For example, I've wanted to knit an Umaro blanket since Jared Flood first published the pattern years ago.
|Photo Credi: Original pattern image ©Jared Flood|
I've been waiting for the right time to cast on a project of this size (blankets are big, yo) but also waiting for the right yarn to cross my path. Some of this yarn was an impulse purchase when one of the yarn shops in Lafayette was closing. It's the right weight for the blanket, but I bought small amounts of three colors rather than enough of one color for the whole blanket.
For more than a year, I pondered how to introduce color work into this pattern. Horizontal or vertical stripes would be at odds with the lines created by the motifs. I like the idea of diagonal stripes of color, and over the holidays I pulled out the pattern chart to decide where it would be feasible to change colors.
None of the possibilities I came up with excited me because I was seeing this as a variant of tumbling blocks. One day while staring at the pattern, my focus shifted and I saw it in a new way: as cables on a seed stitch ground rather than a field of cubes. I have a much better plan now, and all I had to do was look long enough and let my eyes relax.
Shifting perspective can be hard, though.
My grief counselor and I have a recurring conversation that goes something like this:
Kitty: So, how was your week?
me: I did a hard thing this week. I submitted the final stuff for estate task of the week.
Kitty: That must feel good. What did you do to celebrate?
me: Well, I checked it off on my list. ...hmmm... Then I did some knitting with Netflix. But now I'm thinking about next estate task. I'm really not looking forward to that one because reasons.
Kitty: Kate, you've accomplished so much, you need to pause and celebrate. You deserve the rest.
me: Yeah, I guess, but there's so much more to do. The list is still so long!
Kitty wants me to see the accomplishments behind me, but all I can see are the things ahead, the obstacles between me and beginning.
On the one hand, the fact that I see all the tasks ahead keeps me moving forward.
On the other hand, sometimes their sheer quantity and complexity is paralyzing. At those times, I remember Anne Lamott's advice to take it bird by bird.
On the one hand, pausing my relentless march forward to look back and celebrate accomplishments reinforces confidence in my ability to do things myself and to gather the right help.
On the other hand, inertia. (A well-intentioned pause is still a pause.)
So, although I am usually the sort of person who sits on the fence seeing both sides of any given question (blessed are the peacemakers!), in the case of my own life this last year, I have kept my face firmly pointed forward, focusing on the story of the tasks ahead. Although this discipline has been useful, I am beginning to remember the danger of a single story, and I am beginning to really hear Kitty's call to pause and celebrate.
When I've settled in to this new perspective, I'll let you know what I see.