A meditation on stitching.

For the last month and a half, I’ve labored over a vest for my father on some very small needles with some rather thin yarn. He’s by no means a very big man–in fact, he’s quite fit–but nonetheless, knitting a man’s garment is a much larger time commitment than a sweater for myself would be. And the whole thing is knit up in moss stitch, which is one of the most time-consuming knitting patterns. Did I mention that the entirety of the vest is also one solid color? Meaning that I’ve been staring at a puddle of dark heathered gray for the last month and a half, slowly resigning myself to disliking one of my favorite shades? Well, yes. That’s sort of what happened.

But the only thing keeping me from abandoning this arguably large project is that it is for my father, someone who has provided me with so much that it would be a shame to shaft him and not create something for him that will keep him warm. I’m hoping that he likes it, and hope that he might sort of understand that knitting takes a long, long time. And, obviously, I hope that it fits.

Scott and I have called this project my investment. And when I knit it, I fall into a rhythm sometimes where nothing seems to distract me and all I can think of, with every stitch, is why I’m so appreciative of my father and why I chose to make this specific thing for him. Superficially, it’s for when he goes outside to get firewood and doesn’t want to bother putting on a big coat. And it’s for those runs to the Home Depot when, in the dead of winter, he goes outside in a tee shirt.

But I really chose this vest because it would be close to his body, close to his heart. And so, while I toil away at it, sometimes ignoring Scott in the process, I think, this stitch is for all the times he woke early to buy crumb buns from the bakery so that I could eat them for breakfast. This one is for the time he surprised me with an old car that became my first automotive love. This is for sitting me down and teaching me about life and being a good, decent person. And on, and on.

I’m very close to finishing it, and will plunge it into a soak that smells of balsam before wrapping it up and crossing my fingers on his appreciation of it. In the meantime, I’ve gleaned so much comfort from this wool, and have been able to reflect on so many good times, that it begins to matter less and less what his opinion of it will be. And that is what I feel this season is truly about–reflecting and appreciating what you have. A better life through craft.

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One thought on “A meditation on stitching.

  1. Your dad sounds like mine! Trips to home depot, out stacking wood, or just goofing around. I love him. And he’s a little guy, too! (5’4″ish)…and just the other day he happened to mention that if I were to ever knit him a sweater, he would like cotton yarn please. Haha. Have a great holiday!

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