Setbacks, Perserverence, Recovery, Achievement

Updated: Jul 15, 2019

As mentioned in my last post, I'd excelled ahead of the timeline in knitting my Capstone project. Something in the back of my mind told me to do so, because I was venturing into knitting techniques that may not work out as planned for this project, or life might throw me a curve ball. The following are entries I'd like to share from the journal I kept while creating my sweater.


Huge setback. On Monday Feb 28, my daughter called at 9pm to tell me my ex-husband's barn burnt to the ground. This is the farm I built with him 12 years ago. We built a maple sugaring business and an alpaca farm where my alpacas stayed since the divorce three years ago, during which time I've been building my own farm for them. All the alpacas survived but became homeless in less than an hour. I spent Tuesday running on adrenaline to get my fur babies food, water, and shelter. Thanks to a generous farm neighbor, I was able to move them to her spare horse barn and into safety with the help of my daughter and son-in-law. It was a traumatizing 24 hours for them (and me), as they stood all night in the snow and whipping wind, and then got moved to a strange place. When Tuesday night came, the physical and emotional exhaustion set in along with deep sorrow for several days after, as the scope of loss began to feel real. I had not been able to knit during this horrific week, both because of grief that the beautiful legacy I had a large part in creating was gone, and from sheer exhaustion, scrambling to finish my barn for the alpacas and replace everything that were lost in the fire.

Yesterday (3/4), I was able to pick up my [Capstone] project again and find solace in having something else to think about. The strange thing is that fire occurred the same day I met with [my mentor at Webs] Beth Z for my project review and Amy G [Webs education director]. I was way ahead on the project, commenting to Amy that I was eager to get ahead in case life got in the way and set me back. How prophetic is that! So while I'm getting back on track, there's the huge stressor of yet another major life transition while my alpacas finally get to come home with me.

5/20/19: FINAL NOTES: Finished the sweater! I'm about 95% happy with it. There were a few issues I would rectify if I had more time and will. I started out relishing this process. The graphing and calculations were very empowering and rewarding. I'm so pleased that I got a head start, because as I got it together and realized I had problems with it, I wasn't as panicked about fixing the issues. Yet as I got to piecing it for the fourth time, I was extremely anxious about it possibly still having problems. But I made a final decision to let it all go and to accept it as complete no matter what.

This project encompassed other forms of "letting go." The biggest being the loss of the beautiful barn, that the alpacas' lives, as well as mine, had to change in a manner beyond my control. This project got me through that -- once I've accepted that finality. I've also had plenty of time while knitting this sweater to reflect on how far I have come since starting this program 3-1/2 years ago. During this time, turmoil in my life has been more than a person should have to bear. The Webs program helped me find stillness through all of it, and I could say it helped save my life in many ways. I'm grateful to all the instructors at Webs who gave me this gift and look forward to the next chapter. XOXO

While not included in the journal, it's also important for me to thank the many beautiful friends who have seen me through this program and life's challenges with their emotional, moral, and practical support. From those in my knitting groups -- you know who you are -- and the knitting community at large, I hold you all very deep in my heart.

You can read more about the Capstone graduation and see photos of the beautiful sweaters by the new graduates.

Photos courtesy of Robin Brickman and Dad.


© 2019 The Spin-Off Yarn Shop|60 Roberts Drive Suite 302, N. Adams, MA  01247