UntanglingPosted: December 3, 2012
This guy here cost me five bucks. He’s not going to change my life or anything, but I walked by him (and his brethren piled in a container at Ikea) and remembered all the times as a kid I’d see them and wonder what the hell anybody would want with a jointed wooden guy on a stick with no face. By the time I’d figured it out, my curiosity had been stamped out by the notion that art should be left to the artists. While I still hold to that philosophy in those secret compartments in my head, yesterday my son and I decided we wanted to learn how to draw and so we picked him out and brought him home. I drew a horrible picture of him last night, but it was fun trying.
In the meantime, since I’ve been doing a lot more design work at my job, it’s reignited my obsession with type and color, and once that happens, I want to make stuff. I’m not that good at making stuff–I’m impatient, I hate finding and waiting for help (I don’t mind asking for help, I just want it as soon as the idea occurs to me and then give up and do something else.), and I never really commit to all the little fiddly bits that would turn “making stuff” from a haphazard pursuit into a process that actually works from beginning to end without five trips to a store and three days of delay. This is what keeps me down.
This weekend for instance, I decided to patch my son’s jeans, but I didn’t have a needle for the embroidery thread I wanted to use. I wanted to fix the holes in the gloves my husband got in Morocco twenty years ago, but I need to remind myself how to knit, which is one of those things I did a few years ago, then dropped out of exhaustion. Have I mentioned my one fingerless glove on here? I made one and then got tired. The one looks pretty good, but I’ve never worn it, obviously, because I have two hands and both get cold. I also tried to knit my mom a lace scarf with some brown silky yarn I found a few years ago, but after nine million tries on my own I went back to reading books, which I’m really good at. (I also want to make my own curtains, therefore adding to my vast cabinet of frustrations, but I’ll explain that some other time.)
Anyway, once you go hunting for one thing, you’re going to find some other thing you didn’t really want to get involved in. Enter, this:
This is a skein of sock yarn I bought about five years ago. I bought two actually, because they were in the sale bin and because they were beautiful (the photo doesn’t do the colors justice at all). I had no intention of making socks, and if anyone knows what to do with sock yarn that doesn’t include making socks, I’m all ears. When I first bought the yarn, I tried to take the nice floppy skeins and make them into balls. It worked with one–not this one. This is a pile of knots. Actually, this is half the original pile of knots. My head swims just looking at it.
Incidentally, this is just about a year from the time when I went on that yoga and roasted olive odyssey last year–that whole, “you-can’t-think-and-[insert any activity here]-at-the-same-time” deal. A friend of mine is there now, and she updates me daily on her extreme kale intake and, after several days of many hours of yoga, her growing love of poses that ask her to curl into a ball or just lie on the floor. There’s something about those updates that made me decide to untangle the yarn. Just focus on doing the very next thing, whatever it is.
It took me the better part of five hours, and it turns out that the skein was in several pieces, so I couldn’t even make a Barbie sock with it (thankfully). It was calming, as I knew it would be, a) because I love to untangle things, and b) I got to look at this pretty yarn all day. But just before I had the entire thing rolled up in little balls, I became so queasy from looking at the yarn up close for so long that I had to throw the last fifty feet in a bag and go to bed. The sense that the yarn had defeated me again damn near killed me. I tried one last time and got dizzy. My shoulder hurts from reaching and pulling. I’m not kidding. Yarn is serious business.
Never belittle the knitter–that’s one of the lessons I took from this. There’s something else that probably has a little more heft in there, too, but let’s not try to put it into words. Not everything needs a word.