Monday, March 14, 2011

Stitch By Stitch

My friend taught me how to knit a few months ago and since then I've been knitting in the evenings while my kids fall asleep. The work is repetitive, soothing and gives me lots of time for reflection. My mind wanders but mostly I've been thinking about my ancestors and how performing repetitive daily tasks, like knitting, must have taught them important life lessons. Lessons that in our world of high speed, fast food, and instant messages we seem to have forgotten.

For example, the other day I bought a scarf at the thrift store and pulled it apart for the yarn. Unraveling the scarf only took me about a half hour and it was really fun to see it come apart.

As I pulled it apart I couldn't help reflect on the person who had created it . How long did it take them to make all those stitches? How many times did they mess up and have to start over? Did they have a loved one in mind while they were making it? How would they feel if they saw me pulling apart what must have taken them hours and hours to make in only 30 minutes?

Then I reflected on the little leg warmers that I just knitted for my daughter. They took me at least 12 hours (I'm still a slow knitter) to make. When they were done I had such a feeling of satisfaction and joy, which was in stark contrast to the "fun" I'd had in pulling apart the scarf.

That got me thinking about how creation takes work, repetition, and patience while destruction is easy and quick. The fruits of creation are success, joy, and a long lasting product while the fruits of destruction are... well they aren't any... unless you count"fun". It seems like in our modern world so much of the focus in on doing things faster and easier so that we either don't have to do the hard work required or so we can get the "work" out of the way in order to "play." Don't get me wrong, I love to play as much as anyone, but I can't help but think that our ancestors must have seen the world much differently. They knew that, like knitting, creation is done one stitch at a time over and over again, until one day you have something beautiful and warm. You can't cut corners and you can't rush it. It requires daily work and repetition.

Applying this principle in my life has changed my perspective. I see that creating the person I want to be will take repetition and work-- daily prayer, daily scripture study, daily repentance and daily improvements.

Creating the family and home I want will take repetition and work-- daily family prayer, daily family scripture study, daily cleaning and organizing, daily loving kindness, and daily corrections.

Creating the community I want to live in will take repetition and work-- daily interactions with neighbors and friends, daily honoring my word and fulfilling my responsibilities, and daily living my life in the way I would like to see other live.

I know it isn't always easy to see the pattern, and sometimes I miss stitches and put holes in my fabric, but stitch by stitch I am creating the fabric of my life, my family, and my community. I hope when I am finished it will be something I'm proud to pass onto my posterity.


  1. Oh, I love this one. Those leg warmers look fantastic. I really need to learn to do the same types of things!! Thanks for the message. You are so right.

  2. Beautiful post, Heather. I think your words show that you really do take time for reflection. I need to do that more. And the leg warmers to look really good.

  3. Heather, I got your message about FHE -- email me with YOUR email at handsfullmom at gmail dot com and I'll see if I can write something up for you.

  4. Have you ever read 'Christy' by Catherine Marshall? This reminds me of my favorite part in the book -

    There's a man who's destructive and vengeful, and a woman is trying to calm him down and talk to him to prevent more violence. She makes the exact point you've made - she says anyone can be destructive, that it doesn't take anything special to destroy something, but it takes brains and character to create. I've always loved that thought.

    Happy knitting and creating!

  5. I love how you put this. I'm going to share it with my YW. Thanks!

  6. Oh, UK Yankee, Cristy is one of my all time favorite books! Thanks for reminding me about it!

  7. I love your post. I think this is why I love quilting soo much. It takes a lot of time but is worth it inthe end. Your post reminds me of the conference talk that said "it's one fhe, one prayer, one scripture study" that will lead us to our salvation. (I totally butchered that, but I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.