part two of two
A few weeks ago, I was approached by someone who knew someone who needed some knitting done (I have no idea why she thought of me). I called the number she gave me, and it turned out this person had a set of Christmas stockings but had added a new daughter-in-law, and wanted to welcome her into the family with a matching stocking of her own. She had a version of the pattern, some of the original yarn, and was willing to lend the originals for me to reverse-engineer off of.
It involved a technique that I don't have a lot of practice at, but my philosophy toward knitting is that it's comprised of the same thing over and over with very slight variations so there's no reason I shouldn't be able to do any of it - and I did. I pulled it out once, part way through, because it wasn't on level with Grandma's version, and I ended up doing quite a bit of touch up work at the end, but the finished piece is one that I'm proud to have made.
While I was sewing little bells onto the toes of the stockings and the end of Santa's hat (the final step), I sweetened the task (I was a little over it by that point) with a cup of tea in a mug that a dear friend had sent to me. Try your best. I was reminded of a little rhyme my great-grandmother would say - If a task is once begun, never leave it til it's done; be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all. She was an extraordinary artisan... she was naturally left handed but lived in an era when desks were designed for right-handed writing only and she was forced to change, but she had some of the most beautiful penmanship I have ever seen, anyway; she sewed, quilted, embroidered, painted, crocheted, and knitted (on top of raising a family), and even though I didn't learn to knit from her, I still think of her when I knit.
Especially within the knitting world, but I think elsewhere as well, I believe that our community extends both backward and ahead in time - we learn from and are influenced by those who've come before us, and we teach and shape those who come after. Co-creation is in my DNA, and I've learned from many other more experienced knitters, both through their writing and from spending time with them (I actually consulted someone before agreeing to make the stocking, and she gave me some invaluable advice). Now to make sure the legacy I leave is as graceful as the one that's been left for me!
This post is day 26 in my 31 Days series, 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful - for an introduction and more posts, head here.