Dear Ms. Feverfew –
Recently, I have taken up lace knitting. Basically, it is where you make holes in your knitting project by including yarn overs. On purpose. Trust me, it’s not for the faint of heart. But I have always “been want to swim in deep waters” and rarely choose the easier path. I guess that includes knitting projects as well. But I digress.
I have plenty of experience making holes in my knitting accidentally by moving the yarn to the front when it is supposed to be in the back or the other way around, creating an unintended hole in the process. I have spent countless hours frogging back to where I created the yarn over (or trying to fix/hide the painfully obvious hole through whatever ingenious means I devise). But with lace knitting, the pattern that comes off the needles is full of holes. Intentional ones. Lovely, rhythmic, and by design. The trouble is that when working with a fine lace weight yarn, it is practically impossible to read the pattern in the knitting as it comes off my needles. Most of the time, I can’t figure how on earth this mass of twisted thread curled around my needles is ever going to end up being that stunning shawl on the front of the pattern. And that, Dear Ms. M., drives me crazy sometimes.
However, I have learned two very important things over the past few months. First, follow the directions and most importantly, trust the designer. It has been quite the process for me to learn how to let go of my need to know how it all turns out before I finish. Learning to trust the designer of the pattern and the “bigger picture” which doesn’t emerge until the finished project is blocked has been equally difficult.
There is a lyrical rhythm to lace knitting, my fingers and needles coaxing the thread through my hands as I repeat the mantra-like pattern in my head. “Yarn over, slip slip, knit. Yarn over, slip slip, knit. Yarn over, slip slip, knit.” Once I have some muscle memory in my hands of the pattern, my mind tends to wander. Today, I had time to contemplate our latest anniversary: Your Original Due Date, which happens to be today.
As I worked on my current Faroese shawl (“Susan” by Myrna Stahman) today, it dawned on me that these anniversaries of ours are like yarn overs in the fabric of my life. The day I found out I was pregnant with you. Yarn over. The first time I heard your heart beat. Yarn over. The first time I felt you move. Yarn over. Your original due date. Yarn over. The day you were born. Yarn over. The day you first smiled at me, I mean really smiled. Yarn over. The day you learned to sit. Yarn over. The day you learned to walk. Yarn over. The day I placed you with your adoptive family. Yarn over. Your first birthday. Yarn over. The day I went to the court house and sat outside for 2 hours, sobbing as I willed myself to do what no mother should never have to do, simply because I was told I would never be enough for you. Yarn over. And so it goes, each month marking another row in my life, with the anniversary of so many of these events coming around again. Yarn over.
As the days, weeks, and years have slip slip, knitted by me, I have spent a lot energy trying to fix (or hide) those yarnovers created by your absence in the daily twists and turns of my life, believing that somehow I could (or should) correct the holes left behind. I will frankly admit that I have been unable read the pattern created by the yarnovers, the slipped stitches, and the knits in my life. Many times when I look at what I have become, all I see is a twisted, gnarled mess of threads with no rhyme or reason to it.
But lately, as I have become a more proficient lace knitter, I am realizing that I must trust the designer. I must trust that all of those holes left behind by the absence of you are intricately and carefully spaced by a loving Father, rendering the finished product of my life more beautiful, more refined, and more delicate that I could have ever imagined. Perhaps with the perspective of the eternities, I will finally be able to read the pattern and understand that each and every yarn over was not a mistake, not an accident, and fit perfectly into the Father’s plan for my life.
Until then, yarn over, slip slip, knit. Your birthday is coming up next week and I know I will struggle to remember what I have written here. Yarn over.