A very dear friend sent me gorgeous yarn and a pattern for the fingerless mitts you see above. Even in my eagerness to do the project, I stalled. It took me forever to merely begin (even though I wanted to do the project). It took me forever to finish the project (I kept starting and stopping). I was afraid to screw up (even though I knew that if I botched the welted cuff or the thumb hole, I could simply pull out the yarn and begin again). Even though.
It wasn’t a case of being lazy (I am not) (usually). It wasn’t a case of not knowing how to do certain stitches (YouTube helped with that). It wasn’t a case of time (I had plenty). It was a case of not wanting to waste the precious yarn. It was a case of wanting perfect fingerless mitts. It was a case of wanting to feel confident in the knitting.
But I wasn’t confident. I was uncomfortable. I stalled.
It was frustrating when I’d put the project aside for a few weeks and then have to google (again) how to do a M1R/M1L stitch (eventually I wrote it down and saved myself some trouble). It was annoying when I thought I’d been careful to mark which rows were completed, only to pick up the mitt three weeks (or three months) later and be unclear about where in the pattern I was.
It was a messy process.
As I get older, I learn that (like much of life) process is often messy. As I get older, I learn that process is necessary. My fingerless mitts are my latest lesson in the joy (and struggle) of process. My fingerless mitts are my latest lesson in perseverance and curiosity. My fingerless mitts are my latest lesson in grace and in imperfect beauty.
My completed mitts are not perfect (my welted cuffs don’t match), and it took me a long time to knit a fairly simple project (sigh). But I started. And I finished. And I learned a lot.
I felt like my friend was with me (is with me) in every stitch. And I’m really okay with them not being perfect. I knew I was making mistakes as I was knitting; I just let them (me) be. When I do any kind of handwork, I often think of indigenous cultures where mistakes are put into a piece on purpose. On purpose! How liberating is that?! I look at my completed fingerless mitts and love them dearly. Besides the mistakes of which I’m aware, there are probably others of which I’m completely unaware. But it doesn’t matter.
My friend will be reading this, I am sure of that. I haven’t talked to her specifically about my slow process knitting with the gorgeous yarn she gifted me. I imagine she might smile as she reads these words, knowing the yarn will now warm my hands. She might smile because she knows what it’s like to work with fear and uncertainty and timidity, and to move through it. She might smile because she, too, understands that process is sometimes messy and uncomfortable…and is necessary.
Maybe you know this too and are smiling as well.
Sending a little love your way, m