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the spiritual side of sweater slip-ups

So I made a beautiful sweater, the first sweater I ever made for myself, actually. It was a massive project. I was so excited to finish it this week. I wore it for one minute to photograph it. Then I ruined it in the washing.

my sweater. before.

my sweater. before.

I thought I'd try a hand-wash cold cycle in the machine, since I have to wash my sweaters at least once a week due to baby vomit, and hand-washing in the sink takes an hour, and I don't have an hour to wash sweaters. It still seems like a good idea to me, actually. But just the motion of the washing machine felted the wool. 60 hours of work and in 30 minutes it was ruined.

In a way I'm sort of glad that I ruined this sweater. Far worse things could have happened. I could have built my own house and saw it burn to the ground. I could have lost my wedding ring down a storm drain.

There is a sort of freedom that comes when I do something terribly stupid. Of course I'm an idiot. Of course I do stupid things all the time. That's my nature. That's why I need God all the more. If I do anything right ever it's because God helped me. Without God, everything I do quickly turns to shit. It's freeing to think that there's no middle ground. As much as I wanted that sweater, I want God more.

I keep imagining disappointments that could feel worse. I could have moved across the country to start a church that never got off the ground. I could have lost a pregnancy. I could have been the australian relay runner who trained her ass off for years to get to the Beijing olympics, only to have the US runner fall into her lane before she ever got to pass her baton. (ed. note: I tried and failed to find a picture of this. I can tell you from my memory though, that the woman looked wicked super pissed.) I have a high opinion of Australians, so I imagine after the foot-stomping was over she went back home to her massive sheep farm and went on with life. If a reporter asked her about it the olympics she'd be all, "Yeah it was disappointing, but things like this happen. Stop running??? Why would I stop running? I run all the time. You got to around here, mate, to avoid all the poisonous snakes."

And there's something else. I take a lot of pride in my knitting. Too much pride, probably. Pride is a sin, and how much worse if you stretch it out over 60 hours of thinking, "Everyone is gonna think this looks so good. Everyone is going to be so impressed by my craftiness." I love knitting, but I don't want to spend my free time weaving garments of condemnation upon my soul. I want God more. I want to stitch away thinking, "Let this glorify you somehow, Jesus."

Dan said something very encouraging yesterday. He said: "You're so brave to make big things that can get ruined." I think this needs to be true for crafting and for everything. Let's admit there's an element of risk in doing big things. Let's lean into that risk anyway.

Dan things the sweater is salvageable. We put mason jars in the sleeves to stretch them as they dry, and I'll see where things end up in a few days. Maybe it could come out as some sort of tight pullover. If not, I can always felt it some more and cut it up for slippers. 60-hour slippers. I don't want to think too hard about it.


Thanks for this. It's an incredible sweater. I'm so sorry its future is uncertain. I hope I can also "lean into that risk anyway".

As a sidenote, we were in one of these designer shops where everything looks incredible but each item costs as much as an annual salary, and I saw this amazing felt rug- essentially little tennis balls of felt pieced together. And I was all like, Leah showed me how to make felt! Eug looked at quizzically and was like: so you'll knit complicated little balls and then make felt? I nod. He asks, can't you buy felt here? Anyway, guess you had to be there.

ha! i love that story. you can't buy felt in balls, i don't think, but maybe needle felting or wet felting them would be quicker than knitting them... though less easy to do with children around.

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