Knit weaves together support and service
On most Thursday evenings, in the St. Scholastica parlor of the Monastery of St. Gertrude, Sisters and lay people gather at 7:00 p.m. to work on knitting and crocheting projects, share ideas and receive feedback, and simply socialize. They call themselves “Loosely Knit” and have been meeting for over ten years.
“I have always loved fiber crafts and it’s really nice to share that with others who love it,” says Sister Janet Barnard. “We also share other things in common. It’s also really wonderful to watch newcomers gain skill and confidence.”
“I love the visiting and camaraderie,” adds Sister Sue Ellen Drexler. “I have times when I have questions. By asking questions, I can do a good job on my project.”
As if to prove the point, Jeannette Kelley of Cottonwood holds out her sock project that has included ribbing all the way down the foot. She is unsure how to finish the toe. The group quickly concurs that the toe should be finished with a standard knit, not ribbing, and everyone goes back to their own work.
Sister Miriam Mendez laughs, “We are a lot less loosely knit when Jeannette is here,” referring to Jeanette’s experience and skill. “There was a time when we were so loosely knit we didn’t even meet for a year.” The group began when Sister Kim Marie Jordan entered as a Postulant. It was her idea to form a knitting and crocheting group.
“In every place I have lived, I have always been part of a knitting group,” explains Jeannette. “But this group is really special because although we don’t always talk about it, we experience our shared spirituality and values.”
These shared values have expressed themselves in a number of service projects throughout the years. Most recently, the group delivered 36 purple knitted infant beanies to three area hospitals as part of the “Period of PURPLE Cry” awareness project to help parents understand the increased crying that begins about two weeks of age and continues to about 3 to 4 months. PURPLE is an acrostic reminder (Peak of crying, Unexpected, Resists Soothing, Pain-like face, Long lasting, Evening) for attributes of this mysterious crying that sends parents into frustration and fatigue. The educational project seeks to increase understanding of this normal developmental phenomenon to promote better responses.
Loosely Knit has also knitted scarves for the Special Olympics and hats for homeless shelters. The group has traveled to Women’s Hearth in Spokane, a women’s shelter, to share how to build mutual support through groups like their own. Spirit Scarves – scarves knitted with the intentions for Peace, Love, and so on – are available for sale in the Monastery Book & Gift Shop and all proceeds go to Spirit Center scholarships. Other items handcrafted by the group can be found there as well.
The group finds inspiration from Psalm 129:13-14, which they use as an opening prayer to every gathering: “For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.”
Loosely Knit gathers every Thursday at 7:00 p.m. in the St. Scholastica Parlor of the Monastery of St. Gertrude. All are welcome. Call the Monastery in advance at 208-962-3224 to make sure the night’s gathering hasn’t been cancelled for any reason.