This post looks like it’s about knitting. It is – and it is not. Even if you don’t knit, the post is a lesson about creation, denial, paying attention, truth, being willing to try again, and acceptance.
The knitting project is still moving along after my long pout in the maze of the 5 Stages of Grief. Not only did I unknit the shoulders to fix the lumps, I unknit both front pieces all the way back to the beginning of the armholes.
I was going to leave the back with the armhole lumps and then, reconsidered and reknit them as well. It was huge improvement. The lumpy version is on the right. The rework is on the left. Smooth. Yes.
I wanted to take a picture of all the pieces before I assembled them – expecting that I would want to share my triumph over Denial and Depression and do a new post.
LUMPY. The bottom half of the back is LUMPY.
The yarn shop had only 10 matching skeins of yarn. The pattern called for 12. The yarn shop clerk assured me that I could alternate the rows incorporating the new yarn – and it would be fine. No one would see. Really? As you and I can see, the odd yarn appears – about every third row below the armholes. Not only is the color off, the yarn thickness is different. LUMPY.
It’s a modern day telling of the Emperor’s New Clothes on a teeny tiny scale (you may remember, I learn best in miniature). Cherylann’s New Vest. LUMPY.
When I bought the yarn, I was skeptical that I would even need the two additional skeins. I was also impatient to get started. My goddess whispered in my ear -“Really? You could WAIT and have 12 skeins of the same lot number sent to you. You have other projects in the basket. You could WAIT and KNOW the skeins would match. You could…”
But lust had taken over. I turned down the volume of the goddess’s voice, which is not a good idea: a goddess does not like to be ignored.
Some years ago, I happened upon a flesh-and-blood cigarette-smoking knitting goddess – she ran the Linden Hills Yarn Shop in Minneapolis. (Don’t worry, she smoked outside.) I was perusing the beautiful yarns, when a young woman came into the shop looking for yarn to match her half-knit item. The young woman explained that she’d purchased the yarn on vacation, but didn’t buy enough to complete her scarf. The knitting goddess said that it was highly unlikely there would be a good match in the store or anywhere for that matter. The goddess suggested to the younger woman that she buy another skein of complimentary yarn, and, with a little knit and purl magic she could combine the yarns and have a full sized scarf. The goddess offered a pattern free of charge to go with the purchase of another skein.
“So do I just knit the new skein onto what I’ve already knit?” asked the young woman.
“No,” replied the goddess looking at the young one closely. “You’ll unknit what you have knit and start over with both yarns and the pattern I’ll give you with the purchase of the second skein.”
The young woman leaned forward in disbelief: “What? I have to rip this out???”
(I was really paying attention to their conversation at this point. It was hard not to.)
The goddess, her patience exhausted, looked over her glasses at the woman and said in a smokey, raspy voice I’ll never forget:
“If you’re gonna learn to knit, you’re gonna learn to rip.”
Words to live by if you are going to lead a knitting life. Words to live if you’re going to lead any kind of life.
We are human: we make mistakes. We have to accept the reality that creation, unless you are God, has the real possibility of failure. The real failure comes in the denial that something needs to be fixed or changed – in not admitting this truth to yourself – in allowing the lip-service of others to be the standard by which you, as a creator, accept. In your heart of hearts, you KNOW.
And you KNOW you know. You’ll most assuredly know this when you choose not to rip – if that is what is required – because you won’t ‘wear’ it. Fortunately, in many cases, it’s not too late: we get do-overs – we are afforded the grace of second chances (and third and fourth). We have the opportunity to rip – and start again. It’s worth the patience you invest to make, and remake if necessary, your creation into the best it can be – your vest, your scarf, or your life – a creation that makes your goddess sing, a creation you are proud to claim.
So let us return now to present day. LUMPY. As I said, my goddess does not like to be ignored. She knew. While I was comprehending the lumpiness, my goddess was just biding her time. And I, having knit and unknit so much of the vest already, I also knew I could knit the whole garment with the ten matching skeins.
I didn’t cry; I didn’t rant; I didn’t pretend; I didn’t shake my fist at my goddess who was singing away in Italian about death and tragedy. She knew I knew. I looked her squarely in the eye, picked up the back piece and calmly undid the cast-off knot at the top and rrrrrriiippppppppeeddddd – all the way to the bottom.
I’m nearly done with the reknit of the back. My goddess has moved on to singing a love song.