This week I nearly finished my self-fringing bias shawl. But before I cut the fringe I tried it on and played around with it a little, and decided I really didn’t like it very much. So yesterday I took the whole thing out.
Now I am on the lookout for a different pattern to use for this lovely Brooks Farm Duet yarn.
I’m looking for something with a little more pattern to it. The self-fringing shawl is simply garter stitch, and I really didn’t like the bias shaping as far as wear goes.
I’m looking at some leafy or fan stitch patterns. But I’m going to set it aside for awhile and let the yarn rest. I don’t know if it will become a shawl or a scarf. It will depend upon the pattern I choose as I only have one skein.
One of the most important things I have learned in my many years of sewing, stitching, and knitting is the ability to take out and start over. When I was working on my fourth piece for my Doodling Designs embroidery class at Joggles, I took out the stitching in the top “flower” part of the design several times until I was able to create the effect I wanted.
First I stitched the “petals” outlines in black, then in the variegated Watercolors, then in burgundy. I even tried satin stitching the “outline” of the petals in gold. I finally settled on an echo of the “stem” using burgundy and mauve, but with a lighter back stitch.
Then I tried using a long and short stitch to fill in the spaces with the Watercolors, finally settling on using that thread in a more wispy way instead of filling in. But it involved a lot of taking out and starting over. And not a little frustration and exercise in humility.
I have read through and studied Joan Chittister’s book, The Rule of Benedict: Insight for the Ages, several times, always especially noting the section on humility. Chittister writes,
If the twentieth century has lost anything that needs to be rediscovered, if the Western world has denied anything that needs to be owned, if individuals have rejected anything that needs to be professed again, if the preservation of the globe in the twenty-first century requires anything of the past at all, it may well be the commitment of the Rule of Benedict to humility.
Humility in the spiritual life is about falling down, getting up, and starting over again. Benedict describes it as being on a ladder, upon which we “descend by exaltation and ascend by humility.” Just when we think all is right with the world and we’ve made it that way, our bubble of pride is burst and we come tumbling down.
Throughout my life, my work with fibers and fabrics has been instructive in humility. The necessity for taking out and starting over, or taking out and affecting repair is always there. Sometimes I completely lose it, and other times I am able to proceed calmly to begin again.
Several years ago I was participating in the Master Craftsman in Quiltmaking program with the Embroiderer’s Guild of America. There were several steps to the program with specific instructions for pieces that were completed in various stages and then sent to be examined and judged. Everything had to be precise and as perfect as possible to pass each stage.
The second piece required applique in a lattice setting. I created a beautiful small quilt top in shades of peach and mauve and had completed the entire top, when by accident I snipped the very center square with my scissors. I was very upset and set the project aside for awhile until I could calmly and carefully take out that center small square and again, very carefully replace it. I then quilted the piece and sent it in for judging.
The judges loved the quilt and gave me spectacularly high marks, asking that it be shown at the next EGA national seminar. Wow! I was pretty exalted. But there was one small comment to the effect that there seemed to be something not quite right about the center square, but they couldn’t figure out what it was.
Back down the ladder!
I am reminded that only God can create perfection.
In our on-going discussion of slow cloth, begun on The Red Thread Studio and In a Minute Ago blogs, I have been contemplating the importance of taking out, starting over, and humility in producing slow cloth. While I recognize that some situations are perfectly well served with quick cloth and rapidly crafted projects, I fear that in our rush to produce, one thing we might risk losing is the important discipline and practice of humility.
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