Thursday, June 12, 2008
I was on my way to the yarn shop in New Bern yesterday with my husband, Henry driving. Of course, as with all trips of 30 minutes or more and with my not being at the wheel, I was knitting. I was working on a pair of wrist warmers for next winter. Knit, knit, purl, purl; the pattern is easy and isn't even in the round, just back and forth. Easy, right? My mind was split between watching the pattern and listening to Alanis Morissette's newest CD. I suddenly realized I'd made a mistake in my pattern two rows back. Okay, to fix the mistake or not, why should I bother? After all, I'm probably the one who'll wear these wrist warmers and would I even think about the mistake? Yes, I probably would. The mistake screamed out at me when I glanced at it, recognizing it at once for what it was. Two rows back! No one else would ever know or even notice. Did I have to do everything perfectly? Couldn't I leave it like it was to remind me of my humanity; i.e., imperfections? It would be like the deliberate mistake the Oriental rug weavers left to remind themselves of their limitations. What a wonderful way of looking at life. But, okay, I'm an American, and grew up in the previous century with the idea that I should strive to do everything as well as I can possibly do it. Hence, this would be a constant reminder that I goofed.
Now, all of this deliberation aside, which took about 30 seconds, and giving into my personal upbringing , I dove into pulling out stitches to get to the mistake. For those of you who don't knit, taking out stitches correctly takes about twice as long as actually knitting them. It is a valuable skill which should be learned along with knitting and purling. Find the loop just under the previous stitch, insert the needle and bring the loop onto the needle, slipping the stitch off the needle it had been on. This was repeated over and over until two rows were undone. I don't think I ended up with even an inch's worth of stitches by the time we reached Weaver's Web. Again, my mind wandered into the realm of knitting paralleling life's lessons. I began thinking about how even in life, it's harder to fix a mistake than to make one. Maybe this is as it should be. If it were easy to take back a harsh word or casually ignore a friend in need, we would be inclined to not pay attention and to not worry about the consequences of our actions. We should have to take more time and put forth more effort to make the world a better place to live or to let our loved ones know that we may not be perfect, but we're trying. Our actions will be appreciated and they will understand that it is sometimes harder for the one apologizing. And, as with living with a creation even as minor as wrist warmers, not righting a wrong that could have been corrected, leaves a nagging sense of unfinished business.