Today my group arrived at the Hindman Settlement School and spent a lot of time in the cottage where we are staying. In the midst of out chatting an impromptu knitting circle has sprung up. We spent hours today in the cottage. A couple girls are learning to knit, some of us are working in projects and others have been watching or reading as we chat.
I have been thinking about how knitting is about connection for me. There's the visual and tactile reality of twisting yarn into something beautiful and functional, but there's also the fact that as I knit this scarf for my cousin I am thinking about her and all of the things we are talking about doing together.
The practice of knitting is also very social though. Newer knitters need the help of more experienced hands and in the meantime conversation happens. This afternoon we shared knowledge about knitting but we also shared stories, wisdom and hopes for our future lives in ministry.
More than that I also feel connected to the greater tradition of women who create and nurture and provide for others. It reminds me that although this is a hobby to me, people throughout history and in the world today work hard with their hands to provide things they cannot buy. Knitting reminds me too that many hands have been involved in the creation of everything I wear.
Yarn is addictive. What starts with K1P1 often leads to spinning one's own wool into yarn. Step by step I am being led into a closer connection with the process that starts with sheep grazing in a field and ends with garments that we wear.
It strikes me as so appropriate that we have formed a knitting circle on this trip. Knitting illustrates things we are here to witness - community, labor, working to provide, natural resources, crafts that are beautiful and functional. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that we are going to learn a lot about Appalachian crafts - I can't wait to learn more about how this bundle of connections is lived out in Appalachian art.