Posts tagged ‘theology’

Evolutions of my design philosophy

The running theme of the summer has been an attempt to keep up my knitting inspiration. There is nothing like the bite of fall air to make you deeply desire to start a new wool cardi, freshen up your personal sock stash, and cast on a cowl or two. But the problem wasn’t just the 90 degree weather. I think I did something else wrong this summer. I tried to knit summer things. I don’t like summer things… not nearly as much as the sweaters, socks, mittens, hats and cowls that are so wonderfully appreciated in the winter. I had the right idea last summer. When May came around, I cast on an alpaca pullover, not necessarily the most fun to have on your lap all summer. But when september rolled around. I had a brand new sweater, that I wore all year, and just pulled out yesterday, when the high was 64 degrees. I think I even made a pair or two of socks. This year, being the first year I officially launched Elegant Economy as an independent design business, I spent far too much time trying to design items *other* people would like to knit during the summer.

The phrase “be true to yourself” makes me look for the nearest garbage pail to puke in. No one comes “out of the box” perfect. We all have a lot of unpleasant characteristics that we spend most of our lives trying to overcome. If I stayed true to myself, for example, I would never let my dear friends get a word in edgewise, while I chattered their ear off. I would show complete disregard and disrespect for any of their thoughts and opinions, while arrogantly airing my own. So in this sense, I never want to be true to myself. I want to always be looking outside myself, striving for a standard higher than what is most natural to me.

However, I do believe each person is created with unique temperaments, desires, likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, and skill sets. And I think trying to conform yourself to a mold you were never designed to fit into really is a recipe for disaster.

In my first design release in April I quickly started getting data back on what people did an didn’t like about my work, based mostly on sales. What I found fascinating, is that there were two patterns that in my mind, were very forced, and two that practically designed themselves, garments that I wanted for my personal wardrobe, and didn’t just throw together hoping to make a few dollars. Apparently everyone else knew which ones they were too. The two  that came the easiest and were the most fun to work on were by far the best sellers of the whole collection. People are still favorite-ing them on Ravelry on a daily basis. I wish I had picked up on this right away. It would have saved me lots of grief over the summer working and reworking designs that I thought people would buy. Instead of designing the next project I wanted for my own personal gratification. So in that sense, I do need to stay true to myself. Excuse me while I go find a trash can. 🙂

So the wonderful bite in the cool fall air has arrested my attention. It’s time to design all the projects I wish I could be wearing right this minute. Back to the drawing board.

P.S. So far I’m still on track to release my next pattern within the next couple weeks. Keep checking back!!


October 3, 2011 at 12:46 pm Leave a comment

The Chief End of a Knitter

The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism is this:

Q. What is the Chief End of Man?

Any guesses on what the technical and theologically sound answer is?

A. To glorify God and enjoy him forever.

As surprised as I was when I first heard that? The first part makes sense. He is God, he should be honored. It’s the second part that blew my mind. Enjoy him forever? My eternal purpose in life includes enjoyment? shocking.

So this next question should be asked of all we do with our life. How does ____ help me to glorify God and enjoy him forever?

As much as I adore my little knitting hobby. It’s always been a guilty pleasure in many ways. Something I could do well and enjoyed doing, but didn’t really have any eternal signifigance, other than keeping me relaxed and sane. I was discussing the seeming insignifigance of my hobby with Chuck when he posed the question I just asked. “How does knitting enable you to glorify God and enjoy him forever?”

It was a bit awkward at first, but then I got going, and I began rattle on and on about all the things I know and love about God because I knit, about the reasons that knitting fulfills the creation mandate to rule and subdue the earth he made for us. I couldn’t believe how much material I had. I immediately reviewed what I said and reallized that my answer had four major points.

1. God gave us creation to steward, to rule and subdue it. As knitters, we spend a lot of time learning about the fibers we knit with. What animals they come from, what makes one fiber different from another, why we knit with cotton in the summer and wool in the winter. If we’re really into the fiber thing, we start spinning that fiber ourselves, and dream of the perfect world in which we could have merino sheep and alpacas of our own. This is ruling and subduing, we are putting the creation God has given us to good use. We are ruling over the livestock and the plants of the field. Our fulfillment of this mandate brings him glory.

2. As image-bearers of God we participate in his creating and designing nature. God is the Creator, we have been created like him in many ways, one of which being our ability to produced creative and beautiful things. We don’t have the power to speak intricately designed flowers into existance, but we can paint them, or follow an intricate knitting pattern to make a felted one to put on a purse or sweater. Humans have the ability to bring something into being. As knitters we do this all the time. We bring socks, sweaters, hats, mittens, blankets, and booties into being that didn’t exist before. Participating with God in his ability to create, makes him more wonderful to me. He morphs from the God who just sits on some celestial throne directing the course of life and history, to the God who thought up roses, who perfectly posistioned every petal for optimal beauty. As my brain starts going nuts thinking about a new sweater I want to make, and what color to use, and what size, and what style, and how much ease to use, I remember God the creator, and enjoy him more.

3. As image-bearers of God, we participate in his delight over creation. A subtle but real distinction of my prior point is that we don’t just participate in our creating activities, we participate with him in delighting in the process of creation and in what we create. We’ve all heard the difference between a process and a product knitter. Some knit for the fun of knitting, others because they really want that pair of handmade socks for the freezing weather. God is both. At the end of every day of creation, God looked at what he had done and said it was good. He delighted in creation through the whole process. When he was done on the sixth day, he looked at all he had made and said it was “very good”. He enjoyed the final product of what he had made. When I work on a sweater, I get to experience that same delight that God felt while creating the world, and what he still feels as he creates me to be more and more like him as I walk with him. As I take delight in every stage finished in a project, he takes great delight in watching me grow from being angry and controlling, to being patient and trusting. As I knit I get to enjoy the delight that God takes in me.

4. Knitting enables me to invest thought and time into my relationships. As a woman who knits, I get a special bonus. Men were created from the ground for the ground. Women were created from a person for a person. We are highly relational, because God created us to be so. We all know that hours of time go into even the simplest of socks or mittens. We spend a lot of time thinking about and investing in the person that item is intended for. In Proverbs 31 God describes a praise-worthy women as one who cares for her husband and family in many ways, physical and emotional. Knitting enables us to do both. As I spend all those hours on that shawl that my sister is going to cuddle up in to read during the winter months, I’m able to invest my prayers and thoughts into her. I pray I’m able to do this for my children someday. How many hours will knitting give me to pray for my children, that they grow up to love the Lord? This brings God much glory.

These reasons are real, and they are biblical. Knitting isn’t a waste of time. It’s one of my individual ways of fulfilling my chief end in life, to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

August 26, 2010 at 9:28 am 2 comments

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