Daily Archives: February 27, 2011

A Ball of Yarn

A simple ball of yarn has so much potential. I mean it literally, but it stands up to metaphoric expectations as well. To follow the trail of a ball of yarn, one must start by unwinding at the beginning. I repeat ‘the beginning’.  Connecting the beginning of the ball of yarn to a crochet or knitting needle begins the journey. One string can connect into its own stitches or enmesh with stitches on a loom that convolute into infinite possibilities. I can follow a standard pattern that will give me a predictable solution (hat, sweater, blanket…) or I can work out my own plans for a unique more personal result. I can make it practical or simply aesthetic. By using a set series of different stitches I can get textures, repeated patterns, solid consistent rows or erratic random surprises. All of this with one ball of yarn that starts at the beginning and finishes at the end.

What I appreciate about the process is that I can purposefully determine the outcome, take a risk at creating something unexpected or improvise either way. I don’t worry about errors, it’s a journey and adjustments are part of it. My commitment is to the ball of yarn and if I’m paying attention to it along the way, it will respond to my guiding hand.

I challenge those who say that a ball of yarn has two ends? How can that be? There has to be a beginning and an end and they are not interchangeable. One starts, the other finishes.  If we looked at our life line we would see that is how it is. Just like the ball of yarn we create a tapestry of experiences that are not always strictly linear, but certainly leading to a completed life. We can’t rewind it, but we can redirect it. We can look for patterns to follow for structure and improvise when the plan does not work for our needs. We can choose to walk a straight line (like the goodie two shoes that I am), but that actually shortens the distance between the beginning and the end ( so now I know better). That ball of yarn is not an infinite strand, but it contains infinite possibilities. Create your life that way. To quote a wise man – “See the ball, be the ball.” –Caddyshack. You have a beginning and can create a deliberate and complete life. If your journey takes you off the straight path you may get a bit tangled up, but it may be part of the plan.

Another wise person said, “It will all work out in the end”. May I add, if it isn’t worked out, it isn’t the end.

Assignment-by knitting or crocheting you will make creative and practical applications, but you will also center yourself in your own ball of yarn as you unwind it. There are great opportunities in adult education programs and yarn shops. Even some libraries have knitting groups that are communities of kindred spirits and great teachers of the craft. Everyone participating is there for the purpose of making something from a ball of yarn.


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