Finishing the hat,
How you have to finish the hat.
How you watch the rest of the world
From a window
While you finish the hat.
- from Sunday in the Park with George
by Stephen Sondheim
was a sweater, begun in the fall to celebrate the achievement of a
weight loss milestone. The other, a
shawl, started late one evening last summer while anxiously waiting
to see what the rapidly rising river would do to our town when it
crested. Each was stored in their own baskets for later. Sizable chunks
of them were already completed. In the knitting universe, they are
called UFOs. Unfinished objects.
“Why do you begin another project when you’re still working on
something else?” a newer knitter asked me recently.
It’s a very good question. Finishing what you have started sounds
like a lesson to be mastered in kindergarten. But UFOs happen even with
the best of intentions and to the noblest knitter. In an instant, a
pair of socks, heel lovingly turned, the foot knit almost to the toes,
is pulled from service. A chance encounter with a more delicious yarn,
an urgent request from a family member for a much needed hat, news of a
baby’s arrival, and suddenly what’s on the your needles is set aside.
Thinking about UFOs reminded me of the sweater and the shawl. Did it
matter why I had deserted them? Tempus Fugit. If I didn’t
tackle them now, when would I? So a commitment was made. A knitter’s
vow. I would finish them. This month. March.
First the sweater. Until I memorized it, the cabling graph gave me
migraines. After taking out the sleeve for the third time, I chose to
accept imperfection. Very liberating. A short while later, I was
tucking in loose threads and fastening on the buttons. Done. A perfect
fit. So what if the cabling was a little off? It was in the back where
I couldn’t see it.
The shawl was a much less needy affair. After a short
re-acquaintance, I established a nice rhythm. The yarn, vibrant with
reds, oranges, yellows, and pinks, made me feel as I did when I had
dyed it with Kool-Aid last winter, as if I was knitting spring.
As I blocked open the colorful lace, a gentle drape appeared.
There’s a pay off to working to completion. Early this morning, on
my way to swim laps, I grabbed my new sweater. It did more than take
the chill off; it felt grand. With the hope of lending cheerful
comfort, the shawl will be sent to a friend whose body is healing.
does not keep me from confessing that in undisclosed locations all over
my house, there are other UFOs tucked neatly out of sight. Waiting
their turn. My March goal was modest. Two knitting baskets are empty.
Ready to be filled. An order for LB
Collection Cotton Bamboo in hibiscus, cherry blossom, hyacinth, and
magnolia is due any day now.