Anyone who knows me well knows that I love to knit.  I’ve been knitting since I was a teenager having learned at the hand of my Grandma Norman, inspired by my cousins Stephanie and Beth and mentored along by a woman at church.

One of the things that I love about knitting is that it all starts out the same: with a ball of yarn and a set of needles. From here, anything is possible.  Mittens. Scarves. Hats. Toys. Sweaters. Socks. The possibilities are endless.

To begin I choose my pattern, select my wool and needles and begin to cast on stitches.  And then, one by one, stitch by stitch, row on row a piece of knitted fabric starts to form. Something from nothing. Created by my own hands. Slowly, thoughtfully, with purpose.

The Bible, in Psalm 139:13 says For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I’ve been thinking about this verse a lot over the last few weeks.  That God knit me together, knit you together. And just as I carefully choose each pattern and wool, God carefully put thought into who you and I are, who we would become. He chose the colour of my eyes, the freckles on my face, the number of hairs on my head. No one is just like me. No one is just like you.  We are each one of a kind.  A carefully crafted, hand knit human being. Created in the image of God himself.

Sometimes when I knit I notice a mistake that I’ve made.  If I catch it soon enough I can go back, stitch by stitch and make the correction. Knitters sometimes call this “tinK-ing” since we’re Knitting backwards or unKnitting. This is an easy way to fix a mistake and takes just a few minutes.

Other times I notice a mistake from many rows below that has gone unnoticed. This is trickier to fix and requires a bit more patience and skill.  I isolate the stitch and tear back that one stitch many rows below to the mistake, correct the stitch and slowly, deliberately, carefully use a crochet hook to reknit the stitches, one by one, row by row.  This is a slow process but if done correctly it can save a lot time.

Some mistakes are just too big to fix by going back a few stitches or by isolating just one stitch.  Sometimes, after much consideration and after exploring the other options, I will find that the best solution is to pull the needles out of the knitted fabric and unravel the wool back to the mistake.  Stitch by stitch, row by row are unraveled leaving a heap of wool where there once was a knitted fabric. Once the mistake has been ripped out I will carefully put the “live stitches” back onto the needles and begin knitting again.  Sometimes by unraveling my work by pulling the needles out I have lost hours of time.

Over the past few weeks I have prayed with friends who are in the hospital or facing physical challenges, reminding them that it was God who knit them together in the womb and who continues to knit them together today. That carefully, with the precision of a Master Craftsman, he knits them back together. Stitch by stitch. Row by row. As a knitter, this is a powerful image to me as I think about my own health challenges, those behind me and those ahead of me.  That God is the One who created me.  He picked out the pattern of me and called me by name. Stitch by stitch. Row by row.

I also think that God takes the same care with our thoughts and actions, our behaviour and our character. Sometimes we are carefully “tinKed”, given a gentle reminder that something in our lives needs to be changed. Sometimes we need to be unraveled in order to make a change.  But the end result is the same: we are changed.

I love to admire my knitting projects when they are finished.  I show them to my family and friends.  I take pictures and post them online. I’m proud of my work, the skill involved, the challenge that was accomplished.

I believe that God does the same with us. He looks at us with a smile. He admires us. He sees where we’ve been and who we are becoming. And with joy continues stitching us together.

Stitch by stitch. Row by row.