Posted in Uncategorized

Betcha Didn’t Know I’m Writing My Memoir

I’ve been away from my Knit. Peace. Sanity. blog for a while. Not because I haven’t been writing, and not because I haven’t been knitting. But I’ve been asking myself what I want to blog about. 

Yes, the act of, the rhythm of, the results of knitting contribute to my peace and sanity. And I want my friends and readers to see the lovely (and sometimes not-so-lovely) fruits of my efforts. 

I Confess: I’m NOT a Knitting Blogger

When I started this blog, I was also writing a fictionalized version of my life story. I’d created my “plot skeleton” and my “character arcs” and even outlined many “scenes and sequels.” Then, at a writers conference, I was asked a question I could not answer: “How does it end?”

That’s when I concluded I’m not a fiction writer. I didn’t want to try to create a novel and concoct other characters to tell my story. I needed to write my memoir.

“Is your story so fascinating that people want to read it?” you ask.

I hope so. I’ve been encouraged by friends who’ve heard my rambling story—about my upbringing as a “nice Jewish girl” who went to college 500 miles from home, became a pot-smoking gymnast, got arrested for participating in a protest, graduated magna cum laude, but felt aimless and guilt-ridden until asking G-d if Jesus really is the Jews’ promised Messiah, would He please show me.

Or maybe it’s because of all the other things He has shown me and taught me and continues to teach me since that turning point in my life 47 years ago.

Whatever the reason, I am compelled to get serious about writing my story and the stories surrounding it. I hope I don’t get so serious that I can’t make readers laugh (or at least smile) along the way.

Another “Nightshift”

Just so you don’t think I lied when I said I’ve been knitting, here are a few pics from my latest version of Andrea Mowry’s “Nightshift” shawl pattern. This is my third version of this pattern, and I love how easy it is to knit (since I have the simple stitch progression memorized) as I listen to podcasts or watch TV.

I’m using Universal Yarn’s Classic Shades Sequins Lite, an acrylic-wool blend I found at Tuesday Morning, my go-to shop for quality yarns at prices I can afford. I don’t want local yarn shops to suffer any more than they already are, but I’m grateful I can usually find more than a couple of skeins of matching lots at TM.

I bought these fluffy, sparkly skeins with myself and my gray hair in mind, but then my granddaughter Lucy asked me to knit her a cape. She adored the Olivia’s Cape pattern I found, but then I realized it would cost me a hundred dollars to buy the yarn and probably take me nearly that many hours to knit. For a cape … for an eleven-year-old girl … who might wear it once or twice and decide it didn’t make her feel like Red Riding Hood after all.

So now I’m knitting the Nightshift shawl for Lucy, and if she doesn’t want to wear it, she can give it back to me, because I know that I will.

And finally, an excerpt.

Here’s a taste from a possible chapter of my book:

My Mother Was Born in Vienna: The Reason for Everything

I pressed my cheek against the second-class coach window, twisting my neck in a futile effort to glimpse the sky. The Alps loomed, nearly vertical and precariously close to the railroad tracks. I leaned back into my seat, but the shoulder cushion (obviously designed with someone taller in mind) forced my head forward. I tried to adjust my position, but only the balls of my feet touched the floor. In the seat next to mine, Lynnie’s head drooped toward one shoulder, long eyelashes (such long eyelashes!) effortlessly closed, her chest gently rising and falling.  

Maybe if I used my leather camera bag as a footrest—But I needed to get out my copy of Europe on $5 a Day. I’d stashed it with my passport next to my twin-lens Rolleiflex. Such an impractical camera choice for our travels. I never did master the art of moving in the opposite direction of the mirrored image in the viewfinder. 

I bent forward to unzip the case, knocking Lynnie’s knee with my elbow. 

“Sorry.” She barely stirred, and I continued feeling inside the dark suede interior. No book. No passport (with my Eurail pass inside!) Face flushing, heart pounding, I hefted the case onto my lap. I could hear my mother’s voice: “Only three days in Europe, and already you’ve lost your passport? That’s par for the course.”

Let me know if you want to read on.

Posted in Uncategorized

Laying a Foundation

A few months ago, my friend Pam and I were browsing in Pinetop Star when two cakes of Queensland Collection Uluru yarn called my name. Fluffy and yummy-looking, they seemed ideal for a simple striped-pattern triangle scarf I’ve made a few times with contrasting variegated yarns.

Then I watched Andrea and Andrew Doig’s Fruity Knitting podcast featuring Melanie Berg and her dramatic scarf patterns. Intrigued by their asymmetrical-triangle shape, yet feeling cheap, I resisted the urge to purchase a pattern using the 20% discount Fruity Knitting offered. Instead I decided to create a design of my own. How hard could it be? I watched a couple of YouTube videos on knitting asymmetrical triangle scarves, cast on and started knitting. What am I, nuts?

After establishing the triangle shape for several inches, I wondered how long the initial color block should be. Could I gauge it by studying photos on Ravelry? Should I guess at the length and width? Not wanting to waste my efforts or the yarn, I dropped Melanie’s “Winter on My Mind” pattern into my virtual cart and purchased it. Lo and behold! Melanie uses a slightly different method for creating asymmetrical triangles than the YouTube videos I watched. Whereas my triangle increases at one end on every row and decreases at the opposite end every other row, her triangle increases at one end every other row with NO decreases at the opposite end. Hmm.

I am no mathematician, but even I can see that the decreases along one edge cause it to lean inward toward the flared increase edge, while Melanie’s no-decrease edge creates more of a right angle at the bottom edge. My version isn’t horrible, and the colors and texture are so luscious, I know I’ll be happy with it when I’m through no matter what. Still, like my Sayre tank top (see preceding post), it’s not “right.” (But then, how can my own design not be right?)

I guess it can be “not right” if I compare it to the design I wanted to emulate without bothering to check how the designer accomplished her results. From my first row (casting on five stitches instead of four), I laid the wrong foundation.

This is Melanie Berg’s “Winter on My Mind,” the shape I’m aiming for. Magical thinking.

The Biblical Angle

Laying a proper foundation is important. Anyone who watches Fixer Upper can tell you that slight discrepancies in measurement and design can wreak havoc on a home-improvement project. Alan and I once remodeled a home in which a do-it-yourselfer former owner had left the upstairs unsupported when he enlarged the family room below. I’m glad our daughter didn’t do jumping jacks in her bedroom.

The apostle Paul laid a solid foundation for the church with the simple gospel message of the Messiah’s substitutionary death and resurrection. But he warned against factions and special interests competing for self-aggrandizement rather than working together for the common good. Here’s what he said to the fledgling Corinthian church:

Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10-11, NLT).

Or as the Orthodox Jewish Bible puts it (for my fellow Jewish believers):

According to the Chen v’Chesed Hashem having been given to me as a bannai chacham (wise builder), I laid a yesod (foundation), and another builds on it. But, let each one beware how he builds on it. For no other yesod other than the one that has been laid can be laid: Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach.

My Life Line

I’ve posted my question to Melanie Berg’s forum on Ravelry. Can I overcome this poor knitting design foundation and widen angles for the rest of my shawl? Or will I have to content myself with a more elongated, though still asymmetrical, triangle? Don’t lose sleep over this question, friends. But I’ll be happy to receive your comments or advice. I’ll post the results next time.

Posted in Uncategorized

Gauging and Ascending

Gauging

I just finished knitting Angela Hahn’s “Sayre Tank,” the first fitted garment I’ve made recently. I wanted to make something simple and lightweight for the seemingly endless Arizona summer and found some great prospects in Angela’s book Knitted Tanks and Tunics. It came out kind of cute, and I’m wearing it as I write this. But here’s the thing: It’s not “right.

Here’s what it’s supposed to look like:

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So what’s my problem?

Gauge.

Now lest you think I didn’t knit a test swatch or get my measurements right, let me assure you I did all that. I even washed and blocked my swatch, and went down a needle size for the lace. I knew the stitches would expand with washing and blocking, but I didn’t trust my calculations. Plus, I wanted to use up some yarn from my stash, which was probably the wrong yarn for this project because it tends to stretch so much.

I won’t let those clouds rain on my knitting parade, though. I’ll still enjoy wearing my Sayre tank. It’ll be great for yoga. And if I choose to knit another version, I’ll be sure to make a gauge swatch and trust my calculations.

Ascending

I’ve been spending some quiet time in the book of Psalms. Today I read Psalm 128 and noticed the heading “Song of Ascents.” I imagined 12-year-old Jesus and his family singing these songs with their fellow Nazarenes as they trekked from Galilee to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration, their numbers and voices swelling as they climbed closer to the City on a Hill. “Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways!”

They’d have sung these blessings over themselves:

You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots around your table.

Wow! I love this mental image of all those families on their 64-mile journey, encouraging one another, singing these blessings over one another—”It’ll be worth it, gang. God’s going to bless you for your efforts. Keep going. Yes, the kids are whining and complaining, but remember, they’re a blessing from the Lord.”

Years ago, our home fellowship group used to sing to one another, looking from face to face:

I love you with the love of the Lord
Yes, I love you with the love of the Lord.
I can see in you the glory of my King,
And I love you with the love of the Lord.

Some of our lives are full of uphill climbs. Behold, how good and pleasant it is when we encourage one another along the way.

Sometimes our prayers are like test swatches: “Lord, I’m thinking of heading out by myself on a long uphill journey.” If the Lord says, “Then you’d better wear different shoes and reconsider the ‘by myself’ part,” we might agree. We might compare our flip flops with our hiking boots, calculate which footwear will provide the best outcome, discuss our plans with a few friends. But if we choose to ignore His wise counsel, our friends’ concerns, and our own calculations, we need to prepare ourselves for results that don’t look quite like the picture in the pattern book.

Posted in Knitting Mistakes, perfectionism, Uncategorized

Spoke Too Soon

Yesterday morning, I bound off the front of “Smoke,” a Yumiko Alexander knitted lace top I’ve been working on since May. Elated, I posted a photo on my Instagram feed. After soaking the pieces, I laid them on my bed to block. Gently tugging the front into shape, I noticed a little slippage in a couple of stitches. Uh oh! What have we here?

UhOh

Not one, not two, but (by virtue of a “purl three together” in the stitch pattern) FIVE dropped stitches.

A non-knitter might say, “Just five dropped stitches—five out of 17,396? Who are you to complain about five nonconformists when all the other 17,391 were doing exactly what they were supposed to do?”

I’ll tell you who I am—the knitter, that’s who! And I say those stitches were not supposed to slide undetected off my needle and camouflage themselves among the good little stitches surrounding them until my project was complete. But that’s the rub—they did! Leaving a hole that threatened to swallow the entire midsection of the front like the Sarlacc Pit in Return of the Jedi. GAAGH!

I Googled “fix dropped stitch after bind off” and learned there’s no simple fix for this problem. But I could use a threaded tapestry needle to rework the stitches and hide the ends on the wrong side.

With my stubby thumbs, unsteady hands, eye floaters, astigmatism and lifelong inability to draw a straight line, I lack confidence in my fine motor skills. Between praying and holding my breath, I was able to pick up those stitches and tuck them back into place in the pattern. I’m sure my first knitting mentor, Ada Evans, and Yumiko could detect the anomaly in the pattern, but I’m fairly confident I’ll be able to wear it without people questioning me about the gaping hole in the middle.

I’m ridiculously perfectionistic. Even when I got the highest grade in a class, I’d kick myself over the answer I missed. But there can be no perfection in hand knitting. The yarn itself is full of inconsistencies in color and texture. That’s part of its beauty. My stitch tension will vary depending on the time of day and my mood and whether or not I’ve had a glass of wine or an argument with my husband (but don’t tell him I said so).

As my daughter-in-law JJ sings in her song “Control,”  “Perfection has a price and I cannot afford to live that life/It always ends the same/A fight I cannot win.”

The harder I work at achieving perfection, and the more of a burden I place on myself to pass through life without making mistakes, the more likely I will be to goof up. It just happens—sometimes even after I’ve congratulated myself for a job well done and bound off.

But I have found perfection in Someone who accepts me despite my deficits. Or perhaps because of them. The sooner I acknowledge them, the more quickly He can repair the dropped stitches in my life, tuck in the ends, and free me to move on. We’ll both know the damage was there, but unless I choose to point them out to others, those flaws and imperfections remain our secret, hidden in Him.

Posted in Gift Giving, Knitting Gifts, Sisters

Surprises

I love surprises. Well, let me amend that. I love the idea of surprising someone with a special gift.

However, I’m terrible at surprising people. Once I’ve created or purchased that special surprise gift, I struggle to maintain secrecy.

So here I go, revealing the surprise gift I’ve been working on for my sister Bobbi, whom I love dearly and who will be more surprised when she reads my blog than she will when she receives her “surprise” in the mail. I haven’t blogged about this project while knitting it because (duh!) it’s a SURPRISE. But now that it’s all bound off and blocked, here I go, giving away the big reveal to my “thousands” of readers (including Bobbi).

The Yarn

I purchased this lovely Elsebeth Lavold Bamboo yarn a couple of years ago because I loved the soft texture and drape of it, and it was ridiculously cheap at Tuesday Morning. I knew it would knit up beautifully. But I paid no attention to the fact that the beige tone is one I cannot wear near my face because it washes out my complexion. However, I have seen this color on my sister, and I know she wears it well.

Erica Schlueter’s “Mesh Wrap” pattern was perfect for this yarn. The boxed eyelet pattern stitch was interesting enough to keep me engaged yet simple to memorize and knit in the car or while watching TV. My only regret is that I didn’t have one more skein to make it just a skosh longer.

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But I’m sending Bobbi a lovely wood button with the last bit of yarn. The pattern has lots of eyelet holes, and she can sew on the button wherever it will work for her if she wants to make it into a capelet.

A few months ago, I traveled to California for a writing retreat with my friend Roxana. She used a pink selfie stick to take a few shots of us together. At the end of our stay, she presented it to me as a remembrance of our time. Did I mention how much I love surprises?

I used the stick today to shoot some pics of myself modeling the mesh wrap. I had a few duds, but some of the results surprised me. It’s amazing what having an extra foot or two of reach can do for a selfie.

It’s Genetic

My dad never bothered to remember anyone’s birthday. But he loved surprising people with gifts, too. If he saw the perfect gift for one of us, he’d purchase it and present it immediately with a smile and a “Happy Birthday!”  It didn’t matter to him if that birthday was six months away. He reveled in the joy of giving the gift. He displayed the truth of Acts 20:35: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

So “Happy Birthday, Bobbi! Enjoy the Mesh Wrap!”

 

Posted in Old Friends, Rewriting

Different But Same

Knitting the same pattern with a different yarn is like reuniting with an old friend. She’s similar to the way she was, yet changed, matured (perhaps), or otherwise affected by her life’s circumstances. It may take time to get back into our old rhythm, but if the friendship was deep and true, we’ll catch up soon.

Maybe I’m stretching the analogy too far, but I am enjoying the easy familiarity of Yumiko Alexander’s “Smoke.” It’s her sleeveless version of the “Lichen” pattern I knitted over the winter. For Smoke, I’m using Rowan’s Fine Art, a blend of merino wool, kid mohair, and mulberry silk in gradations of brown and rust. When I knitted Lichen, I was careful to work on it only in the morning hours when I was alone at home with absolutely no other distractions. I was ever fearful of losing my place in the 9-row repeating pattern.

This go-round, I’m less like a girl on a first date and more like an old married lady, comfortably familiar with my partner. I know what to expect of the pattern’s reversals as the stockinette morphs from right to wrong side with every repeat. I know where to weave in the lifeline so I can progress, assured of my safety net, and confident I won’t crash and burn should I make a mistake.

I’ve been working on this project at a friend’s house in Flagstaff, where I’ve had the pleasure of drinking my morning coffee on her lovely patio for the small price of watering her plants. My husband left for Nepal on May 22. The day I dropped him at the airport, the temperature in Phoenix was topping 100º. I packed my car and drove to Flag, where the thermometer registered 66º as I pulled into the driveway. I’ve enjoyed a few days with a friend and lots of alone time. I’ve “FaceTimed” with my husband several times through Kathmandu’s sketchy Internet connections and brownouts.

I’ve also rewritten the first chapter of my novel switching from first person to third person. Yesterday I decided I needed to change my main point-of-view character from an 11-year-old boy to the boy’s harried mother. Today I did a lot more rewriting and ended up right where I left off yesterday. Is this progress?

My writing involves its own version of unknitting. I do lots of ripping out and reworking, covering ground I’d thought I was done traversing. But that’s what writing is all about — editing, rethinking, rewriting. At one point today, I’d moved one sentence around so many times, I was afraid it would never find its place in Chapter 1. And then, it slipped in right where it belonged.

Will it stay there? I don’t know. Tomorrow I’m heading home. Maybe in the Phoenix heat, the whole chapter will suffer a meltdown.

In The Karate Kid, Mr. Miyagi remarks that Daniel and his girlfriend are “different but same.” I like Daniel’s response: “Different but different.” So far, my story is different but basically the same. When I’m through, I hope it’s different but better.

 

Posted in Knitting Mistakes, Old Friends, Praying for Others

Almost Done (with Apologies to Yumiko)

 

Alan and I returned last night from a weekend reunion in southern California with our old (1974-81) Athletes in Action gymnastics team. Alan instigated the gathering after he and three other former teammates visited Bee Thoma, who is battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma, in March. One of those friends, Paul Tickenoff, has advanced ALS. Another teammate, Jack Fischer, broke his neck in 1979 while attempting a difficult parallel bar dismount.

Given the serious nature of three of our dear friends’ health, one might suppose our gathering was somber and funereal. Quite the opposite, we laughed and loved on one another, recalling stories from four decades ago. After spending Saturday morning and afternoon reminiscing, all ten of us plus Bee’s wife, Lin, and Paul’s wife, “Chilly,” piled into cars and drove an hour to visit Jack at a nursing care facility. Thirty-eight years as a quadriplegic have taken their toll. Jack suffered excruciating pain during our visit. Yet his smile lit the room, and his tears of joy melted our hearts.

Each of these former nationally ranked athletes, including my husband, would count their medals “wood, hay, and stubble” compared to the glory just around the bend. What a privilege it was to be — just be — with them all.

And these women of God — true saints, full of grace and beauty and patience and perseverance and hope and love. And the strength that comes from brokenness. My heart is still full.31507061_10156296606794231_7893134211886874624_n

Our former AIA gymnastic teammates and their spouses gather around Jack Fischer’s bed to share love and prayers.

And now, about knitting …

We set out for Pasadena Saturday morning, and I settled in for the 380-mile drive with both sleeves of my Lichen top on circular needles for the second time. (As you may recall, I made them different sizes the first go-round.) Somewhere around the Ontario airport, I bound them off, happy I’d be able to start piecing the top together during our weekend at a VRBO townhome.

Sunday afternoon, after all but four of our group had departed, I started seaming the shoulders. Yumiko Alexander’s lace pattern for this project has an interesting way of reversing halfway through each 18-row repeat. So the right and wrong sides are tricky to distinguish. Need I say more?

While chatting with Gary and Leigh, I meticulously stitched the right side of the front to the wrong side of the back. How many mistakes can I make in one project?

Perfectionist that I am, I castigated myself for falling into the distracted-knitting trap once again. I should know better by now. Didn’t I just blog about this subject a few posts ago?

Note the subtle differences between the front and the back. Ha!

What to do? What to do? Rip out the shoulder seams? So much work! It’s not that I mind redoing the joins, but I don’t know how much wear and tear my cotton/linen blend yarn can take at this point.

I decided to talk to Yumiko about it … in my head.

“Yumiko,” I said, “I’m thinking of just leaving the front and the back seamed the way they are. I don’t think anyone will notice. And if they do, I’ll just say, ‘I’m going for an asymmetrical look.’ What do you think?”

“That’s a terrific idea,” she said in my head (very distinctly, I might add). “Go for it.”

So that’s what I’ve done. Thanks, Yumiko!

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I’m modeling the Lichen top with one sleeve set in.

In honor of this occasion, I composed a little ditty, which follows:

Knitting in the Car

(To be sung to the tune of “Singin’ in the Rain”)

Knitting in the car

I’m knitting in the car

My needles a-clicking

I wonder how far

My project will grow

Till back I must go

And rip out

What I’ve knitted in the car.

 

 

Posted in Knitting Mistakes

Pride Goeth Before …

Lichen Oops Sleeves Best

Look closely at this photo of my Lichen top front, back and sleeves laid out for blocking on the bed. Use your keen powers of observation. Notice anything (ahem) different between the two sleeves? (They’re short because the top is oversized with dropped shoulders.)

I will spare you further brain strain in case you haven’t already caught it — They are different sizes! Ghaagh!

Last night I bound off while watching Victoria with my husband. I was proud of myself for casting on both sleeves simultaneously and working them side-by-side so my stitches would match in tension and size. (I confess I worked said cast-ons while riding in the back seat of a car with three good friends on our way to a women’s retreat last weekend.)

Normally, when I can’t give 100 percent of my attention to my knitting, I’ll make an easy scarf or cowl with a simple stitch pattern. But as I cast on these sleeves in the car, I thought — pridefully I suppose — “Look how far I’ve come with my knitting to be able to work this tricky pattern in the car while talking with friends.”

I knitted this nine-row repeating pattern not only while talking with friends, but also while listening to inspirational retreat messages, visiting with my son and daughter-in-law and at home watching television with my guy.

Admittedly, I wondered a few times which sleeve I was supposed to be on. Twice I slipped all the stitches of one sleeve to the other end of my cable needles because I’d gone back and forth on one rather than moving to the second sleeve after working a row on the first. But, hey, I was sure it was all going to work out fine in the end.

This morning I soaked all the pieces and laid them out for blocking. One sleeve seemed longer when I pulled them out of their soak. But not until I laid them out on a towel did I realize I’d cast on an entire extra 12 stitches (one pattern repeat) on one sleeve! Yikes!

I’ve considered remaking just one sleeve, but I think a wiser choice will be to follow through with my original plan and knit two new sleeves simultaneously so they MATCH. Of course, I will count the number of 12-stitch sections I cast on. And pay close attention to getting that sum the same for BOTH sleeves.

I’d hoped by now to be crocheting the neck edging. But so it goes. Everyone makes mistakes, right?

This afternoon, Alan and I drove a half-hour to Symphony Hall for a performance commemorating the 50thanniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. We parked and walked a couple blocks in 90º heat. My sweet husband turned to me and said, “Do I have the tickets?” Obviously, he didn’t. Back to the car he went while I crossed the street to Symphony Hall. Guess what? The doors were locked. It was dark inside. I called Alan.

“Are you sure you have the date right?”

“Yeah, isn’t today the 22nd? Oh no, I guess it’s not.”

Yes, we all make mistakes. So let’s go easy on ourselves and on others. Our momentary lapses and inconveniences do not outweigh the negative effects of criticism, self-flagellation and broken relationships. And how could I berate my dear husband who surprised me with tickets to the symphony while knowing I’ll spend the next week making two new sleeves for my Lichen top?

Posted in Grief, Knitting Gifts, Praying for Others

GriefShare Knitting

On July 22, 2010, Alan and I lost our firstborn, 32-year-old son, Josh, to colorectal cancer. A few months later, we attended our first GriefShare meeting. If you’re ever swallowed by sorrow following the death of a loved one, I hope you, too, find a GriefShare group near you.

These support group meetings educated Alan and me to the process of grief. They allowed us to cry freely and to openly share our emotions and experiences as we worked our way through grief’s twisting, dark passageways. Later, having received the benefit of the program’s healing, Alan brought it to our church, where we’ve walked alongside many others in their grief journey. He’s now trained others to facilitate the sessions, but we still attend when we can.

Initially, I took copious notes, but as we repeated the series, I brought simple knitting projects to meetings. After seven years of GriefShare, I still benefit from the videos, but now knitting keeps my hands occupied.

As our facilitator pressed Play when we began the series last fall, I cast on a new project using two strands of a mohair blend and one of a variegated silk blend. As our group members shared their stories, I knitted and prayed for them. As the weeks progressed and my linen-stitch scarf grew in length, I grew in the conviction that this project was meant for one of that group’s members.

I recently joined the ends to finish the scarf as an “infinity” cowl. Just in time for the Phoenix temps to start butting into the 90s. But even if she doesn’t use it until next November, I hope that when I present this cowl to Christina, she’ll know how prayed-for she has been. And I hope that someday she, too, will comfort others with the comfort with which she herself has been comforted by God (2 Corinthians 1:4).

Posted in Uncategorized

Decisions, Decisions

LichenFrontBack

Guess what this photo illustrates?

My fantastic progress on my Yumiko Alexander “Lichen” top? Well, yes, but—

The amazing growth in quality of my knitting skills as I’ve worked on Yumiko Alexander designs? Well, yes, but—

Oh! You mean how beautifully the first six inches of the front matches the back? You’re getting warmer.

See that upright plastic sleeve in the background? The one with the pink index card tucked inside? Those are my directions. The pink card displays my abbreviated notes for the pattern stitches in each row of a 9-row repeating pattern.

Below the card, the directions for the front read, “Work same as back to underarm.”

Aha! Same as back! I know what “same as back” means.

Or do I?

That’s what I asked myself this morning as I remembered starting the back. I had emailed Yumiko to clarify a direction that now swam into my frontal lobe, tapping at a few of my memory cells.

“Hello,” I said. “I think I’m supposed to remember something here.”

I pulled the instructions from their plastic sleeve and looked under the pink index card at the directions for the back.

“Cast on 98 stitches. Purl one row.”

Without looking at the front, I knew I did not purl one row before starting the pattern repeat. But still I checked, just in case I happened to do it when I wasn’t looking.

Sure enough, the purl row wasn’t there. And guess what? It’s still not there.

Look at the photo. Can you see the purl row’s not-being-there-ness? It’s utterly AWL, that is, “Absent With Leave,” because I LEFT IT OUT!

Hence my dilemma. What to do? Decisions, decisions.

Do I listen to Ada Evans’ voice in my head? Ada was my first knitting mentor, who insisted every mistake must be corrected. Rip it out, go back to where you made the mistake (in this case, the very beginning) and make it right. Am I going to listen to that insistent, 85-year-old voice?

HECK NO! I’m going to figure out another way to fix this thing.

Who’s going to check out the hem of my Lichen top (while I’m wearing it) anyway? I think maybe when I get to the end, I’ll crochet a border around the bottom and cover up the whole cast-on edge. This is NOT a mistake—it’s an opportunity to exercise CREATIVITY. Right? Of course, right!

Moses gave a big speech to the children of Israel as they prepared to enter the Promised Land. He told them about the blessings and the curses, and wrapped it all up saying, “Choose LIFE!” As a recovering perfectionist, I’ve learned that mistakes don’t equate to death. And in giving myself grace to make them, I hear another voice in my head. It says, “You’re free! Free to make mistakes and to find creative fixes for them.”

Don’t believe me? Here’s another Voice you can trust: “With people it’s impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).