Autumn Refresh: Knitting as Tidying
Good news! I’ve invented a whole new category of self-improvement. I’m calling it knitting as tidying.
A highlight of my childhood Octobers was Most Moisturized Mom violently tearing up our house in an epic rager of fall cleaning. The air would be thick with the smell of paste wax and wax remover (not in that order), plus Mr. Clean (with whom MMM honestly was on first-name terms), Clorox, ammonia—all the chemicals of cleanliness. The kitchen furniture would get dragged into the living room, everything in the bedrooms would move into the hallways, and each room would be scrubbed from floor to ceiling and wall to wall, light fixtures dis-and re-assembled, screens popped out and back in, and on and on. Hands, knees, ladders—whatever it took. MMM did most of this labor without help from anybody, but we all felt pride in a fresh-as-heck house, and in the force of nature that we called mom. Pastor Danitschek, if you were ever going to drop by unannounced, that would have been the time!
Needless to say, I am not my mom and I don’t have anything near the right stuff to emulate her seasonal show of strength. Although I do get the urge to tear the place apart, wipe it down, and put it back together, I can satisfy it by cleaning out one spot, a corner, even a drawer—a homeopathic approach to the ancestral ailment.
This tidying impulse struck recently when an artist told me that yes, she could actually use a bunch of yarn for a project she was doing at the local high school. I started going through my shaggy, slumping craft room, harvesting yarn and getting the urge to really set the place to rights. My friend was willing to accept yarn in the form of unfinished knitting, so I took the opportunity to cull out projects I knew I would never finish, extracting the needles (with a thrilling “zipppp”) and tossing the UFOs in the bag(s) with the yarn.
And then, on the sagging disused ping pong table, I found:
The yarn: Tov DK. The colors: a random mix of single skeins and leftovers I had on hand. (Tidying!)
My Cuatro Wrap! I started it last October on the drive home from our adventures at Wool & Folk and Rhinebeck. I raced through it and then, halfway through the fourth of four triangles—I ceased knitting on it entirely. How could I have left something so lovely, and so nearly done, undone?
So, I made the sacrifice of stopping all cleaning and organizing, and sat down immediately to finish it. It will be done a full year after I started it, but just in time for a friend’s significant October birthday.
And that, my friend, is my fall cleaning tip. Clean if you must, but the minute you encounter an unfinished knit, sit down and finish it. It’s the tidy thing to do.
P.S. I did manage to get the yarn delivered to my artist friend.