After over five years of toil, 32-year-old Kaitlyn Pearce is no longer sure what the unidentifiable wool garment is that she is knitting.
“I have to finish it,” said Pearce as she continued knitting. “I don’t even know what it is anymore, but I told myself I’d finish so I’m going to finish. Plus I have this whole skein of yarn left.”
“I’d successfully finished dozens of scarves, a bunch of hats, three pairs of mittens – I’d even made a pair of socks,” Pearce explained, her fingers moving quickly and almost automatically, churning out row after confused row of knitted fabric, careening all over her person. “I lost the original pattern about a year in, and ever since, it’s been a game of chicken between me and this scarf-hat with sleeves.”
Ms. Pearce related that when she started this project, whatever it was, she was perhaps feeling overly confident that she could determine what exactly she was knitting. Then life got busy, and she had only been able to work on the mystery project in short spurts over the course of 14 years. “I’m sick of looking at this bag of yarn in my closet, and knowing there’s something in there that I haven’t finished.” said Pearce. “It’s go time now, and there’s no turning back.”
Pearce said she believed that the project had started as another sweater, or maybe some sort of long coat, as she held up the tangle of knitted panels dotted with stitch markers and holding various potential new sleeves, hoods, or god-knows-what. The project blended several different patterns distributed throughout, including stockinette stitch fading into unexplained cable knit portions that then abruptly stopped to make way for uninterrupted flats of seed stitching.
“There’s a hood in here somewhere,” said Ms. Pearce, turning the unnamed project over in her hands to reveal what appeared to be three different sleeves and at least two openings that could qualify as the head hole. “At one point I think a pocket turned into a mitten,” she admitted. “I don’t know what I was thinking. But pockets keep your hands warm, and so do mittens. Same function, different form, that’s all. I’m trying to keep an open mind at this point.”
When asked why she didn’t just unravel the project until she got to a point where she could identify the original intent of the piece, Pearce balked. “I just don’t know what I’m doing anymore.”
“Life is messy, and it definitely isn’t fair,” said Pearce. “But you just gotta keep going. We’re all making it up as we go along. Especially me.”
At time of publication, Ms. Pearce’s knitted mystery project was nearly five feet long, and contained the beginnings of what looked to be a leg portion.
“I thought I was out of yarn, but then I opened another drawer and I found five more balls,” said Pearce. “I don’t know where I’m going with this, and I definitely don’t know when I’m going to finish. But I do know that whatever it is and whenever it’s done, it’s going to be an amazing gift for my niece, Janie.”