love and patience and work
You know the story of Penelope? Most people get her story tangled up with the legend of Ulysses, her husband, but Penelope has always been the important one for me. You want to talk about a process crafter — Penelope was it.
The story goes like this: Ulysses went away to do Very Manly Things … and he stayed gone for twenty years. He didn’t send any text messages or carrier pigeons or smoke signals, so people (reasonably) assumed he was dead. Men started to court Penelope. It got pretty bad, I imagine. She tried logic (“seriously guys, I’m already married”) and the more direct method (“get the $#@% off my front porch” ), but nothing worked — until she told them she needed some space to finish her
knitting weaving. (“Just one more row!”)
She spent all day weaving and all night ripping it out. For twenty years. Can you imagine how happy she was to see Ulysses again, when he finally strolled back up the steps? “I CAN FINALLY STOP WEAVING THIS FREAKING TAPESTRY oh right darling I’m very happy to see you, too …”
I know she found peace in the rhythmic motion and noises of weaving for it to occupy her for two decades — because I find the same quietude in the work of knitting, stitch-by-stitch-by-stitch. Weaving made it possible for Penelope to wait, in the way that love for her husband made her continue on, day by day by day, weaving and undoing and weaving and undoing …
… for some of us, love and hope and patience and work are all mixed together, too tangled to separate.