But I Can Knit!

My husband stood there gawking at me, unsure how to proceed. It was an awkward moment but there was a slight smile on his face. You see, I had made the coffee early that morning, as I always do when I come downstairs. He had gotten me a new coffee maker, as the old one (really really REALLY old) had fallen apart. Literally. It had been the kind that needed a paper cone-shaped filter. This new one required a paper basket-shaped filter to be placed down into a removable plastic basket.

I had made coffee in this shiny new red coffee maker for several days now. Delicious hot coffee to wake me in the morning. This particular morning it seemed to gargle and spurt a wee bit more than usual. There was some kind of water or brownish stuff leaking out the bottom, but oh that could be explained by a little spillage as I poured the water into the reservoir. I wiped it up. No biggie. Poured myself a cuppa. Good stuff.

But when my husband came downstairs, he stood there asking – Honey…what happened here?

What became evident to everyone standing around by this time (son and daughter too!) was that, whoever made the coffee that morning had forgotten to put the plastic basket into the gizmo. With only a thin paper holding the coffee as it brewed…well…you can imagine.

My son just grinned, got a cup of coffee, and went somewhere else to laugh. Hubby cleaned up the mess. I grabbed my knitting and sat down. Yeesh.

The thing is…things like this are happening more often as I get older. I know, I know…51 is not old. But I seem to be having little glitches of memory, temporary spots of insanity every now and then. For now, they are cute, funny, laugh-off-able.

Later that afternoon, sitting in the living room with my son as he did college homework (he was home on break that week), I was knitting the lace pattern on the yoke of a new sweater. Well, actually I was realizing that as I had stayed up late the night before in a lace-knitting frenzy, I had made a mistake. One little mistake that led to the last four rounds of knitting being off and therefore wrong in one section. When I realize things like this, I put my knitting down and get up and do something. I chose to fold laundry, to put dishes in the dishwasher, pick up stuff and put it away. As I do all this, I ruminate…shall I tink back four whole rows? Shall I just frog it and hope that the cotton/linen yarn will hold their stitches enough for me to get all two hundred and ninety some-odd stitches back on the needles? Should I put in a life-line? Or could I just unknit each stitch down to the fourth row below and re-knit it back up as I do for a dropped stitch? And then could I do this for about twenty stitches AND keep it in the lace pattern, complete with yarn overs, k2togs and ssks?? Hmmm.

I returned to my knitting, with a plan sorted out in my head. I would try the latter idea picking out each stitch with a crochet hook and if that went awry, I would frog it all back to before the offending lace errors. Carefully, ever so carefully, reading each stitch up and down the four vertical lines of rows and following the lace pattern, I unknitted and reknitted, repurled, and made all the stitches, one by one, as called for. I surveyed the resulting fabric and blurted out without thinking –

“D#%n, I’m good!”

Now I’m not one typically taken to such flowery language so you can understand my son’s surprise at this exclamation! I stood up, did a little dance (something to the tune of “I fixed my knitting, I fixed my knitting!” and sat back down to utter these words with some volume:

“I may not be able to make coffee properly, but I CAN FREAKIN’ KNIT!!!”

There is hope, when I am actually old, and can’t remember where I put my teeth, that I will still be able to knit, purl, k2tog, psso, yo, ssk and all the rest!

***

“A life in knitting is a life worth living.”

I just thought of that.

You can quote me on it. 🙂

Tedium & Beauty

PosyLove

A thought kept popping into my head:

“Golly this is tedious!”

Even though I was absorbed in the tiny stitches, the small bits of fabric, the sewing it all together…it nevertheless felt very fiddly and tedious. The amount of time it took to create this 2 1/2″ bit of beauty was, well….staggering!

And then it hit me:

Beauty is often wrought in tedium.

Handwork lovers of all kinds know this. Any who knit, crochet, embroider, quilt, smock, tat, etc…we know that something beautiful will result from the hours of tedium in intricate stitches.

Now if I can just remember this about life, I’ll be better off. So much of life can also feel tedious and fiddly. This week I’ve been reminding myself, when that “this is tedious!” thought crosses my mind – Beauty is afoot!

Where there’s tedium…there is beauty!

Wishing you a day of finding beauty in the tedium of your life.

***

My skin-to-be-comfortable-in for my daughter’s upcoming wedding is progressing. I’m pleased thus far. Still more to go. But I haven’t had to rip anything out lately. Thankfully.

Hard & Soft

Hard&Soft

It’s all here in my lap. A picture of life. A metaphor for living in this world. Of how it all works. Of what is needed to knit a life.

You need hard AND soft. Hook and yarn. Needles and fiber.

In early adult years I have lived hard – highly disciplined, rigid, independent, aloof, unbending. In my middle years I’ve grown soft – less confident, more scattered, empathic, slower, more prone to watery eyes.

I describe these two as polar opposites and as if they are both negative in certain ways. They certainly can be if not held together with its seemingly opposite twin. What I’m realizing is that both hard and soft are necessary for knitting a beautiful life. One needs to be firm and focused on the present moment with a razor sharp determination to plow through. While also being open-hearted, receptive, pliable and bendable. Watching what happens as I knit or crochet teaches me the delicate and intricate dance between hard and soft. The end result is one of beauty.

Hardness in one’s life doesn’t have to be rigid and unbending even though knitting needles and crochet hooks are. There is goodness in determination, in holding to truth in the uncertainty of life, in an ability to tilt up or down, lift or loop, drop, transfer, pick up and above all, an ability to stay strong while wrapped in numerous kinds of fibers situations.

Being soft doesn’t have to mean limp, loose, or lazy in life. It means being pliable, bendable, loopy, willing to drape, curl, cross-over and be bound off and together with others. Being soft also means there are times when you feel fuzzy and frayed, slick and shiny, bumpy and lumpy, just like the various fibers we love.

  Wisdom is required to understand when to be firm and when to be fluid. How to be focused while also open. How to lovingly hold our ground and maintain boundaries. And how to be unswerving and unbending in our desire to love and be kind to others.

Hard and soft, held together, working together, dancing together in this knitted life.

I’m still learning.