Tying up Loose Ends

Last week I frantically finished a hat, sweater, and booties, items which I needed ready for a baby shower yesterday.  The booties were from Debbie Bliss’s Essential Baby book, and were not terribly challenging to knit up, although the instructions for casting off were a bit tricky, and I did have a bit of difficulty with the inner ears.  I made these out of a wonderful soft angora from Plymouth yarns, but they were tiny and I kept knitting them, losing them, knitting more, later finding the originals scattered around the house.  The angora must have a static charge or something, and I’m certain I must have walked around with these small fuzzy pieces stuck to my clothing until they dislodged in various places (one of them is still unaccounted for, though—I wonder if I walked around the grocery store with a fluffy ear stuck to my pants).  Aside from ears gone missing, the other part of this project that was a bit taxing was the weaving in of loose ends of yarn. 

Outer and inner ear. 

Each inner ear—and there were four of these—had two strands of yarn hanging from it.  The outer ears had the same number, and, the booties, which required completing some rows and then reattaching yarn in places, had quite a few ends to work in, too.  Had I not been in such a rush to finish these booties, wash them, and get them gift wrapped, I might not have paid much attention to how much sewing they required, but, with a deadline looming, I experienced a sense that the work with the darning needle would never end.  I finished weaving in the loose strands over several days’ time, though, and had a pair of adorable booties to show for my efforts.

Completed booties. 

As I maneuvered the needle in and out, I was struck by the symbolic value of my actions.  These booties were a present for someone with whom I hadn’t spoken in months.  Last year, we’d found ourselves embroiled in an ugly conflict, and I’d wondered, until I received the invitation to her shower, if we’d ever see each other again.   As I finished the booties, I was thankful that I’d been offered an opportunity to heal wounds that were, like the loose strings of yarn, reminders of unfinished business. 

I’ve had other opportunities recently to regain contact with individuals who share a sometimes troubling history with me.  I wondered aloud recently to my husband if I might by dying, as my past seems to be mysteriously rearing its head.  Recently I shared a dinner with an old boyfriend I hadn’t seen in 25 years (see “Lost Love and Vogue Knitting Live”), where we were able to discuss the loose threads—the questions and hurts that had extended from our relationship like the yarn I hurriedly sewed into my booties. 
Completed hat.  Pattern is from Loops.  Click here.

Finished sweater.  Pattern is from Essential Baby. 

In Khaled Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner, the main character Amir is given a chance, 26 years after he’d inflicted enormous hurt on a person who’d love him, to atone for his wrongdoing.  An old family friend tells him, “You have the chance to be good again.”  Initially, Amir is hesitant to seize this opportunity.  He is afraid to confront his own inadequacies and sins.  But, ultimately, he chooses to be brave and revisit the past.  I, too, had hesitated to reconnect with my friend and my old boyfriend, because I hadn’t always been “best self” when I’d shared relationships with them.  Ultimately, though, all of the people I’ve known in my life have in some ways been like yarn that is worked together to shape a final project (me, in this case), and I know that I shouldn’t be apprehensive about approaching any of them.  Facing unfinished emotional business is a daunting task, but it can be liberating. 
I saw this play recently in Charlotte.  Its authors,
too, make connections between apparel and life. 

Of course, I know that I do not need to track down every ex on Facebook—some individuals leave no questions in my mind—for good or ill, my work with them is done, neatly tucked in, and cut off.  But for others, the act of reconnecting—whether to forgive, forget, and part or to forge into a renewed future relationship—can, like the completed bunny booties, represent hope for the future and a chance to gain new perspectives.


  1. Wow, Liz! What wonderful gifts you have made. I never received anything so beautiful. Wait! My grandma was a mad quilter and....crocheter? She made gorgeous blankets. Too,bad I couldn't learn from her. This would be an excellent hobby for my mom. BTW, your hair looks gorgeous in this picture.

  2. I hear what you are saying about tying ends in friendship. I was somewhat bullied in high school by girls that I am now friends with on Facebook. I was very hesitant about attending my 20 year school reunion, but I realise time has changed them also, they are now following paths in motherhood that I have already been through and perhaps the insight I have may help them as we travel this journey (and we can laugh about all the things our kids do!) Sometimes you need to forgive and forget and sometimes you just need to forget!


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