In the community of merry makers I have the privilege of leading, we have been felting knitted bowls. It is a fairly simple, yet interesting process to felt the “fabric” of what you have knitted and to watch it become the thing you were aiming for, or perhaps become something else entirely. Much like placing glazed pottery in a kiln, the felting process is not precise due to so many variables. Fibers chosen, heat, soap, agitation, time, patience level, and even the type of washing machine one has, all plays a part in how the resulting vessel turns out. I won’t go into details about how to felt, but I wanted to share with you some thoughts born out of a fellow-knitter’s observations.
My friend described the process thus (I’m paraphrasing)-
“Simple knitting, not too difficult and oh so forgiving. If there are mistakes, it doesn’t matter in the end. If the colors seem to not be working, it somehow ends up being beautiful after the felting. Some bowls need more than one time through the washing machine, more than one tennis shoe thrown in for extra agitation. The more you put it through the felting process the prettier it becomes. Somehow, you start off with a misshapen blob of knitting and at then end of all the agitation, something beautiful comes out in the end.”
I was immediately encouraged by this picture. It felt (no pun intended!) much like my own life and the lives of many of us who are enduring difficulties of various kinds. Whatever we thought had been knitted with ease is now undergoing a whirlwind of agitation, being knocked around by a few tennis balls in a swirling vortex, and thrown into a hot dryer to tumble around for a while. Life can feel like this. Far more often than we would like.
I live through these things, or rather I want to live through them, with the promised end in sight…something beautiful will come of all the agitation, heat, and dizzying whirl. This is why we are knitted together in community…to remind one another to stay in the swirling vortex, to hang onto the promise of the beauty that awaits us. Our felted lives are working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. (2 Corinthians 4:17)
Let us keep knitting together our lives and our difficulties…reminding one another that it is not a waste. Every bit of what we endure will result in our lives as vessels of beauty heralding the One who made us and loves us so.