Unraveling

This weekend, I looked at a sweater I was knitting for myself, one that I’d been picking away at for a month but had started avoiding. I knew it wasn’t going to work out. I took a deep breath, took it off the needles and unraveled, all the way back.

It was painful, but also exhilarating.

I could have kept going, knowing that I hadn’t figured out the pattern; knowing that what I was making wouldn’t fit. I could have kept working at it, and maybe found a way to make it come out right. Tugging and pulling. Trying to resize, reshape. Trying to fix it somehow.

I’ve done that before. Kept going. Looked back and thought: THAT was the moment where I saw something was wrong. And with each stitch, I was further committed. I had more to lose.

Now I know that sometimes you need to tear everything apart and start again.

And now, a few days later, I’m almost as far along as I was in that month of work. I’m singing through it, stitch by stitch. My fingers are flying. I like what’s taking shape.

Metaphors are all around me, and knitting is full of them.

Nine years ago, when Lachlan was born, I was working full-time at a university. It was a good job in many ways, a series of good jobs, one after another, but they never felt like me. I kept looking for a better fit. Each time I moved, I made small alterations – a tug here, a pull there – trying to resize, reshape. But it was the wrong pattern all along. I never could figure out how to make it come out right.

And then, in a mess of love and hormones and sleeplessness, but also with great clarity, I decided to unravel the whole damn thing and start again. I took a deep breath and pulled on the thread.

It was painful, but also exhilarating.

At first, I looked back and mourned all the work that had gone into creating what I’d unraveled. Degrees. Work experience. What was it for? Was it all wasted? What had I done? What pattern would I follow now? Maybe it was too late to start again.

But I did. I was impatient at first: rushed, misread the pattern, dropped stitches, made mistakes.

Now, I think I’ve found a flow. Slowly, stitch by stitch, something new is emerging. I don’t know what it will look like yet, but I like what’s taking shape – the fibre, the outline, the colours, the texture, the fit. I’m trying it on as I go, adjusting when needed. I’m taking my time. I’m trusting the process. This project could take a lifetime to finish. But my heart is singing, stitch by stitch, joyful in the act of creation.

Unraveling was worth it.

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