The Melancholy of the Finished Object
Finishing a thing–whether it’s a book, or a television show, a piece of writing, or, in this case, a knitting project, always makes me a little sad. This thing and I, we built something together, we took a journey together, traveled as companions, unraveled mysteries and solved problems together, we probably hit more than a few bumps in the road, and then… we reached the end of the line. Rewatching, re-reading that same story, recreating that sweater or shawl or whatever, it’s just not going to be the same as the first time we embarked upon and engaged with that experience. This reddit user sums it up pretty well.
And although holding a finished project in your hands is nice…that *thing* you’ve now got is never really the point. It was the stitches we made along the way, you know? And anyway, I don’t keep most of the things I knit, so having the thing after I have bound off the last stitch is definitely not the reason I knit it to begin with, and certainly not what kept me working on it for five months only to rip out the whole thing and turn it into something else entirely.
Whoa, that is strangely specific, isn’t it?
This is the Vedbaek shawl, which began its life as the Carlina sweater. I had knit up the entirety of the body and half of a sleeve when I decided it absolutely was not working for me, and I then proceeded to unknit the whole thing. I will confess that the demise of that sweater is one ending which did not make me at all sad.
In the process of taking that sweater apart, I was not able to unravel the yarn in one entire unbroken piece, and so there are several knots that poke through the pattern of the shawl now, in places where I had to tie the snipped pieced back together. I’m trying to convince myself that these imperfection add to the wabi-sabi rustic beauty of this piece, but I don’t know that I am entirely persuaded.
But you know what? It doesn’t matter! That project is bound off, pinned down, and stretched out, and there’s nothing more I can do with it. Furthermore, as soon as it is dry and and the ends are woven in, it’s going to surprise someone in the form of a parcel at their doorstep in the next week or two, and I will never have to see it again!
Unless, of course, this individual sends me a photo of it being draped or dangled or worn or used in some way, in which case I will be very happy to see* the beginnings of this finished thing’s next journey.
*P.S. if I have ever sent you something that I knit, I hope you will always feel free to share with me photos of you wearing it! Nothing delights me more do see how these projects live out their new lives.
I can't remember what I originally had left as a comment here, so I'll go with...
hmmm, I wonder, are you afraid of closure? Or just the connotation of death that comes with an ending?