My Projects Will Never Be Perfect

I’m feeling really uncomfortable in a good way. I’ve run across a bunch of projects which I see are almost finished–among them, a white knitted sampler afghan, 17 of 20 squares done, which has lain dormant in my “handwerk”, sewing closet, for nigh on about ten years or so.  And to give myself a kick in the butt and get it finished I joined a knitting circle sponsored by our local Petaluma library. Six or so women gather in the morning once a week on Wednesdays to chat and encourage each other to knit away, and get stuff done. So today I dream about wearing heels and walking in a street with soft tar, my high heels getting stuck and sinking into the tar, requiring my extra effort and extra energy to pull each foot out and keep walking forward, ahead to my destination, which in the dream is apparently a bus stop, where I’ll await my bus to Brazil via New Brunswick. (New Brunswick is where I went to college at Douglass. The Brazil part? Maybe connotes fun, and Carnival to me, not sure.) Anyhow the tar part of the dream makes sense to me since inertia had set into the knitted quilt project, and even now seems somewhat daunting and overwhelming.  Inertia is defined in physics as “the tendency of a body to maintain its state of rest or uniform motion unless acted upon by an external force”. For this project that external force would be me– and require my knitting three more squares, crocheting an edging around all twenty blocks, blocking each one individually to size them equally, and then sewing all twenty squares together– a bit like pulling a shoe out of tar.

On the other hand, by knitting in a group I have a sense that I will get the project finished. I notice about myself that I want to succeed and finish the blanket so that I can show it to my group and receive their oohs, aahs and their congratulations. Somehow this also reminds me, since I’m writing my novel alone, will I ever get it done?

Further, my knitted blanket project is demonstrating to me a very important fact: if I want to complete a project, I don’t need to achieve perfection.  Although I strive for it I may  have to live with a lesser result. Amen.  In square number 18, the one I just finished this week, I had confused one row with another and reversed the stockinette pattern for a series of rows with the inadvertent result that it actually still looks fine if not better, but it’s no longer the perfect pattern that was called for. I could have ripped out the six rows and redone it, but figured heck, what is my goal here? Perfection or completion” and so I opted for completion. The square will function very well as part of the blanket. It will warm the body it covers, and at the same time will remind me, the creator, that nothing human made is ever perfect, a touch of humility which actually makes me feel less daunted (anxious) about the task of overcoming the inertia built into the long dormant project and finally putting an end to it by completing it. Lessen learned. I’m a social being and I surely ain’t perfect. Amen.

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