The weather finally got cold, although it was warm today for November, but last weekend I decided I really needed a scarf. I felt just cold enough to want one, and I looked around among the fluffy hand-knits of past years and did not see anything that felt substantial enough. I wanted something more like the scarf I made for The Princess two years ago, a knit-in-the-round scarf, therefore of double thickness.
In my stash I had a skein of Cherry Tree Hill yarn of absolutely gorgeous pink and blue and lavender. I spent an evening winding it into a ball, which of course meant snarling it along the way any number of times, and then I got it on the needles (size 8 double pointed) and began. I had to guess at the number of stitches and eventually settled on 48.
I don’t often make things for myself. I have one pair of bad socks and another pair of much better ones. I have a sweater intended for Snowman that was re-formatted, so to speak, when he didn’t like it (including unraveling sleeves and knitting them again). And, yes, there are scarves and hats around, but most of the former are flimsy, and most of the latter just didn’t turn out as hoped for (and some may be finding themselves unraveled this winter and turned into higher and finer creations).
I love knitting. I love the colors and the textures, the decision-making and the execution, the finishing and the presenting. I love making something beautiful (or I hope beautiful) with my own hands.
In planning the scarf I look ahead to a winter in which walks outdoors will remain part of my life. You can’t walk outside in our climate without the appropriate gear, and I am going to be sure to have it. It’s a commitment to care for myself.
I’m also reflecting on the human relationships that require some gear to be faced, whatever the season of the year, but perhaps particularly at the holidays. Whether at church or in a family setting, I will have contact with people who are stressed, who are overwhelmed, who may wish not to have me around for perfectly good reasons of their own. I will negotiate event-planning and execution, whether it’s worship or a family party, and in all those circumstances, I hope to strive for something beautiful.
Now, I realize that there are times when I want to contribute or create that beauty to prove a point about my worthiness, to the other person or even to myself. I have a tendency to rework old patterns, even though they never really suited me in the first place, sort of like a pair of gloves you make again because you know they fit, even if you never really liked them.
But I am trying to live more consciously, so I will knit something beautiful not only to warm me when I am walking a dog in the woods or circling the path around the boulevard. I will make something beautiful to remind myself that I have made a choice to care for myself at this season of the year, despite its tensions and demands and temporary insanity. I will wear something beautiful, embracing myself with intentions of love and joy and embodiment, the spirit of the incarnation.