I don’t know what prompted me to respond when an announcement was made in church that they need some knitters to make prayer shawls – the last thing I remember knitting was a uterus for my childbirth classes years ago (don’t laugh – it’s a lot like a mitten, but no thumb!) Nonetheless I carried home a sheet of instructions and three skeins of bright blue yarn. I dug out some knitting needles from my mother’s knitting bag – a while ago while cleaning and purging at her house, she gave the bag of needles to me – and started casting on 69 sitches.
So far so good. I know how to knit and I know how to purl – the pattern calls for 3 of each stitch, repeated to the desired length. Well, that’s most of the pattern – there was a curious description of slipping the first stitch in each row as if to do the opposite stitch and then bring the yarn backwards or forwards, etc, etc. I was lost. Tried to do it, ripped the whole thing out, and cast on 69 stitches again. Dug out two old craft books describing knitting, and made another attempt. Ripped it out again. Gee, I wish my mother lived closer – she could show me in an instant. Got online – did you know YouTube has MANY illustrations of knitting, purling, and increasing and decreasing, etc? A couple hours later, I cast on the 69 stitches again. Still not much progress so I ripped it out again.
The next day during my lunch hour, I called Kathy, the prayer shawl ministry chairperson and described my dilemna. It’s hard to talk someone through a knitting crisis over the phone, I guess (maybe we need a camera and we could Skype!) It seems I was making more of the "slip the first stich" directions than I needed to, so I told Kathy I might need to cut off the first several hundred inches of tattered yarn and start again. She calmly said to do that if I needed to. I did and cast on 69 stitches again, and started once more.
Progress, maybe. I’ve gotten through the six rows of the pattern and started my second repeat. I have a long ways to go to make it long enough to cover anyone, but if it’s the praying that counts in these shawls, it’s already had its quota. Imagine how many prayers will be knitted into this shawl by the time I’m finished.