Monday, November 22, 2010

One Stitch.

My neck aches.  My eyes are blurry.  My fingers are stiff.  But, after three (maybe more) different attempts this afternoon, I have completed the first row of my first ever knit sweater.  Knitting this row took me about a half an hour, and it included one weird stitch that I will have to be on the lookout for as I pass through again.  First rows are always hard for me, even in a hat or scarf where I am just knitting every stitch across the first row. 

This first row, however, was excruciating.  I had to knit one stitch, purl one stitch, alternating through the entire row (except for two knit stitches on each end).  With my first two attempts, I dropped purl stitches and couldn’t pick them back up (almost a year into knitting, I still don’t know how).  Unravel, begin again.  On my last attempt, I closed in on the knitting needles, scrutinizing each stitch closely under my glasses.  My eyes are old enough that I can no longer look at things closely through my glasses, which are for distance. 

After several stitches, I started talking—out loud—to myself: “Just one stitch.  Just get this one stitch.  Don’t think about anything else.”  I continued to cheer myself on this way through the entire row.  When I screwed a stitch up (it came out looking doubled over), I kept going.  Thank heavens I had the right number of stitches once I was done!

The reason that I think this row and its story are noteworthy is this: I need to do this much more often in my life.  I am a terrible multi-tasker.  I get overwhelmed and screw up and can’t figure out what’s going wrong.  But, if I take it just “one stitch at a time,” I might get through. 

This revelation is not entirely new.  I’ve decided in recent months that I am going to do as little multi-tasking as possible.  In fact, I often have it on my agenda to “uni-task” my way through each day.  Sometimes life doesn’t allow me to uni-task, and sometimes I forget to do it.  But, I always come back to uni-tasking, because it makes me feel so much more centered whenever I do.  Today’s excruciating first row of Samuel’s sweater (meant for Chanukah, but not likely to get done by then) reminded me of this commitment.  

Knitting is mindfulness with yarn. 

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