I wish life were as simple as knitting – as easily repaired, as easily ripped-out and started over.

I’ve been teaching myself to knit since early November, and I enjoy it – but my early scarves were ripped out several times and started over until I got the knack of it. They were all in a simple garter stitch (all-knit). A “fun fur” scarf can be measured in terms of a few hours; a real scarf, 6″-8″ wide, in days. It took a couple of weeks to work up the wide shoulder throw –

I just ripped out a skein and a half of work, representing more than two weeks’ work, on an afghan. It’s my first effort at stockinette stitch – alternating rows of knit and purl. Purl isn’t as hard as I thought it would be –

but it’s a big project – I cast off 250 stitches on size 9 circular needle – and somewhere in there I dropped a few stitches, and got distracted and went backwards instead of forward and just generally made a MESS. So I ripped it all out and later this evening I will sit and carefully cast on another 250 stitches and start over… for the fourth time.

If only life were so simple. Yes, it’s a nuisance to rip out a skein and a half of yarn and to anticipate my fourth start with 250 stitches to cast on (my least favorite part of a project, so far); but I can start over, and the final project will not reveal my beginner ineptness, my careless mistakes… at least, not nearly so flagrantly as my earlier efforts. When I am done (in five years, at this rate!) I will have an afghan that can drape across the back of my couch and any visitor to my home can admire.

But life – there is no unravelling life mistakes or re-knitting a bad row. We have to go on, knitting and purling, adding what we hope will be good fixes (but even fixing is an advanced skill) and, no matter what we do, a careful eye will always be able to pick out the flaws in our work. There will be no perfect, unflawed life tapestry – we can only hope and pray that our mistakes will be blended in with growing skill and a lot of love and faith, and so give depth and contrast to the whole. I hope my good stitches, in future efforts, will make up for the dropped ones, the mis-counted ones – even though the good work can’t un-do the bad.

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