A while back, someone dropped off about six garbage bags of yarn for our knitting-for-others groups. As I was sorting through it—browns and tans for the Mother Bear Project, cottons for the chemo hat knitters, vibrant acrylics for the church ladies—I found an unfinished project, needles still in place halfway through the row. I was struck by such a sense of connection and sadness. Who was this knitter? Why hadn’t she finished the row? What happened to her as she was thinking, “Let me just finish this row.” From the era of the yarn and the needles, I guess the project was from an older knitter who’d either had to give up knitting or who’d died suddenly.
I know from experience that sometimes we aren’t allowed to finish the row—in our knitting or in our lives.
As I looked at this half-finished shawl, I had a choice—I could rip it out and let someone reuse the yarn. The yarn could be reincarnated into a new hat and scarf, a sweater, an afghan. Or I could leave it as is and let someone else rip it out. Or I could finish the row, finish the shawl, and pass it on.
That’s what I did, I finished the shawl that some other knitter had started. And I gave the shawl to a group that knits and crochets blankets and shawls for hospice. It lives on even as I’m sure the original knitter doesn’t. I designed the Carmarthan shawl (TG #134), adapting the stitch pattern used in that unfinished project.
If only we could all live long enough to knit up our entire stashes. Would that mean that if we kept buying yarn and knitting that we could convey eternal life upon ourselves?