Searching for perfection

Dear friends,

It's been quite a week all in all. I'm not generally one to blog, Carrie Bradshaw fashion. Who are the men on men who knit after all? It's not like I've met any of you...will anybody read this?

But, I get home from a Saturday's teaching and, with a glass of wine in hand, decide to share my week with you all. We are chums after all.

So, the week....I'm having a complete nightmare trying to sell a flat and have been having an even bigger nightmare dealing with the lady who deals with the affairs on behalf of my freeholder. There's one outstanding query which separates me from completion - nothing important per se, but with an un-co-operative freeholder, enough to bring the whole transaction to a grinding halt. And since I got married last year, there's a minor issue of capital gains tax looming if I don't sell soon.

To add to this general joy, there's a really complex job application to do for a job which, I realise as the week goes on, I really want. And my husband's in Scotland because his mother's really poorly and seems to have gone on hunger strike. We've reached that critical point when a member of the family needs 'care' - but what does that mean? What can we do? What do they want? And somewhere deep down, it seems that you can be nearly 90 and just give up wanting to be around any more. That's a choice too, however difficult it seems for everyone around.

So aside from all this floating round this week, I've been knitting like crazy to try and hold on to some thread of sanity...and I was feeling a bit grumpy with my current project. My husband brought me some beautiful hand-dyed yarn from Pam Murray in Orkney. It's really fine (some of you might a remember a tie I posted earlier in the year) so with what seemed like millions of stitch to the inch, I decided to make myself a slipover kind of jumper. Now hand spun, hand dyed wool being what it is, I've worked in the round the underarm point and realise the that the new batch of Pam Murray yarn which he brought back in the summer is quite a different I've tried to blend it in.....but I also realise that it's a bit thicker than the other wool. I just feel a bit disgruntled with it all. Our our projects ever as perfect as we imagine they'll be when we cast on?

But I saw Vivienne this week. Vivienne gets up at all hours and all weathers and brings a lovely collection of fruit and veg from Kent to Greenwich market along with a selection of vintage bits and bobs which I have been known to buy. I saw Vivienne on Thursday and was delighted to find a huge shining box of Seville oranges for marmalade, always a moment to cheer the heart. Vivienne was also wearing her favourite Aran jumper: cream natural wool with diamonds in-filled with seed stitch and long lines of twisted ropes. Despite spilling a cup of tea down the front and the jumper's subsequent machine washes in bleach (gasp) it still looks great and, as I was paying Vivienne for the oranges, I noticed (gasp 2) a mistake. Yes, a Mistake! On one of the simple twisted ropes, the knitter had done an over instead of an under, and instead of twisting underneath, an s shape snaked disobediently over a cable.

I know this doesn't seem that significant in the great scheme of things....but it stayed with me. What I most loved about Vivienne's jumper was the mistake....a mistake that said a real person knitted it....a real person who was perhaps distracted by the ups and downs of life and had taken solace in a pair of needles and a ball of natural cream wool. And I realised that I'd love my new slipover with it's colour changes and thicker and thinner wool.... And, job applications, caring for the family, we can just do our best.


Tallguy's picture

There is a story that the Navajo rug weavers always put a "mistake" into their work, saying that only God is perfect. Whether true or not, it is helpful for me to keep in mind that I am allowed a mistake here or there. One mistake is acceptable -- two or three then becomes a pattern. :-) Which means you then need to reproduce if again and again so it isn't obvious that you made an error.

No matter the burdens you are given to bear, remember that you CAN carry the load, by yourself, or sometimes with a helping hand of a few friends. And it too shall all pass.

AKQGuy's picture

This is what blogging is for. When we have so much going on and just need to get it out there into a gathering of souls with similar interests, dreams, or just a group of empathetic listeners/readers.
I'm sorry for the poor health of your mother inlaw and can understand the frustrations of your realestate dealings. We had many a nightmare dealing with the sellers realtor when we bought this place.
As for perfection, it's over rated but I too still shoot for it occasionally. It's like I forget about the letdown when reality kicks in and still have to atleast try.
I hope things go smoother this week. And feel free to come share a blog and glass of wine anytime. Heck, let me know and I'll crack a bottle open on my side too. It can be an e-destress session with fiber and wine. And if the fiber won't let us calm down, we can just stick to wine.

davidUK's picture

Thanks for your support.....I'll keep you posted!

chipsir's picture

I really enjoyed your blog. It is a wonderful way to get things off one's chest. It also allows us to look at the problems surrounding ourselves and seeing them in print often offers a solution or at the very leasts allow us to let it go. Good luck with the sale and I too have mistakes in my knitting lol.

21stcenturyDamocles's picture

hey don't disrepair life is what it is. yes i enjoyed reading your blog its fascinating to hear that others have the same problems as we do. my boy fiend and i had the job of seeing to his 70 year old mother whom was diagnosed with altimers she lived with us for 4 years before she died. it was challenging and at the time almost to much to bare. looking back it was one of the most amazing journeys i have taken. i would not have missed that opertunity to be with Joe (Josephine) for the world. she was a tuff cookie but vary loving old world Polish woman. i miss her something offal her Peroggies were to die for

TinkerJones's picture

if i were hung up on perfection I'd be in a complete state of inertia. Maybe I like feeling that I have plenty of room for improvement. I've always loved that (true? mythical?) story about native Americans inserting intentional mistakes into their work. Maybe God did the same thing when he created us.. but for him/her it was some sort of cosmic joke.
As the saying goes.. Keep Calm and Carry On.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

I can't speak for other Native tribes but a friend of mine studied weaving with a Navajo master weaver/spinner and their practice is to intentionally make a mistake [if one doesn't happen] as nothing made by human hands should ever be perfect. That's the province of the Creator.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Hope all goes better for you and your husband, David. Love the story of Vivienne's sweater...I've started "The Brethren Sock" four times because of cables and a too small needle. Thankfully, it's working out fine now.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Techknitter just posted an answer to your sweater shoulder woes (I think; at least this is what I tried to explain).

goatboy's picture

David, your story strikes a familiar chord within all of us, I am certain. Despite our best efforts, life happens in its own way and time.

If you have a chance, see if you can participate in one of the men's knitting retreats occurring around the world. I understand that you have a wonderful one that happens in the UK (Wales, I believe), and we have 5 different venues in the US, if you want to hop the pond. I can't begin to explain the wonderful atmosphere and the incredible energy that these events create. I am a notorious recluse, but I wouldn't want to miss my retreats (we are all social animals, at heart). Best of luck to you.

John the GoatBoy