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Project or Process?

Support For Families

I am a knitter.

I started knitting in September, so this is a recent title that I have given myself. I have admired the finished projects of knitters for a long time and have watched others in the process of knitting- carefully and deliberately weaving their knitting needles through beautifully colored strands of yarn, but I never engaged in learning myself.

Until September - when the creative draw of color and the feel of wool pulled me in. I “cast on” my first project the week after I dropped off my youngest son at college 1200 miles away. The symbolism and timing seemed appropriate.

While knitting looks so easy as one watches a seasoned knitter go through the motions of creation, it quickly became clear that this was not going to be an easy progression to making cool hats and cozy sweaters. My first project took me 3 months to complete with several start overs and many more mistakes and holes that are still visible in this first project. It was clunky and the end result shows my lack of pause, reflection and ability to go slow. My goal was to finish a hat to wear on a cold morning and it didn’t matter how many holes and backwards twists were left in the final project. After all, wasn’t the goal to finish, to get to the end, to say I completed the project?

I have become a frequent visitor in the local yarn store where they show patience and model the tedious task of undoing incorrect stitches - called tinking - knit spelled backwards. During one of my long tinking endeavors with visible frustrations, one of the women asked me - “Have you ever thought about becoming a process knitter instead of a project knitter?”

That simple question stopped me in my knit! Was I trying to get to the end or enjoy the journey? Was this about showing off a project or immersing in the process? What could I be missing with my laser focus on the end instead of the journey?

Here is what I have learned;

  • My tight stitches were attempts at controlling the look of the yarn on the needles.

  • My over analysis of counts and consistency of twists was my inability to allow the natural fibers of the wool to showcase their unique color and fiber imperfections as beautiful.

  • My need to show off a finished result robbed me of the awareness, understanding and connection with the fibers of the yarn.

How ironic that the very art of learning to engage and immerse in the process of creation and engagement with yarn was the very thing at the core of Family Recovery. Parallel Recovery is a process - not a project. Connection and influence with your loved one is about the moments - not the ending.

Our loved one is a person - with their own goals, talents and speed of execution. They are not a project - and they will shine best when we engage with the process of loving them.

I now remind myself as I cast on new knitting stitches that noticing the color variations of the wool, engaging with the texture of the twists and working with the unique needs of each skein of yarn will bring enjoyment with the time I spend in the knitting. It also creates appreciation for the partnership of engagement.

Whether in knitting or in a relationship, my goal is to engage in the journey - to pause - reflect - and move forward with intention and appreciation with the person…as they are today.

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