Tearing out the Ranunculus Sweater

There is that moment when the voice in your head lets you know that something is wrong. If you ignore it, the voice gets louder and more incredulous. Why are you continuing to knit when you know the stitches aren’t adding up?

I don’t know, I thought I could fix it.

This sweater as of April 30th is in 7954 projects on Ravelry and in over 6000 queues. To say that the pattern is popular is an understatement. I felt like I had been living under a rock because I just discovered the pattern watching an old podcast. The woman in the podcast had made four of these sweaters! They were beautiful and I was smitten.

I chose Gleem Lace in the colorway Blush and CaMaRose in the colorway GammelRosa and tried to cast on. It took me a few tries to get the double twist loop method even though there was an excellent video on the technique. The designer includes a video for all of the techniques used in the sweater.

I kept getting different stitch counts so I would just increase or decrease during a knit round to “correct”. I kept knitting telling the voice in my head to be quiet. The next time I counted, I was off by 28 stitches, more than ten percent. This I could not ignore. I knew I had to unpick, rip back, and frog. It made me angry and the sweater went in the naughty corner while I stewed. Every knitter I know goes through this process. I’m amazed by the stories I’ve heard about people ripping out entire sweaters when they realized that the size is too big or the chest is too tight. I was barely into the yoke.

After a day, I summoned the courage to rip it out. I was able to get the stitches back on the needles so I didn’t have to redo the short row shaping. All of a sudden my eyes were opened and I could see the mistakes I made the first time. I had read large sections of the pattern incorrectly even though the pattern and the videos were clear.

I started the sweater with the wrong mindset. I thought I knew it all. I wasn’t looking for the sweater to teach me anything and when I had difficulty with the cast-on, my ego was bruised. I’ve been knitting for fifty years. I should know this!

There is a concept called the beginners mind. When we attempt things as a beginner with no preconceived ideas about how we should do it, we are open to new ways. If we think we know everything, we miss out because we make assumptions, have particular expectations, and we become blind to everything else. Walk down a street you’ve walked down many times before and see if there is something new to see. Pick up your needles and try a different cast-on and a pattern that includes some new techniques.

The spiritual life invites us to new ways of seeing the world. Unraveling our preconceived ideas and assumptions can leave us open to discovery of new things. That’s exactly what happened with me and the Ranunculus sweater.

Published by Julie Cicora

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

5 thoughts on “Tearing out the Ranunculus Sweater

  1. This is a particularly helpful reflection, Julie. It’s hard to let go of “expertise” at times. It’s a spiritual practice I need to engage in.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a finished sweater that has never worn well, but I keep hoping. I think I am going to take it apart and knit something else!


  3. I only do simple projects, but have ripped out quite a few. This posting gives me hope. I can always try something new, as I can when I dire being closer to God.


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