Knitting for Dummies, by Pam Allen, Tracy Barr, and Shannon Okey, is my lifeline! It breaks down knitting to its simplest - keeping me out of trouble when that project has presented a new challenge. It is also the perfect accompaniment and teacher in learning new skills and tricks of the trade. What would I do without it? While not every problem in life or in parenting is as easily solved as the challenges we face in knitting, through this craft, I have managed to learn a lot about myself as a human being and as a parent. I hope I can share these experiences with you, and in turn, we can spend some time together learning from each other...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Twists & Turns

Have you ever seen the details of a beautiful Irish fisherman sweater?

(Here are some links for you...  http://www.murphyofireland.com/aran-sweaters.php and

Growing up in Puerto Rico, I never owned any winter clothes.  My only exposure to winter attire and sweaters was left to my grandparents in NY who kindly borrowed sweaters and coats to lend us for the "every-third-Christmas-or-so" visits.  Today, looking at those pictures in NYC and our grandparents’ home in Vermont brings back interesting memories – both emotional and tactile.  ...the cold of the air, the warmth of the sweaters and coats, the fun things that we just didn't do in Puerto Rico:  ice skating, Rockefeller center, the snow, the slush, the smell of the furnace at my grandparents'.  It wasn’t until I went to college that I had to worry about owning clothes that could keep me warm through the cold New England winters.  

The summer after my college sophomore year, I had the opportunity to visit Ireland for the summer.  And while I was in Dublin, in the middle of that hot summer, I had to figure out a way to buy two (very expensive for me at the time) undyed Irish fisherman sweaters.  These sweaters are beautiful and each of them tell a story about the family who wears them, the men who were often at sea making a living, and today, about the tradition.  These sweaters were very popular in Boston where everybody - and I mean EVERYBODY - is Irish.  So, I had to have one... or two...

I love knitted cables.  They tell a story.  They are complex and intricate. And yet, they are so simple to make.  I love knitting cables.

On parenting…

Parenting is like a two-lane road full of twists and turns, crossing states, planes, mountains, and valleys.  I have often said that being a father is the most difficult, and at the same time, the most rewarding job I have ever had.  Like a two-lane road, we as parents often set the course for what’s to happen; if I work hard, I’ll be able to look ahead for about a mile or so.  However, I seem to forget that just like a road, there are twists that often – in a surprising manner – present themselves.

I tell my friends that I love driving my car.  It handles like a dream.  It grabs the road no matter the conditions – rain, shine, or even snow.  I am so in awe of it that I tend to take the corners a little sharply so that I can feel the car gripping the asphalt.  Who would have ever thought that I would have been such the “driver” person?!

Unfortunately, in this parenting road, I have no car to help me feel “in control” of the situation.  The twists and turns come suddenly and without notice; they can make me feel “less than adequate” as a father, and even as a person.  And I often wish I could find a little rest area or a passing landing where I can just park to either plan, think, or even wait before responding.  The phrase "growing pains" has to refer to more than just the physical pains of growing...

Parenting is like knitted cable work: complex, intricate, full of twists and turns.

On life…

Communication is like a two-lane road full of twists and turns, connecting people. Positively or negatively, communication connects us all.  Like knitted cables with traveling stitches, our messages veer right and veer left.  Sometimes – and hopefully often -  they seek and meet in the center.  But it seems like more often than not, we face issues which are their core are the product of miscommunications.

For me, parenting seems to be becoming a lesson in simple communication – since those “terrible twos” which in hind sight were not that terrible, really.  

Relationships are all about communication, both spoken and not.  Work (the one that pays you and pays your bills) is all about communications.  Can you think of anything that does not involve or is at its core all about communicating?

Communication is like knitted cable work.

On Adam’s cables…

Adam’s knitted cables tell a story.  The scarf he wears is my partner’s (Jon’s) pattern:  The Jonny Jump Rope.  It was my first cable work project.  I had been wanting to knit it since the night I met Jon… he was wearing his version of it (in Navy) when we met and I was fascinated with it.  (Well, I was also fascinated with Jon too, but don’t tell him that.)  The intricate cables which expand from a tight rope to a diamond as if the jump rope were in mid-swing reminded me of the Irish fisherman sweaters I once bought so energetically.  So, when it was my turn to learn how to cable and start my Jonny Jump Rope, I chose a color of yarn that reminded me of one of my beautiful Irish sweaters.  Jon did such a nice job with the pattern that it has become a favorite of mine.

Once I had that scarf completed, I wanted a corresponding hat to go with it.  I found this easy-to-make hat knitted flat and using short rows.  This makes the cable on the band easier to make.  Unlike Joss, though, this hat is made all at once and sewn on the back.  Originally, the pattern required ear flaps, but those never really looked right, not with this yarn, and not in this color…

Adam’s cables tell the story of parents around the world driving on two-lane roads and facing the unexpected twists and turns our children present.  Adam’s cables tell the story of the communications' trials and tribulations we face with our family members, our friends, our co-workers, and even with strangers.  These are all two-lane roads.  But there is one thing we must all remember... For the lane in which I drive, there is a corresponding lane perhaps going in the opposite direction, but potentially also moving in the same.  For every argument, disagreement, or misunderstanding we have in one lane, there is another side.  And… these twists and turns have taught me that…

  • On the other side of controversy, there is peace.
  • On the other side of confusion, there is understanding.
  • On the other side of a tear, there is a belly laugh so hard, you can't help but cry.
  • And on the other side of frustration, there is tolerance, there is compassion, and there is love.
I love knitted cables.  e-

A special thanks to my friend Steve B. for modeling these Twists and Turns.  I am so thankful that after almost 15 years of knowing Steve, I finally got a chance to reacquaint and connect with him and his partner Rob.  Those are the beautiful twists and turns of life.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Eric,
    How very nice. Sitting for you and Jon for these photos was a shear pleasure. I really love what you have to say about life. All to often we forget in the moment that this too will pass - whether it is a postively radiant experience or a tearful rage - the other side will come upon us. We always hope that the parade will never end, but we really know it must. The secret is to squeeze ever drop of joy, love and passion out of each and every joyful moment - this, then will carry us through...until the end.

    Steve B.