Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Five-Year-Old Sweater

I have been knitting a sweater since 2008.  It isn't a very fancy sweater because it is the first one I've ever attempted to knit.  I love the simplicity of the pattern - a top-down raglan with simple finishes all knit in one piece, so there will be no sewing involved.

The sweater is knit in a cheap acrylic that I used to be fond of in 2008.  It is silky and soft - a good thing in a sweater; however, not such a good thing to knit with.

A couple of days ago, I discovered that I had made a mistake in decreasing for the ribbed wristband.  I then (as I always do when confronted with a mistake) proceeded to take my needles out of my knitting and ripped away to the point where the mistake was made.  Fearless.  Self-assurred.  Stupid.  The silky yarn caused some of the stitches to unravel further down than others.  I stared in disbelief.

Two hours later, I had succeeded in painstakingly getting all the stitches fixed and situated correctly on the needle.  And then I made the same mistake in decreasing.  I modified the next row to get the right number of stitches, and then I left it.  I made a note of what I did so as to make the next sleeve the same way.

I've accepted that sometimes I can't do what I always did with what I have now.  I try, I modify, I slip up and learn to live with the consequences, making the best of the situation.  And I wonder, is it that I'm no longer in charge of what I'm doing?  Have my skills abandoned me over the years?  Is "done" now better than "perfect"?  And I realized that sometimes it's the journey that is the most fulfilling part of reaching a destination.  Another life lesson from the art of knitting.

My knitting has gotten me through every difficult passage over the last ten years.  It has always been my therapy of choice.  The act of pulling yarn through stitches repeatedly has been a type of meditation, and it has been there for me whenever I've needed it.  And now I'm finding that my knitting is something that changes from year to year, from project to project, and I love it even more.  No matter how much it changes, it is always there for me.  It is the one constant in my world.

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