In my last blog I didn’t pledge to “finish” every project I’d ever begun. Life is full of choices, and knitting should be, too.
Making choices is about deciding what really matters—honing in on the essentials and leaving the rest. When I was an undergraduate English major, I wanted to read every book and learn about everything that remotely interested me. I had an insatiable appetite for learning. Sometime between then and now, I came to the sobering realization that there would be books I longed to read and experiences I wanted to have that, because of the limitations surrounding any single life, I’d need to forego entirely. It’s about choosing how to spend time.
Knitting is no different than reading or any of the other human “wants.” I will admire more yarns and patterns than I can ever knit, and I will imagine more designs than I will ever commit to paper. So, this weekend, while on a wonderful knitting weekend in Manzanita on the Oregon coast, I chose to reduce my UFOs by one. (Note: Never fear. There aren’t many more, so don’t worry that staying with me on this thread will be the knitting equivalent of the camp song, “100 bottles of beer in the wall, 100 bottles of beer, if one of those bottles should happen to fall, 99 bottles of beer in the wall…” Thankfully, I’ve been working on this for a while and don’t have many UFOs squirreled away. Just a couple more!
I started a lace shawl months ago, loved the Misti Alpaca lace weight yarn, admired the pattern, but never really loved this project once I’d begun it. The pattern repeat was difficult memorize and even to see, the yarn and the pattern weren’t great together and it wasn’t even very much fun to knit. As with a book I’m not loving, I’d given it a chance but wouldn’t be finishing it–and there was a time when every book I started had to be finished. I call this difference “progress!”
Unraveling the project and carefully winding the lovely yarn back into the ball so that it could be used another day felt good. The Oregon coast weather, like that of the rest of the Northwest, doesn’t come with a guarantee. However, this three-day weekend was perfect: sunny, blue skies, happy people walking on the beach with dogs, yarn shops, friends to knit and laugh with, chocolate and good food. I had fun finding the right place to bid farewell to this UFO:The fish (it’s the back of a bench with a sense of humor) was happy to help out, posing with the rewound yarn held carefully in her mouth.She seemed to smile, reflecting my own feelings at letting this project go and setting the yarn aside for another day — to use or give away to someone to make something beautiful. It was a good trade: happy possibilities instead of a project that was weighing me down!
A great post! Thanks for giving us guilt ridden knitters permission to throw away that guilt when we don’t finish every project started. I greatly needed the affirmation of this post.
Just last evening I was talking to myself about lace knitting. As much as I love to look at it, and admire those who do it, it just may not be mine to do. I am not a patient knitter and don’t enjoy long tedious projects.
I’m going to remind myself, when I feel guilty for not knitting lace, that you said I don’t have to knit it. I can knit whatever I enjoy and find pleasure in knitting.
Yes, you can quote me on that, Linda! There was a time when I felt the same way about lace and even said the same thing to myself, that maybe it wasn’t for me or me for it. But then I got inspired by what I saw others doing that I wanted to do. I began squeezing occasional lace projects in between socks, scarves and hats, and oddly enough, each time I knit one project, the next one seemed easier—testimony to the fact that we humans can learn with practice! I’m not a fan of intarsia but probably haven’t done enough projects to give it a fair shake, and I feel the same about entrelock. Yet I admire both and may just surprise myself sometime and try some more—-or maybe not. After all, it is about time.