Short Rows

I take my grandson to karate so I can sit and knit without guilt.  There is nothing else to do, no dishes, no dusting, and no laundry.  It’s an hour of uninterrupted knitting.  As I was packing up my knitting bag, my grandson asked me what I was knitting.  A sweater, I replied.  Is it for you, he wanted to know?  After I admitted it was, he asked me if I would knit one for him. 

     We sat and searched Ravelry for kid’s sweaters until we found the “Zap Sweater”.  He loved it immediately.  I got the yarn and cast-on incredibly excited to start this project for him.  The sweater was a top down construction.  I put in stitch markers and was increasing happily until I got to the short rows.  I hate short rows.  For some reason, the method I use leaves a noticeable hole and it just doesn’t look right.  The project went into hibernation.

     When I look at my unfinished objects (UFOs), I realized that I put many of them into hibernation because some technique makes me uncomfortable.  Usually, it’s a technique that I haven’t done or I’m unsure how to do it and even though I can look it up on YouTube, it just seems like too much effort.

            But we know that in order to grow, to get better at something, we may have to be uncomfortable.  I started running again after a year off and I was using an ap with a virtual trainer.  She was having me jog three minutes then run for one minute.  On the fifth iteration, I hear her voice in my headphones say, “You are probably feeling uncomfortable.”  That was an understatement! Then she said “that’s good, you are supposed to be feeling uncomfortable. This is hard.” 

     In order to grow, we have to push ourselves outside our comfort zone.  We have to keep at it when we feel inadequate or that we don’t know what we are doing.  Sometimes, we have to do it a few times until we start to feel comfortable.  I discovered the podcast Fruity knitting during the pandemic, and I watched every episode.  Andrea is a beautiful knitter and her sweaters are spectacular!  The reason they are so perfect is because Andrea is willing to try new things and work at them until she gets them right.  She would frog an entire sleeve or neckline or whatever didn’t work and redo it.  She was open about her struggles with different techniques.  She taught herself to crochet by making a complex crochet blanket.

     There will be moments when we feel uncomfortable in our prayer life.  That’s when the little voices creep in and say discouraging things.  “This is useless, nothing is happening, this is just an excuse to knit, I’m tired of this, or whatever.  Only by persevering will we create the perfect fabric, the perfect fit, the perfect gift.  We may have to frog our routine, or keep trying a new technique and be uncomfortable but the effort will be worth it.

     Like most disciplines, I have had an on again off again relationship with prayer.  I keep at it because when I am consistently praying, my life is different.  I am more creative, I am happier, and things seem to come together.  As I work to perfect my short row technique feeling like a beginner knitter all over again, I allow myself to feel uncomfortable and awkward knowing that it’s just the feeling that comes when we grow.

Rows 4-12 of pattern #26 in the Japanese Stitch Bible

Published by Julie Cicora

I'm an Episcopal Priest that loves using knitting as a spiritual discipline.

One thought on “Short Rows

  1. You may notice multiple comments from me today. I read your posts each day and successfully knit during my orayer time. However, I did not make sufficient time to repond to your post. While I did not commit to doing this each day, respondinghelps complete my lenten prayer practice. I am always amazed at how much energy my teaching consumes. By the time I am done with a work day that often runs from 6:30am to 6;30 pm time, I am oftern drained. But this does not address your lesson regarding growth and stepping outside our comfort zone. I am currently working on a project with other faculty lerning about a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset. I have been pleasantly suprised to find that in many ways I have a growth mindset and look forward to challenges and learning new things. However there are many people who have a fixed mindset and shy away from situations where they willnot seem knowledgeable. When we adopt a growth mindset we see learning as an acomplishment and part of the process of our becoming more. We do not compare ourselves to others but measure our growth through our progress in learning new things. Now I just have to develop a growth mindset about exercise 🙂

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