I have a friend who is getting married soon. I would like to make her something special. I have these new used out of publication turn of the century lace patterns with pictures and charts…in German. The chart symbols are translated as well as the basic terms; more than comes with the Japanese stitch dictionaries. While I know, intellectually, I should start with something small in one of these books to get the hang of it, there is just this one pattern saying: KNIT ME. It is special, like my friend–definitely one of a kind. She would love it. Some would call it ego, overachieving or just self-punishment. I call it Fortitude.

I wrote down on an index card a little cheat sheet of the chart symbols. Those of you who worked on Myrna Stahman’s Josephine with me know how hard it is for me just to bend my will to the directions and not season the pattern with my ideas. Just as there was no messing with Myrna, there was no messing with these charts. On the third try, as if by magic, the pictures in the charts came into full view. This designer had different ideas about how to make pictures in lace and I am absolutely reveling in her pure artistry. If you look closely, most designers use and reuse certain of their ideas. This woman from over 100 years ago did not do the same pattern twice in three books of complex knitting. Just this one pattern has taught me so much…both about knitting and myself.

I discovered, on a personal note, how I have blocked myself by creating little rules and sticking to them. I hide them from myself really well, too. It is quite a contemplation. All those little lace rules only served to make things harder on me. I had to LET THEM GO. For me — LET GO, JUST LET GO — is such a huge life lesson. I wonder how many other ways I block myself. What a silly waste of time, rather than allowing myself the full freedom of discovery. The best part: these insights always seem to be associated when I am making a gift for someone else. Hmm…

After this lesson, be encouraged to take some quiet time and try something you normally would not. Be brave. Rip with abandon. Cuss out loud. Then notice the quiet contentment that comes when understanding appears. I remember learning to sew my own clothes. It was magic. My mom would say she would be glad when the new wore off… Because I couldn’t get over how cool it was that my hands could create in that way…I still feel that. I wish that for you.

xx M.E. Langieri and Summit Yarn Studio

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