Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Stitch in Time

This is how I picture her most, head bent slightly, eyes focused on the thin metal hook that tucks in and out of spider’s silk, nothing like the nubby caterpillars I’m known to wrap round my fingers and transform into practical afghans, amigurumi toys, and prayer shawls.

Even now when her children are grown, married, and her house overflows with grandchildren, my mother’s hands are still a blur of motion. She pauses to move her fingers down the chain, lips moving as she counts silently, knotting the gossamer just so to create is from isn’t.

This is how it always has been. The year she wanted to buy a Serger, she crocheted stacks of intricate collars for dainty little girl heirloom dresses. Most of the snowflake-like creations were white, but my favorite, the ones that were sometimes left over because they didn’t sell as well, were the ones in rainbow of variegated pastel thread.

Even now, she’s constantly crocheting, tatting, or knitting something—another afghan, a baby’s blanket, a prayer shawl, a doily, a sweater. This time, it’s cross bookmarks, an Easter gift for the children in whose hearts she sows the Word each Sunday morning.

As a child, I never understood this need to keep her hands busy. Spare time was for playing outdoors, watching television, curling up with a good book. Creating was only for when I needed something like a cross-stitched piece for my bedroom wall or wool needlepoint pillows for the sofa.

Perhaps it’s a characteristic that only those pressing up the mountain to middle age can start to feel, understand. Perhaps one simply has to live long enough to see the value in creating beauty just for the sake of doing so. I’m not sure. But the more the hairs curl gray, the more I feel the urge to create, to mimic the beauty around me spun into existence by my Creator.

And so today as we ride north to see my brother and his wife, mother and daughter pull out their silver blades together and knot in time, each bringing creative dimension to nothingness.

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