By GERARDO MEDINA
This post was written as an assignment for professor Cindy Shearer’s WRC 7087: Writing as Art. This course exposes students to varieties of work in text and image from illustrated books and blogs and visual journals to graphic novels and memoir and art books—while also asking them to create their own illustrated work, postcards and text/image art and journal.
In one of my lighter moods, I was contemplating this scarf I made years ago. I really liked it and I’ve just been waiting to give it to the right person. It’s made with a very long cast on and knit lengthwise instead of by its width like most scarves. It is knitted together in garter stitch using bits of yarn that I had left over from various projects and from yarn that had been gifted to me. Most of the pieces were not enough to make a full scarf on their own, but when mixed together, they did a great job. The mix of yarns is made of natural fibers, human-made fibers, novelty yarns and unassuming yarns.
When I think of it as a whole, I see this as a metaphor for living. Most people are not made from a single fiber. We are made up of experiences: gifts and different textures from the people in our lives. Further, when we look back on our own personal tapestries, we see the flaws, but this happens when we focus and fixate on what’s “wrong” in our histories. Yet, as we take a step back and see the fabric as a whole, the flaws diminish and we can see the beauty that is our lives.
Following this path, or skein of free thought, I can see so much of life in other knitting patterns. In knitting stockinette, the knitter knits in one direction and then upon turning the work, purls on the way back. This creates a tight v-like pattern on the “right side”. The interesting thing about this pattern is that the knitter can do the pattern correctly. However, when laid out, the ends curl on each other and the yarn is lost in itself because there is no room for it to breathe.
Yet, at the end, before binding the piece off, the knitter has the option of dropping stitches. Normally a dropped stitch should be avoided but in this pattern, it allows the yarn to relax, to breathe, if you will. Only then can the colors and texture of the yarn be seen fully. It adds life to the scarf. This, again, is living.
We can live our lives as ideally as possible, but when we relax and allow breath to bring life into our bodies, our nature manifests itself; it adds buoyancy and more dimension to our work. It’s the beauty of the imperfections that we notice.