It’s that season again. Students are donning caps and gowns, Pomp and Circumstance fills the air of gyms, stadiums and lawns all around, and part of life seems to be coming to a close as another opens up—for some it is high school or college, for some it is confirmation or communion. Whatever the event, this is the time of year for transitions, big endings and tiny, new beginnings.
I was thinking a lot about endings and how destinations can seem farther away the closer you get while I was knitting a scarf for a dear friend. The scarf was my first foray into two-color knitting, albeit with a simple mosaic pattern (no Fair Isle for me, yet). This mosaic scarf, which I knitted from wool, was not a wimpy scarf. Oh no, the directions specified that the length of this scarf be a full five feet—five feet of wonderful, woolly warmth, perfect for my friend, a native-born Floridian who has found herself tossed into wilderness of Illinois winters.
So I cast on and began knitting. And knitting. And knitting. Slowly the scarf began to take shape. The stitches and color changes became a recognizable design. Before long I had three feet. It was going to be close, but I just might finish the scarf by her birthday.
Then life, as it so often does, interrupted my plans. Those last two feet took forever, interrupted by a child’s ear infections, a spouse’s work schedule, my work schedule, dishes, laundry, grocery shopping. I would pull the scarf from my knitting bag measure it, but it never seemed to get any longer.
Finally, I made it to the 56 inches, only 4 inches left to go, basically 10 rows and the cast off. I would finish a row, then look down and my design only to discover I had purled when I needed to knit. So I would “unknit” that row, and redo it. Then, two rows later, I would find I had used the wrong color yarn—an amazing feat when you stop to consider that I was only using two colors! So I would unknit again. As many times as I unknit rows in that last bit, the scarf should have been six feet long. I couldn’t help but think of the Paul Simon song lyrics “the nearer your destination, the more you keep slip-sliding away” every time I had to unknit a row.
I could have let one of those miss-knit rows slip into that scarf. I can assure you the scarf isn’t perfect. (It’s knit by me after all.) But, I wanted it to be my best work possible and that meant sticking with it and concentrating up to the very end.
When I was in graduate school, most of my work was done with my dissertation research. But, I still had to write my dissertation to get the Ph.D. The experience was about as pleasant as well, I imagine having all my teeth pulled would be, but I did it. I did it because to achieve what I wanted from life, to move to the next phase of my life (teaching college students), I needed to stay focused and finish the work to the last dotted “i” and crossed “t”.
Seniors in high school and college get senioritis, but it’s important to finish on a strong note, because it’s that strong finish that will launch you into your next adventure.
So, that’s why I took the time to unknit. This scarf was a gift for a dear friend. I want her to enjoy it, to use it, which means I had to stay focused and finish it well. And, this strong finish has launched me into me next project, which has gone really smoothly so far. So far, but I’m not at my destination yet.
So, stay focused, finish strong and look forward to the future.
© 2010 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.