I come from a line of women who were able to create the most amazing things with their hands. My granny on my dads’ side was the best baker I have ever come across and no matter what I try my Christmas cake is nowhere near as good as hers. My granny on my mum’s side could crochet and knit the most beautiful cardigans and blankets – there isn’t a baby in our family who didn’t receive the most amazing bundle of handmade gifts when they were born. My mum and my sister are both brilliant sewers, the handmade quilts they have hanging in their houses, and mine too, because of their skills really are works of art. As for me, I try a little of everything!
Baking is something I do for fun. I tried sewing, mainly embroidery, and I did enjoy it, but I can’t do anything in a straight line which made using the sewing machine a challenge, so I laid that hobby to one side.
Then came crocheting. I used money both grannies gave me for Christmas to take crochet lessons a few years ago and I was hooked, pardon the pun, from day one. It was challenging, learning to read patterns, the terminology, and simply not getting the wool tangled but I persevered with it and now there is always a project on the go. Friends who have children get a few baby blankets, more get added to the collection to go to the neonatal unit in the hospital, and other presents get made. Sometimes the projects can be more complex and need lots of thought, other times it is muscle memory that goes from round to round, but all the time my mind is free to wander and think and often pray.
Sarah Bessy, a Canadian author, who also knits, describes creating things as ‘… bringing order out of chaos, beauty out of emptiness, something out of nothing, and so we’re glorifying Creator, we’re reflecting Creator, we’re testifying to Creator.’ When I first read that I thought wow – all the time I spend creating is actually glorifying God, taking the skills he gave me, the products that he helped to create and making them into something different is a way I can serve him, and others at the same time.
Creating anything takes time, patience, and work. Sometimes the end results are more than we expected, other times they are a disaster, and we have to go back to the drawing board, figure out where we went wrong and try again. There is a method to what we do, a comfort and familiarity which can be difficult to find in everyday life, especially at this time, but we can find examples of this in prayer, familiar services, and worship. By doing this we take time to build our relationship with the creator, to take comfort from Him, and learn from Him and others. For me crochet is an escape, but also a chance to rest with God.
If you get the chance spend some time creating with the creator!
Kirsty McCartney is the Diocesan Children’s Ministry Officer, Church of Ireland, Diocese of Derry and Raphoe