Monday, February 8, 2010

Patience, thy name is Stubborn!

"There's no use being Irish if you can't be thick," my Dad told me with a chuckle on a number of occasions, not all of them appreciated. Stubborn I am; patient I am not. And I've long realized my lack of this virtue. It's golden, my mother frequently reminded me. And I won't quote some of what Dale has said as I have fidgeted, muttered, and banged my way through frustration.

In truth, I have even prayed over my failure, and God has left me impatiently awaiting a fix: until now, until my ever-patient younger sister Madeline reintroduced me to knitting during a visit last month. Years ago when my two oldest children were young, Madeline guided me through the making of two afghans before I set my needles down. Last month she guided me through the making of a scarf, and it occurred to me that I should become more ambitious and make a gift, a shawl for a dear lady I will be visiting in May.

Luckily it's still February. As I curse the delay of sunshiny days, the absence of even buds on the trees, the soggy ground, the filthy car that would be senseless to wash, the dour expression on the face in my mirror, the darkness even until past seven in the morning, the chill, the flat grey sky, the dog tracks on my living room floor, the power bill, and the grumblings of discontent that fill my mind, I begin my project and find I am grateful that I have three months to succeed in it.

For knitting is an in and out proposition...not so much the movement of the needles, I mean more the knit five rows in, tear six rows out. Indeed, I have been driven nearly to distraction. I have spent periods of three and four hours bumblingly testing my sanity.  And it's been a very near thing. Ask Dale.

But gradually I am making some progress. I'm learning to be smarter about tearing out and catching the added stitch that necessitates pulling out nine rows. I'm taking some of this with a grain of salt; it really doesn't require I tear my hair out as well even as it makes me feel like doing just that.

There's even some humor in the situation. For instance, Dale finds it hysterical that I am becoming the caricature of a grandmother. I have the white hair, the spectacles, and now, Lord help me, the knitting needles. But he restrains himself also because knitting needles have other uses, which is why, I suppose, the TSA in its high flying wisdom forbids taking them on board an airplane.

There's really no joy in tearing out. In some ways, it's rather masochistic. It really would be a whole lot easier to simply dump the whole mess and begin shopping for a gift. But I'm from New England (originally), and it's hard to take all of that out of a girl even in riotous Reno town. Remember, I am stubborn. So I stand over the trash can, and retract the hand that is about to dump in the yarn. I pull out the needles. I grit my teeth, and I begin again. Some might call this patience...but as you can see they would be wrong.

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