Knitting is Magic.
My house is filled with yarn. I’ve been deep in the throes of a love affair with wool and knitting for years now. My wife can tell you about the “joys” of finding bits of wool everywhere (ask her about the yarn in the freezer). I’ve always felt the urge to be creative, when I was a kid I wrote illustrated stories about talking cats, I made entire tea sets out of Fimo, I made dream catchers at summer camp, and I’m sure there are tons more things I can’t even remember. I was moderately proficient in my youthful crafting adventures, but I’d never really excelled in any of them.
And then came knitting.
Knitting everything from hats to toys to mittens to shawls has brought me so much joy and fulfilment that, as sappy as it sounds, I want to share knitting with the world! I do that mostly by giving gifts of knitted things to keep my loved ones warm and entertained. As much as I love giving knitted gifts, for me, the very best thing in the world is when I can share the gift of knitting by teaching it to someone else.
I am literally giddy with happiness when a friend comes up tentatively and says that they’ve always wanted to learn, but either they’d never had anyone to show them or they’d tried and failed. A lot of times I can’t stop myself from wrapping them in a giant hug and running arm in arm to the nearest shop (or my own stash!) where I can put needles and yarn into their hands. Honestly, I’ve jumped up and down with excitement and squealed at the prospect of teaching friends and family how to knit.
I had never really even considered that knitting could be a spiritual practice until some dear friends told me that what I was doing was magic. It was ritual, it was spiritual, and it was beautiful. I’d never particularly believed that I was a spiritual being. I sometimes still have a hard time believing that anything I could do could be magical or spiritual. When I was invited to a magical spiritual gathering with people who would become like family, even though I didn’t know it before that weekend, I believed that I was going along with my wife, who was much more spiritual and in tune than I was (so I thought), sort of along for the experience, not as an integral part of it.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. This beautiful, transformative gathering of women helped me to see that the things I do, the things I have to share, were worthy, special, and deeply spiritual. Something as simple as knitting! The more I think about it now, the more obvious it is. The act of creation, transforming raw materials into a something useful or beautiful is always deeply rooted in the magical. What I didn’t understand was that there’s a piece of the person creating that goes into that finished object as well. What makes this important is that when we are creating, whether we’re drawing a mandala, cooking a meal, or knitting a shawl, we put ourselves into our creations. And more than just adding a personal touch, we add intention, and energy to the piece.
When a knitters give you something we’ve made, it’s so much more than a thing. In that pair or mittens or that hat there is so much more. We’re thinking of you as we make the loops, weaving intention and love into every knit, breathing life into each purl, taking time, countless hours of creative energy all funnelling down into that gift. It might not always have complicated ritual words or incense burned, but it’s the best kind of spellwork that I know how to do. It’s the strongest magic that I can make.
Sitting with someone, guiding their hands, showing them how to wrap yarn over needle again and again to create something from sticks and string, is a beautiful experience. I’ve used knitting as meditation to get through some very difficult times in my own life and it’s the first thing I reach for when I want to tell someone I love them or when I want to comfort someone who is hurting.
For me, it’s an affirmation. I make things! They might look like scarves and mittens and hats to most other people, but they’re really protective charms, enchanted gauntlets, and magical helms. I just didn’t realize what I was doing. I understand now, even if I do still wrestle with ideas of my own worthiness in all things spiritual, that there is magic in those stitches.