Life's Work

The last time I was in my favorite yarn store, as I handed over my credit card to make my purchase, I mentioned that I probably had no business buying more yarn, as I had a few (actually, many) projects that needed finishing first. The lady looked at me kindly and said "I have to show you something." She went in the back room and pulled out a bag containing pieces of an enormous bedspread. "I show this to everyone who says they have too many unfinished projects," she told me. The bedspread was begun in the 1950s by a woman who is now in her 90s and unable to complete it. This was the most incredible work of knitting I have ever seen. (I really wish that I'd had my camera with me, but regrettably, I have no pictures to share.) There were wedges with a leaf design on the edge; six wedges were sewn together to form a hexagon, and the hexagons were put together like a honeycomb for the bedspread. There were hundreds of these wedges, done in an impossibly fine white cotton on size 1 needles (any of you readers out there who are knitters will understand the enormity of this task.) Thousands of hours had already gone into this bedspread. The yarn shop lady had agreed to finish the project, which meant sewing together all those wedges and crocheting a lace border all the way around, no small feat in itself.

A knitting project fifty years in the making. Imagine it! The 90-year-old woman had been storing it in her attic. Her five children, evidently clueless, were planning to THROW IT AWAY. When I heard that, I caught my breath. How could ANYONE, even a person completely un-experienced in fiber arts of any kind, fail to recognize the magnitude and skill of this project? Thankfully, someone rescued it and brought it to the yarn shop on Mother's Day, where all the knitters in the shop made an appropriately huge fuss, and the 90-year-old lady felt like a rock star. As well she should have.

On my way home, I thought, what will be my life's work? I don't plan to start any knitting projects that will take me five decades to [not even] finish. I hope to churn out lots of sweaters for Daniel, at least until he refuses to wear them (I'm shooting for kindergarten, but even that may be optimistic). I have a lot of little goals, but nothing monumental. I am a musician, but I just want to teach and perform music that I love. I don't want to be famous. I have a lot of creativity to unleash, but it comes in little squirts, like these blog entries and tie-dyed onesies (by the way, thanks for the suggestions, all, and I've got a pile of library books to help me out, too) and knitted socks and a stenciled Dr. Nick jacket for my brother-in-law, not 72" bedpsreads on size 1 needles.


Jenn Hacker said…
You could always knit sweaters in hideous colors with a large "D" on the front for Daniel (a la Mrs. Weasley from the Harry Potter books!) LOL. And I have a feeling he won't rebel against the sweaters until second or third grade. Jamie didn't start to notice what other kids were wearing (or telling me that other kids were making fun of what HE was wearing) until this past school year. Be forewarned: kids are MEAN!
Tooz said…
You have your life work--Daniel.
Jenn Hacker said…
Yep, Tooz is right. I am living proof that kids don't just miraculously grow up and stop needing help once they turn 18!

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