My Superpower

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Who knew?

It took me much of my adult life to discover my superpower.

I knew I had strengths—I’m good with my hands and am a stable genius (although, honestly, the bar for that seems to have gotten considerably lower recently!)

But my work as a weaver has taught me that I am . . .

A yarn whisperer.

I can untangle any knot and, more, I enjoy it! I relish a good snarl so I can show off my superior ability.

People bring their tangles to me. My husband, in particular, relies on me to unkink his embroidery thread and untangle his warp threads when weaving. I balk and roll my eyes, but I secretly enjoy every moment.

I read accounts of how other weavers grow so frustrated that they cut their tangled weaving off the loom and throw it away! That is unthinkable to me! The waste, both of materials and of a good chance to make things right? That’s a job for the yarn whisperer!

In many ways, I should’ve recognized my superpower sooner–it’s an extension of  so many other parts of me.

I have always hated loose ends and chaos. Remember those really fine necklace chains that could get all knotted. I would spend hours on those.

Those piles of vintage linens I iron into submission? Just more evidence of my need to bring order to chaos.

I read murder mysteries and cheer on the protagonists as they untangle the knotty crimes. In the books I like to read, all’s well because it ends well . . . and tidy.

When we had a sailboat, I was fascinated by marlinspike seamanship—the making of nautical knots . . . but I wasn’t very good at it. I like untying knots better than tying them.

From all my years doing embroidery and quilting, I knew I was good at untangling. It’s only with my experience in weaving, though, that my true dominance has emerged.

With much other crafting, only one or two threads are in use at any given moment—they can tangle but not enough to test the mettle of a true artist of untangling. In weaving, we deal with hundreds of threads at a time—floppy, unruly threads that are just itching to become a tangled mess!

I have to admit, my strength grows from weakness. T.H. White, in his book, The Once and Future King, told us that Sir Lancelot was known for his extreme kindness. He also explains that that kindness grew because Lancelot knew, in his heart, that he had a propensity for great cruelty. He had to be unremittingly kind to overcome his weakness.

My superpower grows out of my weakness. I can be impatient, I rush, I take shortcuts. I’m lazy and leave yarn out where cats can find it and have their way with it . . .

I end up with warps that are made up of 400 threads, hastily wound, and full of tangles. I end up with skeins and cones of yarn that are mangled and jumbled and muddled . . . the fault lies in myself.

But faced with these messes, the other Me kicks in! The fumbling, rushing Clark Kent steps into a phone booth and out bounds the superwoman, the Yarn Whisperer! I am patient. I go slow. I do whatever needs to be done, even if it means shutting the cats out of the room and sweet talking that yarn.

And, eventually, it all lines up, gets sorted, falls into place. It’s so satisfying to use one’s power for good.

What’s that you say?

Well, yes, it might be smarter and easier to avoid the tangles from the start . . . but where’s the fun in that??

A fish gotta swim, a bird gotta fly . . . and I gotta untangle.

I’ve got to whisper to that yarn . . .

And, how about you? What’s your superpower?

64 thoughts on “My Superpower

  1. I love it, Kerry! I would cheat on this, as I saw it on a web page some where. A music teacher made t-shirts for all her students that say: I play the piano, what’s your super power? Untangling knots in yarn and life is definitely a super power, and you have it!

    • It is strange. I often wonder about this business of patience. People will look at me quilting and say, “Oh, I wouldn’t have the patience for that,” yet they have raised kids or grown veggies, something I wouldn’t have the patience for!

  2. Yes. a delightful post and a thoughtful one, too. I was especially taken with the description of Lancelot’s reason for being exceptionally kind. And, you might be interested in knowing that in my fantasy novel “Maya and the Book of Everything,” Chaos represents the force of Evil, with Time being on the side of good. Being able to untangle knots is definitely a superpower.

    • It sounds like your book taps into age-old ideas of good and evil–no wonder people respond so positively to it! Have you read The Once and Future King? it’s wonderful.

      • Thanks, Kerry! Yes, my book does tap into the notion of good vs. evil. Also, that facts do matter. The funny thing is I wrote the book well before Trump was elected. I have not read “The Once and Future King.” Time to rectify that mistake.

  3. That is a great superpower!! I once told my son when he was quiet little that my superpower was squeezing more toothpaste out of the tube even when it appeared empty. He wasn’t impressed and had to brush his teeth:)

  4. Lovely post! And another stable genius! Glad there are at least two in the world! I am fonder of you than the other one.

    My superpower is “brilliant but obvious solutions” according to a friend of mine. She would be grumbling about having to do something or other, and I with the benefit of distance from the problem would say”why don’t you do it this way instead?” And once I said it, she would see that it was obvious. It’s handy if a person is open to suggestion but not all people are. I need another superpower to see which kind of person is grumbling near me. 😉

  5. Maybe your superpower comes when you get a cat? Seriously, I have no patience with knotted yarns, strings, etc. I resort to scissors every time. Maybe you and my husband should go into the untangling business. Do you also undo tangled webs woven when we “practice to deceive?”

    • I may have had this power for a long time but it has only become apparent since I’ve begun weaving and had to face really serious snarls! Honestly, I think I am being SO careful winding warp but I can end up with the worst messes.

  6. I guess I would say my superpower would be that I untangle family histories and genealogy. In an other life I was a skip tracer who found people who were trying to hide. Found them all over the world. I guess I do something like that now in family research. Perhaps it is really the same superpower.

  7. Yarn whisper, that’s a new one to add to the list of specialties. I have a real love for puzzles,and it even gets better if I have no clue of what the finished picture looks like.

  8. Untangling. There’s something challenging and satisfying and it requires a particular mindset. I like the idea of being a yarn whisperer. I think, though that you have more than one superpower and one of them is the ability to make tiny even stitches!!!

  9. A soul-mate at last! I love knots and tangles – strangely I find them soothing and calming. As I untangle and make order out of chaos my mind calms too and by the time I have everything unknotted all my mental anxieties have melted away too.

  10. Well, as you know, yarn isn’t my thing. But I have a related superpower. I won’t cut the ribbon wrapping gifts. I irritate everyone around me by fumbling and worrying away until the ribbon is released from its knots. And if it’s real ribbon, it’ll be carefully ironed and pit away for future use. How sad is that?

  11. I’m terrible at untangling things. I have a purse with two long shoulder straps that I’m forever getting tangled. I unevitably twist the straps the wrong way when trying to untangle them, and end up making it worse.

  12. I’m going to have to think a while on my hidden superpower. I’m sure it will manifest one day 😉 Meanwhile, such a lovely post, and you’ve reminded me of two things. The Once and Future King keeps shifting in and out of my orbit. I really do want to read it yet never quite keep in mind. Thanks for the reminder. And the second thing is that I keep promising myself I’ll leave some yarn out for the cats. Yarn I don’t intend to use again – which is probably anathema to your ears, Kerry. But they would so enjoy it! (Maybe I could parcel it up and send it over for your yarn whispering superpowers once the cats have done their worst? I’m sure you like a challenge!)

    • Oh, do give The Once and Future King a try–just knowing that the Disney movie, The Sword and the Stone, and the musical Camelot are both based on it gives you a sense that it has a lot of influence. And, regarding cats and yarn–they will have a blast but keep an eye on them while they play. Mine have been known to ingest long, unbroken strands–that can get scary pretty fast, as it ties up their innards!

  13. What a fitting superpower for a weaver. Sometimes I enjoy untangling, sometimes not, so I’m a little envious of the tranquility it gives you. I will have to cultivate the same mindset.
    If I could pick one superpower, it would come straight from The Once and Future King. Remember when Merlyn transformed the Wart into different animals? That just captured my imagination–how incredible and valuable it would be to get out of our own limited perspective. And I’ve always thought that I’d also like to man for a day, so I could better understand how men experience the world differently than women. And then there’s time travel …

    • I saw the Disney movie, The Sword and the Stone, when I was a kid and loved it, partly because of that whole thing about Merlin changing Wart to animals. Imagine my delight when I picked this book up and realized it was the inspiration for that movie! Time travel would be pretty cool, too–so many places to go!

  14. That is indeed a fabulous super power! I’m impressed. I like the challenge of a good detangle as well. My superpower: I’m good at finding things that people have “lost” or misplaced. I’m like a dog with a bone: I don’t give up easily. Such a fun post. I’ve been thinking of you as I asked Mike to pose for pics with your beautifully woven scarves. He grew a beard during our flu/couch confinement, so I suggested he pose for one pic (with one scarf and the beard) and a second pic with the other scarf, but clean-shaven. I’m such a goofball. 🙂

    Happy untangling!

    • I could make good use of your super around here! I lose things and the cats “misplace” other things for me . . . I love your goofball tendencies! Is Mike going to re-think his career and become a male model?

      • Ah yes. When a cat is involved, look behind doors and under furniture. It’s a veritable treasure trove. Mike plans to stick with tech, but if he were to take up a new career, he would be a math professor. I on the other hand, was happy to get a C in Algebra. Math makes me break out in a cold sweat.

  15. What a fun read. They say every pancake has 2 sides. You’ve found the up side to your down side. That’s quite ingenious of you! And we all know you are quite stable. 🙂 Don’t get me started. Do I have a super power? Have to give that some thought. 😉

  16. I bow to you, oh whisperer of yarns. I can untangle knots, but Dan and the girls enjoy it more than I, and I so enjoy watching their pleasure when I bring them a knotted mess.

    I create sacred space. Be it in my home, leading a song circle, teaching a music lesson, giving a presentation or creating a ritual. I love creating a sacred space that allows people to go deep into their soul, breath a bit slower, feel the magic of life and know themselves at a deeper level.

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