Recently I became the inheritee of some yarn. The yarn and beginnings of numerous creations belonged to a Hope Hospice patient that had succumbed to whatever predatory pestilent pissant betrayed the last years of her life. I never met the lovely lady—and I am sure she was lovely from her inherited knittings –but as I unpacked the yarn and creations in their various stages of completion I could only think how the stages of life pass us by.
One particular unfinished project caught my eye for multiple reasons. As I looked at the skein of yarn all I could think of was how I would never buy such a color. It was a variegated color of mid-tone pastel pink, purple, pistachio, coral, and blue all running into one another like a melted sherbert disaster. But as I moved the skein there was one finished sock and God forbid an unfinished one. Not only unfinished but on three double pointed needles with the fourth needle missing in the mayhem I was unpacking.
Now I am a fair knitter. I have knitted scarves, mittens with and without fingers, vests, and even sweaters that yes I have then worn in public or– Lord help them– given to others expecting them to wear them in public, but I have never knitted socks on double pointed needles. I avoided them like wool. But these socks were different. They were pretty. I liked them. I wanted them. I would have even bought them had I seen them in a store. My head pivoted like I was at a tennis match back and forth; skein to socks, socks to skein. How odd it seemed to me that I didn’t like the skein but when I saw the socks the yarn was beautiful. How many times in our life do we not realize the value of something in its self because we can’t imagine it in its togetherness in another form or its combination with another something? That was a truly sad moment.
I don’t know if it was the fact that this was Hope Hospice yarn, or the spirit of the knitter was entwined therein, but that sock had to be completed. How exactly without knowing her pattern or ever having tackled such a feat was beyond me, I just know in that moment I was compelled to finish the sock.
So I shot a picture of it and sent it to my mom the knitting guru in my life and asked, “Don’t I need a fourth needle?” to which she of course replied, “How did you get that far without one?” Now I am fifty so that makes my mother ancient and you know as well as I do that this conversation was over right there and then with one text exchange. My phone rang immediately with her asking the exact same question with an added ‘hell’ to the mix. I shared the story and she verified that I needed a fourth and walked me through the completion process (very simple indeed, thank goodness) and off I went to find a fourth needle. As I grabbed the skein to move it off my lap I felt something hard inside and there it was the fourth needle safely tucked right where it should be.
Now for the magic. As I am knitting the finish of this sock, it seems to only need the part from the heel to the toes, fifteen minutes work tops, but every time I check the length it just needs a few more rounds, and a few more, and a few more. Kinda like it doesn’t want me to finish? Kinda like it wants to hang on a little longer. Kinda like it likes my company and my hands holding on to it. Could this be the knitter’s spirit holding on, hanging around a little longer, guiding me to make sure I get this right? I don’t mind in the least; glad for the guidance.
It brings tears to my eyes to think about her and I never even met her. Odd how someone can touch your life without touching you. And if she has this much power in my life right now without having ever been in my life, no wonder others that have been in my life have such destructive impact. How is that so backward and why do we allow it?
So the question I grapple with today as I stopped to write this is do I finish the sock or hang on to her? I find that she calms me, makes me smile, makes me wonder all about her and life in general (obviously spurred on in the response here), makes me stop and take stock a little more often than usual. Finishing the sock and wearing them would only trample that right? Beat it down? Or worse finishing them only to tuck them away in some drawer unused and forgotten? But unfinished? Is that right either? Seems almost sacrilegious. With my face scouring at this dilemma a thought eases my creases and I decide. The sock must be finished. It is the only way to honor her. But the sock must be passed on so her spirit can be shared to touch someone else.