A continuation of the post "Making of a Sweater", this tells the rest of the story. The picture on the left is my pattern book, after knitting the sweater for four years, which is now in pages, and the rest of the yarn I had left from the skeins I got. (A tip that I share with my students, but didn't heed myself: copy the pattern for yourself so you can conveniently carry it around, in case you lose it, or if you want to mark it, and to preserve your original. )
I am ecstatic to have finished this and thank you to everyone for following my journey!
Finishing of a Sweater
I finally did it. Solved world hunger you may ask? Well, no I answer. Created world peace? Repaired the health care system? Make the Cubs win the World Series-well they did that all by themselves…
No, none of these monumental things did I accomplish. Yet, in so many ways, the finishing of my sweater seems somehow to be a feat nearly as insurmountable and yet here we are! I finished my sweater after a long four years.
Now that I have finished it, I am not taking it off. I have worn it for five days straight. I hope my husband doesn’t mind looking at that sweater because he is going to forget what the rest of my clothes look like. That sweater fits so nicely, is such a fun breakout color from my usual shades, and is uber warm. We’ve had a dip into deep winter temperatures and it’s been my lifesaver. I don’t think I’m taking it off til Spring!
I learned several life lessons with this sweater, and now that I’m on the other side, I feel as though sharing these lessons might be helpful. Whenever we come out on the other side, we have tales to tell of the journey.
First off, do not put down something you love for a long period of time. My beloved sweater had many long spells where I did not pick it up for months and even years at a time. It was so bad, that at one point when I had an inkling to work on it, I could not find the pattern book. How motivating is that when you lose the pattern book? I didn’t remember where I left off on my knitting and then I couldn’t even remember where I put the pattern to try to find out where indeed I did leave off! Pitiful I say! But how many times do we discover that it is harder to get restarted on something after a long dry spell? So many things can get into our lives to distract us from things we love. When we do try to go back to them, sometimes it can be exhausting, frustrating, time consuming or confusing to pick up the pieces. Even if you are doing what you love in a much smaller capacity, try to maintain some involvement as time goes on. Getting started from stopped is much harder than picking up speed on car already in motion!
Secondly, I realized that a big project is really just many small parts put together. When we see big tasks, we tend to get hit with the feeling of being overwhelmed by its’ vastness. Sure a project can be big, but looking closely will reveal that everything can be broken down into smaller pieces. The sweater was in fact comprised of four pieces- the body, two sleeves and the finishing job. When we look at a task this way, it doesn’t seem so big. How many things in life are like this? Small mundane things and really huge life issues are both easier to tackle in small pieces. Cleaning the house for company, or taking in a life-threatening illness of a loved one. Take it in small bites, one moment at a time, and you will come to see that those moments flow into hours, then days, then months and you are making it through.
Lastly, the immense feeling of accomplishment is incredible! The gratification in a task conquered is wonderful. The satisfaction of putting on something that I created with my own two hands, and know that it makes me feel proud, is priceless. I feel like Rocky Balboa when he reaches the top of those stairs and punches his fist into the air in triumph. I feel like with this conquered, I can do anything! It’s such an exhilarating encouragement to find a major obstacle overcome. It’s empowered me to finish other projects that have been on the back burner.
There is a mental block when unfinished business is left. Like a computer processing a background program, I believe we might be spending energy on many things that we should resolve and live our lives lighter. Unfinished projects. Discarded dreams. Unforgiveness and grudges. Some are easy to tackle and others painful and deep. The Bible talks about how hard it is to go around pulling a speck from a brother’s eye when we have a plank of wood in our own eye. What a metaphor! When those things are cleared from our vision, imagine how much clearer we can see. How much farther we can dream. How much more we can recognize and respond to our own hearts and others around us.
This sweater has taken me on a journey. Looking back at the first reflections I wrote nearly four years ago, this sweater has been knit on while I was a girlfriend, then fiancé, and now a wife. I have learned a great deal about life in these past few years, both in my understanding of who I am as an individual and how I can grow into these new roles in life. Change always comes, and through it we grow in understanding how to become more like the person God wants us to be. I can point out places I’ve been with this sweater, people I’ve been with, memories I’ve made and mistakes I’ve made. Yet at the end of the day, the overall picture is something warm and practical, something that makes me smile proudly.
Isn’t that what our life should be a picture of? A life well lived is full of reflections and memories. We as humans should doing more than just checking off calendar days from cradle to grave. We have a purpose to live a life reflective of our Creator’s grace and beauty, while using our talents and gifts to bless the world around us. In the end, I hope my life is something that makes Him smile proudly.
So as I fold up my sweater tonight and tuck it away for another day, I’m tucking these treasured wisdoms in my heart. Everything has a story to tell us if we have the ears to hear!