Knitting Nightmares

Finding Hope in a Pile of Ripped-Out Yarn

Ripping out yet another failed attempt at a knitted scarf, I’m cursing my inability to follow a simple knitting pattern—one that “real knitters” on the Ravelry site called “simple and straightforward.” Liars. I haven’t knitted in several years, but even my knitting neighbor says there’s something wrong with this pattern. That’s my small comfort, anyway.

As I pull the thread, watching row by ugly row disappear, I’m wishing other mistakes could be so easily unraveled. If only.

That time I shouted EFF YOU EFF YOU EFF YOU on the Zoom call when I thought my mic was muted? Rip that one out fast. How about the time I accidentally sent an email disparaging a certain legal client…to the client? Oh, please, rip, purge and obliterate that one. I’m now ripping with glee, just imaging all the possibilities.

Until, that is, I realize that this undoing is but a hop, skip and a jump back to Square One. If I want to make this lacy scarf pattern that I hope my daughter will love, I have to face the failures and start anew. Grrr. I despise repeating anything over and over—washing dishes comes to mind—and this is the third time I’ve ripped out every stitch on this project.

Few things, however, give me greater joy than a fresh start, a chance to wipe clear the slate of disappointments. I’m a student at heart, few things I love more than walking into a classroom on the first day of the new semester of Any Class 101. No one expects me to know anything, no tests have been failed, no homework forgotten, and no concepts eluding me. Yet.

But picking up this project anew is anything but a fresh start, given the knitting failures of the past three days. Even worse, it reminds me of all that’s unraveling in the world around me. Ecosystems collapsing, natural checks and balances gone akimbo. Seeing the comfy old “Life As We Knew It,” now lying in a tangle of loose threads at my feet guts me. Cue up the eulogies for coral reefs, frogs, rhinos, tigers and gorillas. For entire island nations submerging in rising seas. For coffee and chocolate. For anything we once considered predictable.

As long we are saying our good-byes, I can name a few things I’d like to see vamoose. Hating on people who look, love and vote differently than we do. Treating this beneficent planet like a cookie jar to raid and a waste bin for our careless discards. Ninety-nine digit passwords to access our email, bank accounts, social media, and liquor cabinets.

If we are going to burn it all down, unwilling to unplug the fossil fuel IV from our arteries, then I hope we learn from our mistakes in the next round, assuming there is one. I pray we embrace this opportunity to pick up the loose threads, choose a different pattern, and re-create our way of living on—with—this Planet Earth. Most days, that seems as farfetched as Lucy allowing Charlie Brown to kick the football, but this woke optimist dares to dream.


New Rules

Site Footer

  © Cheryl Leutjen