Monday, August 24, 2009

so which will it be?

I've written about this before (and so have so many other folks, not just knitters): when we are immersed enough in a hobby, the "hobby lessons" often parallel the "life lessons" that come up in other parts of our worlds.

Well, it took my knitting to point this out to me, but it is becoming clear that at least a couple of my "life lessons" may just be at odds with one another.

Here's an example, At present, I am knitting a shawl.

See? There I was yesterday, a slow Sunday morning spent in North Beach, lavishly knitting over brunch and a cappuccino, when I notice this:

For those of you that don't knit, that arrow points to a place where there should be a lacy little hole. That space is supposed to look like it's neighbors. It does not. Not a huge deal. It certainly does not impact the shawl's wearability. Actually, once the shawl is wrapped around me you'd probably not even see it.

The problem, however, is that even though you might not know the mistake is there, I know that the mistake is there.

Oooo, let me pause for a footnote.
Maybe this is a good time for me to mention that this exact same knitting error occurred on another shawl I started back in spring, and that poor dear hasn't seen the light of day since I realized it.

But let's forget about that, and get back to the current shawl.

Ok, so I notice the mistake. Now comes the point where I try to decide what I am going to do about it.

* I could leave the mistake there. This would tie into the "life lesson" I have been working on since childhood that has to do with issues surrounding perfectionism in allllllllll it's various forms. Some favorite versions are pushing myself to ridiculousness to be perfect, believing that I even have to and can be perfect, not attempting something for fear I will not do it perfectly, feeling like a complete failure for coming close, but not perfect...blah blah blah. To be honest with you, at age 42, I've worked most of this out of myself by now. Not so much with my knitting though, it seems....and now wouldn't this wee little mistake that nobody will ever see, would this not be a good exercise for me? Might this not be a good time for me to "practice letting go" of the need to be perfect? Perhaps.

But then there is the other option, of course:

* I could fix it. This would tie into the "life lesson" I seem to be working on right now which is that if I see something that needs to be done, the "right action" would be to do it. It's got something to do with "follow through". For example, if I recognize I am thirsty, I should drink (I wrote about this at lenght, and damn if I can find the post). If Ellie asks me for a hat, I should knit it. If I know the mistake in my shawl will always catch my eye, and it is in my power to fix it (which it is--it will just be a pain in the arse for an hour or so), then the right action IS to fix it. No?

Do I practice letting go? Do I practice right action and fix it? Or is it maybe that the right action is to not do things that feed my drive to be a perfectionist? Ha!

I'm sooooo open to opinions on this one people, so have it.

I can tell you that I DID cast-on for a new shawl today though....
Some patterns never die.


The Bon said...

I'd fix it, but you probably knew I'd say that.


Let it go. Just move on. In a hundred years, what will it mater?

Mouse said...

I vote for denial method.. "what mistake?". Also.. that second shawl is awesome.. is that Kureyon sock yarn?

jodi said...

Oh, honey. If it's going to drive you bonkers, which it clearly is, then you have to fix it. It's not that many rows to rip out. Also, if you're at all the type of knitter who feels compelled to point out the mistakes to anyone and everyone who admires your knitting (to avoid their noticing it themselves and thinking you're not such a knitty rockstar, when you know full well nobody but another knitter would notice it anyway), then please fix it just to spare your friends and loved ones having to endure you pointing out each and every flaw. I am THAT kind of knitter, and so I fix things. You know, to spare others my annoying insecurity.


Shrinky Inky said...

try as i might to let go, if that were my shawl it would have been a). thrown in the corner never to be seen again OR b). frogged to the error before i had the good sense to photograph it.

sorry, my OCD just won't let me let go ;)

not supergirl said...

Wow, we share this dilemma. Here's what I've come up with: I've learned to choose when it is reasonable to let my perfectionist tendencies out. (Well, I'm *learning* to choose.) So, if I know I can fix my mistake, and if I know that I will not enjoy my hobby (yep, hobby, which I do for pleasure and meditation) unless I've resolved this, well, then I go and I resolve it. There are so many times in life when it is not reasonable to try to fix those little mistakes, when it really is counterproductive, but for me, knitting is not one of them most of the time. Of course, on occasion, I do let it go, but I really weigh my choices first and try to decide which option will give me more (or steal less) joy.
So, essentially, I think it's OK to strive for perfection when perfection is actually a reasonable goal. In life as a whole, it is usually not, but sometimes, in the simple projects I knit, it is. :) Thankfully, this is a time when any decision you make will be OK.

Anonymous said...

Fix it! I too have issues with perfectionism and am trying to learn not to "sacrifice the good for the perfect." However in this case it's going to bug you, so go ahead and fix it.

Love, Karen TDL

Pickyknitter said...

I vote for the fix too. No point in leaving in a mistake out of spite :) not that I think of you as spiteful (umm. this sentence is going badly). I will fix it for you if you like.

Karen - I like the idea of not sacrificing the good for the perfect. Thank you for saying that.

Jan said...

I think I'd fix the just-abandoned shawl, since it looks like you're not too far from the mistake, and NOT fix the older one, since that mistake is almost at the beginning.

Both are beautiful!

MonikaRose said...

Hello, that is hard one. In crochet and now knitting,if the project i was making was for me and there was this small mistake, like yours, i would continue with it, sure it would nag me during the process of finishing, but at the end i know that in my projects i do not mind small mistakes. If the project was for someone else i would fix it and continue or if it was too far back, i would start over. The mistake you have made to me is small and you would not notice when completed, so i would just continue on..happy knitting..:) MonikaRose

Lynda the Guppy said...

Ok, so here's the thing. I've learned that if I am excited about a project, and then stop and don't continue no matter the temptation, it means there's something wrong I need to fix. The needle size is wrong, the yarn doesn't work with the pattern, or there's a mistake, no matter how small, and it's bugging me all to hell, even if it's just subconsciously bothering me.

So the fact that you have this same error in another shawl, and have neither fixed it nor moved on, tells me you're going to continue to be stalled and unable to move forward until you go back and fix it.

If it was me, I'd fix it. Apparently it bothers you, or you would have gone on and kept knitting on the previous shawl.

Andy said...

In the absence of a really good, helpful friend who could walk me through fixing it without making myself crazy or the problem bigger (I've done both), I would leave it. I've got a couple of those in things I use all the time. After a while, my eye quits going right to it. I once dated a guy with a mole in the center of his nose. I wondered if I'd ever NOT look right at it immediately. I eventually quit. Same idea. And then I quit him.

Lorena said...

Perfect is the enemy of finished.

Having said that, though... I would fix it... by knitting a stitch or two and then dropping all the way down and pulling everything back up with a crochet hook. Rather than rip back, that is. But if I did that and it looked like butt, I would rip back.

But knowing me, I would also be asking myself... who is this for? Am I in a hurry? What other deadlines do I have? Am I mad that I have to make this for someone who begged for a gift when I don't really have time? Do I care enough to fix it? Would a non-knitter notice? Would a man galloping by on a horse notice? Am I making it for me? Am I going to see it every day? Am I making this for a specific person for whom I need to infuse love and perfection into the gift? Am I making this just to enjoy the process of knitting?

And then I would pour myself a drink, because GOOD GRAVY, do I overthink things!

carleigh said...

I have the perfect solution. Finish the shawl, give it to ME, and you won't have to think about the glitch yet I will always be reminded of this life lesson that we seem to come across often. :)

P.S. last time I came to you with this problem, we had the same debate, and I tink'd and fixed it cause I knew it would bug me.

Enjay said...

I fix such issues. That doesn't mean that I'd rip back, or even drop down. I might try making it a design element by attempting to randomly add more, maybe sewing buttons or little whimsical things to them, or knotting fringe into those sections. Or, by spacing them evenly, even if it's only on one side. More commonly I'd rip back, but a more creative approach has it's appeal at times.

=Tamar said...

If it were me, I'd either drop down to fix it (if possible) or figure out where to cut the yarn, reknit, Kitchener and then spit-splice the ends, which will eliminate the extra yarn from the removed stitches. But that's me. I hate frogging whole rows when it isn't necessary and will go to some lengths to avoid it, even when it would probably be easier to frog.

Wool free and Lovin' Knit said...

I have returned to knitting fairly recently and I used to be the kind of knitter who never bothered to fix my mistakes and who shoved entire projects in bags and out of sight if the mistake made the item unwearable in the end. But this time around (older and wiser?) I've begun to enjoy the "process" of knitting, not just the "end product". So, if I have to knit the same piece 10x's until it's the same piece as seen in the pattern I'm following, I will usually do so. UNLESS, I don't really care about the piece at all in which case I may just rip the whole thing out and use the yarn for some more worthy project. I'd stick with your shawl, correct your mistake and enjoy the process of knitting it.