Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Finnish Yarn

I am doing it again...taking apart what I have created with the Finnish yarn I bought 2 years ago in Helsinki.

I've come to see this as a symbolic ritual, almost. Anyone who knits knows the feeling of pulling apart a project that you've spent hours and hours working's not the best feeling in the world. This time, it is not an unfinished project I'm taking apart, it's a large wrap shawl completed last summer on lazy evenings sitting outside while my son played.

But before it was a large wrap shawl, it was several panels of a bolero-styled sweater. Before that, an infinity scarf, and before that it was the beginning of a hat; a sweater that tied in front; a scarf with simple ribbing... I don't know what it is about this particular lot of yarn, but nothing I make with it seems to be right. The bolero-style of sweater is not flattering on my figure; I don't really wear infinity scarves; all this color on a hat is too much for me (not to mention it is way too much yarn for one hat); a sweater that ties in front is likely to be annoying, as I can see it constantly coming untied and I don't like fussing with my clothing; and the yarn seems just too precious somehow for a simple scarf pattern. The large wrap was nice, yes...but I never wore it.

So no matter what I have made with this particular batch of yarn it just doesn't feel right somehow.

I often buy yarn with no project in mind, just because I'm drawn to the sight and feel of it. It will sit in baskets or bowls in various rooms of my home, where I live with it a while, looking at it briefly as I pass by, thinking about it as I putter around doing other things, until I come across a pattern somewhere and know just what to do with it. Only with this Finnish yarn, no pattern seems to work. It has been two years now, and I know there is a purpose for this beautiful, soft, elegant rainbow-colored fiber. But nothing ever seems right. I don't know what the yarn wants to be, or what the significance is in my life of creating something, then unraveling it, over and over, for the past two years.

Or maybe I do.

A friend recently posted a beautiful saying about fibers on the Facebook page of my knitter's group (The Fiber Goddi, check us out!). It was a quote by Dodinsky, stating simply that "We are made of the strongest fibers known in the universe - hope, love respect, courage, perseverance, etc. These are the threads we use to repair our soul when unfortunate things momentarily cause a tear in our lives." There is a sense of Zen in the unraveling of a project one has invested hours in. A letting go that many find hard to imagine...but why put more time into something that just isn't right and then attempt to justify it with the fact that you've put time into it already?

And so, I unravel the large wrap, wind it back up onto skeins, and place them into a yarn basket. I won't try to steer the flow this time, I've learned more lessons in patience these past two years than you'd think necessary for one soul in a lifetime. And even though I'm damn eager to create something beautiful with this yarn, whose place of origin alone makes it near and dear to my heart, I'll let it sit for a while longer, allowing the lessons I've learned, lessons in love, hope, courage and perseverance, fill my soul and remind me that persevering in the wrong direction is not noble but futile; that it takes tremendous courage to unravel and thing and begin something new; with every ending comes hope for a new beginning; and love...what can I say I've learned about love?

Go with the flow. Like a pattern you finally get the hang of, love has a way of unfolding perfectly when the time is right.