesus Prayer) while sitting in the park or on the train or in waiting rooms. So the knitting in some ways felt like part of an act of prayer and worship anyway. And I couldn’t have done it without God’s grace. I definitely feel that the fact that it turned out looking nice was a small miracle, considering that I found knitting really hard when I started and practical things like this are not my forte!
What I made was a cover for my icon corner. I have a little shelf above my bed where I currently live, and I’d made a little icon corner there, but I felt that putting down a special cover would help mark it out better as a special space and help it to look more beautiful and more conducive to worship. I also got a candle and put flowers there (I used an empty container from one of those oil-scent-stick things – it was great to be able to recycle it in a useful way!), and have continued doing that since. It’s now a beautiful little space in my room that frequently draws my eyes to God and calls my mind to focus on serving Him with my life, and I now really look forward to lighting my candle each morning and evening and standing there in prayer time.
I know the little piece for my prayer corner has some holes from accidentally dropped stitches, and that it’s definitely not perfect, but I’m really happy with the way it has (miraculously!) turned out 🙂 And I’m so grateful that I’ve started knitting, and to the people who helped me to do that.