The other day I was clearing out my craft closet....again. All of the Christmas gifts I made had already been given. All the Little Lambs for Peace gathered and donated to a local charity. Now the space seemed fairly empty.
In a dark corner sat a knitting bag containing the remains of not one, but two projects I had started and abandoned years ago. The lovely multi-colored cotton yarn was supposed to be woven into a summer jumper, but after finishing the back, I realized I would never wear it. After all, we knitters know what happens to the shape of natural fibers once someone sits on it. Catch my drift?
After abandoning that crazy idea, I found a delicate lace sweater pattern and soon reworked the yarn into something brand new. Alas, after spending a month of Sundays knitting a sleeve, I could see the writing (or the fabric) on the wall: this pattern was made for someone whose shape was altogether different than mine. If I dared to spend the time to finish it, I knew the sweater would gather dust on my closet shelf in the hopes that I'd pull it down and pull it on at least once a season.
Frustrated that my high hopes died in the nest, I tossed the projects and the yarn into the knitting bag and put them away in order to focus on making hats and socks and handwarmers. Things that are always guaranteed to be a good fit.
Time went by.
I learned how to make toys which has been my main focus for nearly three years. Little Lambs for Peace was launched in early 2013, and in-between making gifts for my little friends, I've been knitting up toys to donate to local charities. In the meantime, those discarded projects sat waiting. And waiting. Kind of like us Midwesterners this time of year, waiting for the return of the sun.
My pals, Harshil and Daivik, are getting glasses in January, so I'm knitting them Harry Potter sweaters as a surprise to celebrate. It's an easy pattern I found in the book Charmed Knits, and one that I know the boys will love to wear. Their sweaters have been so meditative to make that on the winter solstice last week, I decided to unearth that gorgeous yarn and make it into a simple pullover for myself...one that I know I will wear to yoga classes. While writing. While hiking at the park and tooling around town.
It was effortless (not to mention painless) to rip back all the hard work I put into the jumper and the lace. Easier than ripping off a bandage. Easier still than letting them sit in the darkness, knowing I'd get to them eventually. For I'd rather undo what's been done, knowing I'll be able to recreate it into something better.
And so it is.
The new sweater's back was finished in a record two days' time. The front is well on its way. I've discovered that the advice I've given to my knitting students turns out to be true: if you're working with a lively yarn, let the pattern be simple so the language of the fiber can shine through.
Maybe the same is true for me. What's been waiting in the shadows isn't scary or "bad." It's just something that needed more time to percolate. Something that can surprise me with its inherent grace and ease. Something that has its own rhythm and purpose. And when I let go of my plans, it's easy to let it be what it's meant to be.
So, for now my sweater is still a work in progress...and of course, so am I. Eventually I'll wear my "sweater of multi-colors" and each time I'll be reminded of the blessings of letting things come out of the dark when they're ready.
When I'm ready to embrace the lessons they have to share.