Aside from a lot of other random stuff, this image:
I found this on the wonderful blog Habetrot (home of all things woolly). This is the oldest known image of someone knitting! It was created by Meister Bertram von Minden in the 14th century.
I’ve cropped it a bit here (Will I go to Hell for cropping out Baby Jesus? Only time will tell.), but it’s Mary knitting a little shirt for Jesus. Knitting in the round, I might add, which my internet sources tell me was the original method — straight needles came later.
I found that this image really spoke to two major areas of my life: parenting and crafting. Mary is obviously one of the most archetypal mother images we have in the Western world. And to find her knitting, one of my beloved hobbies, was a revelation.
We tend to have either very prosaic images of Mary: the humble girl shocked by Gabriel’s message, the tired, gravid wife riding that bony donkey 90 miles to pay her taxes — or transcendent images: the Mother of God crowned as the Queen of Heaven. I love how this image incorporates both — in her sumptuous halo and red and gold gown, and her skillful ability to create something quite mundane.
I find that this image helps remind me of the nobility of handwork. One way that I can show my love for others is by creating things with my own hands. I care for my family by making clothing that keeps them warm, and by making toys for the children to play with. I help my children learn the value of the unique, imperfect item filled with care and love, versus the mass-produced, unnaturally pristine and soulless item.
And, it’s beautiful, no?