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  • Withholding judgement

    October 25, 2006 2 min read

    I’ve finished the Horndal scarf. This was a funny project. I loved the colors and I love the yarns, but as I began working them together it didn’t seem right. Frankly, I thought it was ugly. I asked everyone if they thought it was ugly. No one quite had the chutzpah to say, “Why, yes, Ellen, that’s the ugliest scarf I’ve ever seen,” but you could see it on their faces. The digital photo I posted on my project blog was especially unflattering. But I’d already committed to the yarn, wound it, and worked several repeats, so there was too much invested to quit now. And I think to myself that this is how people get stuck for 15 or 20 years in a bad marriage. They realize early on that things aren’t quite right, but they make excuses for it, and the next thing you know, they’ve got 5 years in, and a couple of kids. You read about it all the time in “Ask Amy. She usually advises the relationship equivalent of “rip it out now before the yarn and needles and pattern are all ruined.” Well, hard decisions have never been my strong suit, so I kept at it.

    So, Sunday, I finished the ugly scarf. I wove in all the ends and surveyed the thing in its entirety. It wasn’t ugly. It looked pretty good. You could see the rib and garter patterns move in regular succession; there was a pleasing interplay of the coordinating color shifts, and the blossom and silk garden provided the perfect counterpoint to one another. This scarf was not only not ugly, it was terrific. I loved it. And then my teenaged daughter came in and wound it once around her neck with the long ends hanging almost to her knees. It looked spectacular, and she asked if she could wear it to school. The ultimate compliment! So, I’m exceedingly glad that I didn’t rip it out. It was tough working through that doubt, but I learned something important. I should not pass judgment on things too early – not scarves, not relationships, not incidents, not people. Sometimes we need to look back over the lifetime of something in order to recognize its full pattern and appreciate its beauty.

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