Whether you paint or draw or knit or crochet or make things out of wood or clay, I’m sure you know that in the hearts of the general public there lies The Skeptic. If you’re one of these crafty people, I know you’ve encountered The Skeptic, who says things like “I don’t know how you spend so much time doing that. I would be so bored.” Or the classic, “Don’t you know you could buy that at Walmart?”
You see, we live in a culture that admires cheap plastic goods made in factories far away. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like a bargain as much as the next guy, or that I don’t think people in China should have jobs. It’s just that I, in my very small way, rebel against our disposable society that likes quick gratification. No, you can’t buy what I make at Walmart, or any other store for that matter. What I make by hand is very special, at least to me and I hope to the others affected by my craft.
Take my current spinning project for example. You can probably buy black alpaca yarn in any yarn store. But it wouldn’t be the same. You see, this particular alpaca blanket was raised on a farm owned by a friend of my good friend Peggy. She bought it directly from the farmer and had it cleaned and processed, then sent to me for spinning.
And boy did I spin. You see, alpaca is fluffy so a pound is a lot of fiber. I spun and spun and spun, and while I did, I thought of all the great times Peggy and I have had together. And I put in a few prayers that her life was going okay and that she’d get as much pleasure out of knitting or crocheting with this yarn as I did out of spinning it. And while spinning, I told my new friends here in Colorado about Peggy and our good times together. You can’t buy that in a store.
You see, the things I make with my own hands, while not as perfect as those made by machines or in a factory, have a little part of me in them when they go on to the person they are made for. And with them come my love, my prayers for their well-being, and my hope that this warm soft thing they are receiving will give them comfort on cold days and remind them that someone cares about them.
So, here’s to handmade things. And to friendships which never grow old or apart, even if the people in them do.