I usually follow a pattern when I knit, and I like to use the exact yarn and color that the designer uses. A number of years ago, I was looking at a sample garment (Carrick designed by Martin Storey) in a yarn store in Chicago. It was made from a Rowen soft knit cotton in a robin eggshell blue. The yarn store didn’t have enough of the blue yarn, so the owner brought out a bag of the colorway sunset red. I couldn’t picture the sweater in red and I hesitated. I explained to the owner that I usually bought the same color as the pattern. She looked surprised and then thoughtful. She told me I should give myself permission to branch out. Make the pattern your own she suggested, and you can start by choosing a color you like. I bought the sunset red.
We are all creators. A pattern or a template is just the beginning. We get to decide if we want to alter the length of the sleeves, add some waist shaping, change the collar, or add mohair to the mix. For pattern followers like myself, Ravelry has been life changing. I have the benefit of seeing what other knitters have done with a pattern. I get to read their notes, find out some of the challenges, see all the substitute yarns, and enjoy multiple pictures of the same sweater knit in a variety of ways. I can choose to join them and add my own spin on a design.
Community is important and I have found the knitting community to be incredibly supportive. If someone posts a question about a pattern, the knitters are on it. There will be multiple suggestions including YouTube links. Even as we sit alone in our house knitting, we are not alone, there are other knitters out there willing to help.
As we knit through Lent, it helps to know we are not alone in our efforts to deepen our relationship with God. We have each other. What the past year has taught us is that we have to be creative with how we create community. We may not be able to gather in physical groups, but we can use technology to transcend space and time and be in community with people who live in different time zones or even different countries. As we start our contemplative knitting each day, we can give thanks that we are not on this journey alone. Picture all the knitters picking up their sacred knitting and settling in to spend time with God. If our practice becomes difficult, we can offer each other encouragement. We can share pictures of our sacred knitting projects. We can reflect on our experiences. Most importantly, we can remind each other that God is on this journey with us. God is as close to us as our very breath. As we continue this Lenten practice, we do it with intention (we are knitting in the presence of God) and we give it our attention (we use our word to bring us back to our intention) knowing we may be knitting by ourselves but we are not alone.