The Proverbs 31 Knitter

“She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.”

— Proverbs 31:13, NASB

A few mornings ago, I had the privilege of watching my youngest daughter’s face break into an expression of radiant adoration when I told her the pair of rainbow-hued socks on the couch were for her. “You finished them?” she chirped as she promptly sat down to pull them over bare feet.

“Last night. How do they feel?”

“They feel good already,” she said. She wiggled her toes and smiled up at me, displaying a multitude of dimples. “Mom, I think homemade socks are the best.”

I do not think of myself as a Proverbs 31 woman. Indeed, I have feared and loathed this chapter most of my life. But I do think of myself as a knitter. A slightly obsessive knitter, in fact.

What do I mean by obsessive? Confession: I finished 60 projects between September 1 and December 31, 2012. Here is my breakdown:

20 Hats

9 cowls

6 winter scarves

1 winter hat/scarf combo

1 lace accessory scarf

2 shawls

8 pair handwarmers

4 pair mittens

2 pair convertible fingerless gloves/mittens

5 headband/earwarmer

2 pair gloves

Needless to say, my family and friends were warm the day after Christmas.

I have felt slightly guilty about my obsessive knitting habits over the last several months, largely because this hobby seems to serve as an imperfect substitute for the Career Which Shall Not Be Named. Yes, it’s a symptom of avoidance and denial, but it’s one that my family is happy to encourage since it means they end up with all manner of tangible, wearable expressions of my affection. Mr. P has been known to smile warmly and say, “I like it when you knit socks” when I pull out my needles and a ball of sock yarn. When I mention that I want to go yarn shopping, he has no qualms about increasing my “blow money” budget since he seems fairly certain that when I’ve been yarn shopping, he will eventually end up with something for feet, hands, head, or neck. I have joked that I am on a “high fiber” diet and that knitting is a “post-apocalyptic life skill.”

But until this morning, I had not considered that my habit might be a noble one–perhaps even a biblical one.

I knew I had to read Proverbs 31 this morning. I had it in my head to finish the book of Proverbs today, so I spent a couple of days gearing up for the usual feelings of inadequacy that I have when I read the picture of biblical womanhood in this chapter. I held my breath . . .

. . . and there was that beautiful verse 13.

“She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.”

Why, I do frequently look for wool–not flax, perhaps, but I do look for wool, silk, cotton, acrylic, and anything else that feels good against the skin and might make something warm and cozy for someone I love. And when I work with my hands on a knitting (or crocheting) project, I do feel delighted.

“She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.
She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.” (Verses 21-22)

Ah, no, I’m not afraid of the snow. My family is wrapped in warmth from my hands. I’ve even made a few things for myself. As for the linen . . . well, that would require my sewing machine, and to be honest, it’s more economical these days to buy clothes than to make them.

The rest of Proverbs 31? I don’t know. I don’t feel very strong, and now that I’m not working, I don’t contribute to the family coffers. I don’t think I’m the sort who smiles at the future, and my tongue is too often waspish and irritable and contentious. But for some reason, Mr. P does trust me, and he does lavish praise on me, and my children are good enough to occasionally tell me “thank you, Mom,” even when I don’t hand them a new pair of handmade socks.

Hm. Maybe I’m doing better at this Proverbs 31 thing than I thought.

Now if you’ll excuse me, the eldest daughter has requested a tote bag. My needles are calling . . .

Till next we meet . . .


2 thoughts on “The Proverbs 31 Knitter

    1. jmpadoc Post author

      I think we are too often either dumbstruck and awed by the gospel arc or temporarily nourished by drive-by devotions and churchy platitudes. We–at least, *I*–forget that the Bible includes all of the practical in-between stuff for life. Thank you for the comment!

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