by Kirsten LaBlanc
“Teach me to knit, Gramma.”
“I don’t know how to knit, Mija,” she said, “This is called crochet.”
“Teach me, please.”
I sat close waiting for a hook of my own. “First you make your chain.” Abuela circled a strand of yarn around the hook and through a knot. “Hold the end and move the hook through. Grab the yarn with the hook and pull it through.”
“Practice,” she said.
She went back to her own project leaving me to make my chain. In and out and through the loop; I lost myself in the rhythm of my chain. When it was as long as the width of my bed, I stopped.
She studied my handwork and nodded in approval. “Good. The more you practice, the straighter your chain. Now, pull it loose and start again.”
I was heartbroken but I did as I was told.
Over and over I pulled the yarn through. “Don’t forget to count.” I tried but the rhythm was too distracting. I laid down my work, rows uneven. I deemed the project too difficult, and I quit.
Some 20 years later, I have picked up my rows to bring warmth to those who need a comforting embrace.
After searching through boxes, I find skeins of red, yellow, pink, blue and white yarn. My crochet hooks are nearby covered in dust. I called my church. “Do we still provide prayer shawls?”
“Yes and we need some now.”
[bctt tweet=”My shawls are imperfect but created with love. I am broken and created in perfection by love.”]
Ok. I’ll get started. I’d never actually seen a prayer shawl, but I liked the concept. I found some photos on the Internet.
I lose myself in the rhythm. My finished shawls are imperfect and full of love. They are broken. Perhaps they are beautiful.
My hands create a part of God’s love in simple design. My hook can create a blanket of warmth. My yarn weaves love and nothing more. I leave the shawls at the church office. The recipients are unknown to me and my part is complete. God’s work with my hands.
My shawls are imperfect but created with love. I am broken and created in perfection by love. Like my prayer shawls, I am created with loving perfection. As God’s children and those prayer shawls, we are all perfect in our brokenness.
Kirsten LaBlanc, her husband, and daughter live in Des Moines, Iowa. Her writing has been featured in the e-book “Love Poems Deconstructed” and others. This blog first appeared in the September 2014 issue of Gather magazine as a Give Us This Day column.
You can get involved with Women of the ELCA with your own crochet project. Find patterns here on our Tenth Triennial Gathering site.