Mindless Repetition – the good and the bad

     I always like to have something simple on the needles.  I call it my TV knitting. It’s usually a sweater body or sleeves where all I have to do is knit every stitch.  It’s mindless repetition.

     Mindless repetition can get boring even with TV providing entertainment.  My thoughts take over and start needling me.  They say: “You will never finish this sweater.”  “Even if you finish the sweater, it won’t fit.” “You are going to run out of yarn.” I’m sure these are the same thoughts that plague marathon runners in the first few miles.  “You can’t do this.”  “It’s boring.”

     I recently finished the Spring Hazel Pull Over Sweater.  I had the Lang Donegal Merino in my stash. It was originally intended for a Brioche knit along.  My afghan hound decided to chew up a few skeins before I rescued the bag.  I searched Ravelry for a suitable project for what I had left.  There were two colors in my stash – grey and blue.  This sweater was the perfect project.  Except the body took forever.  I got extremely bored with the endless repetition of knitting around and around with some increases and decreases to create a pattern on both sides.  I was bombarded by thoughts that make me want to throw the project in a bag and put it in the back of the closet.  Mainly, I felt bored. 

            I decided to teach myself to knit using the continental method.  I’m an English knitter and I have always held my yarn in my right hand.  Knitting with my left hand was always something I wanted to learn.  I was no longer bored but my knitting had slowed to a crawl.  I was a beginner again, struggling with tension, dropping stitches, and painstakingly creating one stitch at a time.  But, I was riveted.

            Boredom comes from inattention.  There is even a condition called Inattention Blindness. This is when a person misses seeing something right in front of them, not because they can’t see it, but because they aren’t paying attention.  Changing my way of knitting had changed my attention.

     A few years ago, I decided to take a drawing class during Lent.  I took it because I wanted to “see” things in a new way.  It was like putting on a pair of glasses.  I started looking at lines, angles, shadows, and shapes that I had never noticed.

     If prayer time is becoming boring and we are becoming inattentive, we can change it up.  We can us a different word to pull ourselves back in, find a different translation of the Lord’s Prayer, or read the Psalms using the The Message as the translation.  Change it up and see where your attention goes.

Pattern rows 11-18 of Pattern #26

Published by Julie Cicora

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

3 thoughts on “Mindless Repetition – the good and the bad

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