The times I appreciated most growing up were spent with my family, building and creating. Though my family is fairly well-off, I found that the things that drew us together did not require as much money as they did time. Whether sewing up little birds for Christmas ornaments, knitting washcloths with my mom, baking treats for the household, or even building a cabin with salvaged materials, we were grafted together by the creative act. That’s why I came back to knitting when I had my own family. Most of what you can knit these days can be bought quickly and easily, so many question the logic behind knitting dishcloths and garments and other goods. The question seems to be, “who has the time?” As we all rush from one thing to the next in our quest to die with more toys than our neighbours, we’ve lost the joy of creating amidst all this consuming. So I’ll keep knitting my dishcloths, thank-you very much.
A while ago, in my quest to live out this create vs. consume ideal, I picked up the book “Weekend Knitting” by Melanie Falick. This was my first knitting book purchase, and in honesty I had no idea what to look for. While I did make sure I could understand the patterns (a potential obstacle I dodged frequently as a newbie knitter), it was one of those times when I did, in fact, judge a book by its cover image…and all the other pictures inside. Mainly I was drawn by this lovely, soft, ruched blanket (which I knit for my daughter shortly after).
Standing there in Chapters turning the pages of this book, it never occurred to me to question the logic behind spending a weekend knitting miniature sweaters to keep soft-boiled eggs warm, or flower-shaped washcloths for the guest bathroom. I never doubted what a lovely time it would be to actually make your own checkerboard before playing on it. As I flipped through the book, a picture grew in my mind of whipping up baby cardis, pullovers and finger puppets for the kids while they napped, then making Adrienne’s Hot Chocolate and Sophie’s Butter Cookies (yes, your weekend of knitting comes complete with treats) when they woke up.
I’d been dreaming of the kind of life for my family that celebrates time together and simple pleasures, with a heaping measure of creativity thrown in. This book, it seemed, would be a perfect fit.
By now you’re all expecting this book to let me down, aren’t you? Well, the good news is, it has not. The bad news is that somewhere along the way, I lost that little dream for my family, and haven’t done much to grow it since I bought this book. Sure, I’ve been knitting, attempting simplicity…but always on a deadline. I’ve made cookies once since I quit work (not at all while I worked), but more to keep my kids content while I busied myself with cleaning or with hyper-analyzing our finances for the umpteenth time. I’ve been a porcupine with my family, bristling with too many things that won’t matter when I’m dead. My house has been cleaner sometimes, and our finances are looking much better…but none of that matters when compared to the fact that my husband and kids need a wife and mother who will just be present in their lives to create a home brimming with God’s love.
Well, today I looked at this book, fallen over on its shelf, and I remembered. So, here I am, vowing that this is going to be a better year. I’m not deluded, thinking that motherhood is all about the cookies and hot chocolate. I don’t even imagine I’ll be getting much done on my knitting right now (ah, potty training time…more on that another day). But I will pursue this dream, because what my children’s generation needs is time spent with their parents discovering simple pleasures, the love of God, and a good home.