Cleaning my yarn stash- CAUTION, Metaphors ahead!

My vacation is winding down (last day tomorrow!) and I finally started cleaning out my sewing area.  I had two big plastic bins of yarn, both half-full, and I thought, well, that’s silly, I will just combine them together.

tangled yarn

Wow.  I found a box of ribbons, a sheathed knife, a barbie shoe and a huge tangled mess.  I found over 17 bits of unfinished projects.  Things I had tried and then decided I didn’t like.  Things I messed up and gave up on.  Things that seem really nice and I would continue if I had the pattern and the rest of the yarn. Detangling the mess reminded me of the rewriting process.  I was pulling out the different parts and putting them in the right place, finding extra bits that didn’t belong, untangling snarls that didn’t make any sense.  I have unfinished writing in my computer that I’ve never gotten rid of but don’t plan on using.  I could look at both the computer files and this pile of unraveling knitting as signs of failure, but I prefer to see them as signs of growth.

unfinished knitting

Take this sweater that I made for my daughter.  I followed the instructions, but it could have been a special chimpanzee design someone accidentally thrown into a knitting magazine by mistake.  To add to the mess, I made one of the sleeves longer than the other.  I put it on my daughter to see how it fit, and saw that the bottom edge was above her belly button but the cuff was on her fingertips.  I know now to look over measurements and compare them to my recipient’s size whenever possible.  I also know that yarn can make a big difference and swapping out can completely change how a garment will come out.

sweater fail

I really like this half of a vest- I think I will search for the pattern and yarn and finish it.  I wonder why I didn’t finish it?  Perhaps it was during a long period of not-knitting, or because there are some glaring mistakes.


Unraveling tangles is also an apt metaphor for self-evaluation, preparing for transitions and clearing your mind. Everyone has unfinished projects.  Some are not as visible as mine, because the person didn’t start them at all. Experimentation and mistakes are part of the creative process.  I’m keeping mine, but not in my yarn bin anymore.




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