My daughter Katie called Sunday to say she was coming down for dinner. Just a quick trip because she missed us while we were on vacation. It's wonderful to have her this close and to have such a good relationship with her, especially since it could easily have gone the other way.
You see, Katie was a challenging teenager. Strong-willed and rebellious, always pushing the boundaries and then some. Not mean spirited, but stubborn with her own mind about what was good and right for her, which rarely aligned with my ideas about what was good and right for her. It was so hard for me to get my head around this recalcitrant child, especially when her sister, just two years older, had been the exact opposite. I didn't know how to handle Katie and felt very much out of control. I yelled more than I should have and cried more than I wanted to.
After a particularly difficult interaction, it was my husband, Bill, who is not Katie's biological father, who took me gently aside and gave me the most important advice of my life. He said "You have to repair your relationship with Katie before it's too late." Seems like simple advice, but what he didn't say was even more powerful than what he did say. He didn't say, "You have to get that girl under control" or, "You have to figure out what's wrong with her." No. Because there wasn't anything wrong with her. It was me. It was the way I had been relating, or trying to relate to her. I had expected her to be like her sister, and I had treated her like her sister, but she was not her sister. She was herself, and she needed a completely different approach that started with me letting her know how much I loved her and asking her how she thought we could have a better relationship.
Yarns we're not used to can present similar problems for us - we don't know why they won't do what we want them to, as we try to force them into what we think we know best. If we're used to working with one kind of yarn, it is easy because it's familiar to us. Presented with something different, we might find it to be a challenge. Think knitting with wool vs knitting with silk. One is bouncy and eager to please. The other has more a mind of its own and special handling to create the strong and beautiful fabric you know it can be. If you're struggling with a fiber, take a moment to try and listen to what it is telling you. Maybe it feels insecure on that slippery metal needle or overshadowed by the complicated stitch pattern, or whatever. Just listen. Don't try to force it to be what it doesn't want to be, because in the end we each can only be who we are, and who we are is exactly who we were meant to be.
I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table. You are always welcome here.