women of a certain age are like sunflowers; they know how to turn their faces to the sun.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Manageable Growth

"The fatal metaphor of progress, which means leaving things behind us, has utterly obscured the real idea of growth, which means leaving things inside us. "

-Gilbert K. Chesterton

One of my good friends has this explanation for the forgetfulness that often plagues those of us who have arrived at, ahem, a certain age:

"I think the brain is like a computer, storing everything we input during our lives. As we get older, the brain gets fuller and fuller and it takes us longer and longer to access the information we are seeking, because there are just so many more files to go through."

I'm not absent minded; I'm just out of disc space.

Experts have long debated the nature versus nurture issue:

Are we a product of our genetics?

Or are we a product of our experiences?


To both.

Let's take a look at a ball of yarn. (And why wouldn't we? We are knitters, are we not?)

The yarn has certain characteristics when it comes to us in its pristine state. It has a percentage of wool, cotton, bamboo, or other fiber content. It has a certain weight and thickness. It is plied, boucled, tweeded, felted, or otherwise finished. It is a certain color. These factors comprise the "genetics" of the yarn.

But, as soon as it hits our hot little hands, we begin to modify it. We wind it from a skein to a ball. We choose a needle size. We choose a desired garment. We choose a pattern. We choose a stitch.

And as we move forward, shaping the yarn into the stuff of our dreams, it becomes more than it was when it was in the LYS, on the shelf, in the warehouse, or at the back of our stash shelf closet room (truth in advertising.)

The bare bones of its genetics are fleshed out by our vision. The yarn comes to us in pristine (and dare we say, generic?) condition. Unless you spin your own and that is a whole 'nuther post in and of itself...

Our choices shape the final results; our experiences accumulate in the garment until it becomes an expression of love and hope - something uniquely and completely ours.

Likewise, our lives.

We may inherit blue eyes, or dark skin, or flaming carrot red hair. We may have our grandfather's wit and our mother's intelligence.

But, as anyone who has ever raised a child could tell you, we are so much more than that. We are each singular, each unique, each a masterpiece (even if we have a few dropped stitches somewhere in our checkered past.)

I often ask Baby Boy if he regrets any of the challenges he has overcome in his life. His response is always the same.

"If I had not gone through them, I would not be the person I am today. So, who am I to argue with the experiences that brought me here?"

This is growth in the finest and truest sense of the word.

Unlike snakes, we do not shed our skins. We cannot put things behind us. Not if we want to grow.

We must instead take things within us and build upon them. Just like a sweater forms atop a solid ribbing and alongside a stable selvage stitch.

As our triumphs, our hopes and dreams, and yes, even our failures and mistakes accumulate, they form a solid core:

A core comprised of: the memories of who we once were, the realities of who we are in this very present moment, and the pulsing heart of who we hope to become in the future.

I think manageable growth is an oxymoron. It implies a level of control that we will not only never fully achieve, but, in reality, should not even aspire to.

I believe in untramelled, freely-given, flexible, unmanageable growth, which is a gift from God, wrapped simultaneously in grace and sorrow, tied up with a big bow of common humanity.

But enough unsolicited advice. You didn't come here for the philosophy. You came for the knitting...

Here are some pictures of recent growth out here on the sunflower farm, for your viewing pleasure...

Jazzed Up (Lady Sings the Blues) has a few more repeats on her. (Don't we all, honey?) Look for her release sometime next week.

Poinsettia is 32 rows short of publication. I'll finish her up and block tonight. Let me have tomorrow (Wednesday) to update my files, put together the pattern, and compile the mailing list. She should be heading out to all the Garden Varietals on Thursday. Check your email, ladies!

And yesterday's mail drop included my first shipment of Malabrigo Silky Merino from Yarnzilla. The skein that spoke to me (No, really! It practically shouted, "Pick me! Pick me!" You would've thought it was a contestant on Let's Make a Deal!) was the Madre Perla, a lovely shade of dusty rose/lavender. I couldn't wait to cast on. Something delicate, something airy, something befitting the softness of the fiber and color.

So last night, once I had finished my allotted repeats of Poinsettia and other work, I turned on Dancing With the Stars (my guilty pleasure) and played. And lo and behold, the second time around (that, like, NEVER happens!) I had a pattern I loved.

This is Rose Buddy...

Why Rose Buddy? Because:
  • The lace pattern looks like rose buds to me.
  • It's a pun
  • It's snarky
  • It's witty
(And there are already about a gazillion patterns titled Rosebud on the market. I checked.)

An easy eight stitch repeat. Sounds like another aperitif in the works.

Now, enough is enough. It's time to get back to Poinsettia.

After all. people are waiting...


Lucia said...

Grant is a singer, and when evaluating singers we often talk about the difference between instrument and musicianship. What we're born with, how we develop it, and what songs we choose to sing are all different matters.

In the world of music, I was issued one of those colorful toy xylophones, so I play with different strings.

Rosebuddy is gorgeous! (Names drive me crazy.)

Anonymous said...

Susan, darling, I want to wrap you up and protect you forever. You are a brilliant designer. Love ya!

dragon knitter said...

don't feel bad, DwtS is my guilty pleasure, too.

i like rose buddy. i think that one may be in my future!

Donna Lee said...

Rose Buddy, tee hee. I love it. And the pattern looks easy enough for even my over-filled computer disc of a brain.

Danielle said...

I can't speak for anyone else, but I thoroughly enjoy is when you wax philosophical. I have a feeling that we would be bossom buddies had we met in person! Of course the knitting is always a plus! :)

La Cabeza Grande said...

Amazing how you weave the thread of knitting into life.

And, oh SHINY! Pretty! I love the Silky Merino.