I am knitting a scarf. It’s the third time I have knitted this pattern. I’d bought some lovely sparkly wool for my first attempt. It was the first time too that I ventured away from my usual double knitting and size 4 needles. The pattern contained sections of lace, a lot of knitting two together and yarn round needles. A dropped stitch somewhere saw a gentle unravelling of my knitting. It was the Monopoly equivalent of “Go to Jail”, passing “Go” and not collecting my £200. I am a stubborn sort of a girl at times. I was determined I would not be conquered by the pattern.
I decided I needed a practice run on bigger needles and thicker wool. Yes, I was back to double knitting wool and size 4 needles. I felt that every “knit” row was an obstacle course. It wasn’t the kind of pattern you could knit while watching the TV. A glance at the screen and a blip in the concentration and the stitch got dropped, the unravelling happened, and I’d have to take it all out. I thought of hat patterns I could dig out instead touse up the wool.
Friday mornings, before lockdown happened, were spent with a social/craft group, knitting being the craft and nattering being the social side of things. I am perhaps the novice of the group. I am described to the new people to the group as “She knits hats and scarves”. I could argue my case and point to two baby jumpers I knitted. There’s nothing untrue about it, though. Hats and scarves are what I knit.
I have a fierce concentration face when I’m knitting, and I sigh a lot. I told them about the pattern and the dropped stitches and having always to go back to the beginning.
“You need a lifeline,” said the lady sitting next to me. “when you have knitted a few rows of pattern, thread a different colour of wool through the stitches. If you have to take out any rows afterwards, you only have to go back to the lifeline and not back to the beginning.”
Wow. Why did I not think of that?
I rattled through (slowly) the double knitting practice scarf, and through the delicate sparkly wool one, threading lifelines every so often. There were dropped stitches, but the lifelines stopped me from having to start again. I knitted with confidence, maintaining my fierce concentration face, but sighing less.
I attended a Zoom meeting last night. It was a ladies’ discipleship meeting. Before it was a zoom meeting, we met at a friend’s house and round the dining room table we drank tea, ate biscuits and shared life. God loves variety and the different ways people lived out their faith was always inspiring. The Zoom meetings were no different.
I thought of the lifelines in my knitting and though how much we need lifelines in life. There are so many dropped stitches we deal with. Bills drop through the letterbox and we know there’s not enough money in the account to cover it. The child shoots up over the summer and last year’s uniform will not fit. A word said carelessly by a friend sets us on a downward spiral that we can’t seem to halt. Things are unravelling.
The Zoom meeting, for me, is a lifeline. Collectively we have lived through every experience going and know what comfort to give. Together we have a reservoir of knowledge and experience to call upon. We all have truth to share.
There is a good reason why the Holy Spirit baptises us into the body of Christ. There is a reason why God is not interested in lone rangers. Sometimes we focus on and preach truth that applies to an individual. We read a letter to one of the churches and assume Paul is writing to us as individuals and setting personal challenges. We are a body.
The body brings with it the idea of a lifeline. My life should never unravel so much that there is no one there to help.
We live in a world where we are not allowed to fall apart. We are all expected to thrive and flourish and be productive. The world really doesn’t know what to do with those that unravel.
This is where the church should be better than the world.