Tuesday, January 03, 2012


Late last night, I put my knitting down in frustration, because I had found a stupid little mistake I made in the shawl I am working on.

By stupid mistake, I mean that it's stupid that I'd even consider fixing it. It's barely visible. I had been knitting along on a row, and the mistake occurred at the spot where I should have switched colors, but I did the color change in the wrong place. I changed colors one stitch earlier than I was supposed to. One stitch.

And so now there it is: one. danged. stitch. was the wrong color, an what is even more stupid is that the wrong stitch lays on a background of its neighboring colorway, and that color is barely a contrasting color. The colors are so similar, you can barely even see the difference. Let us also not forget that this project is a shawl, which means that in the end, it will be swirled around my neck all the time anyhow.

In other words, the mistake is barely visible.

I had lunch today with MizzSincereSheep, and showed her the mistake, and while she was kind enough to not laugh in my face, she did think it was rather silly to even consider ripping back to fix something so minor. Each row has over 300 stitches in it at this point by now, with colorwork happening on every row (albeit simple colorwork, but still), and the mistake was about 4 rows back. I was certainly not going to tink (knit backwards) 1200 stitches. And I couldn't drop directly down and fix the mistake because of the way I had changed colors (there was no yarn there in the correct colorway to fix it and pick it back up again). If I was going to fix this mistake, I was going to have to take the shawl off the needles, rip it back 4 rows, untangle the color changes, and get all 300+ stitches back up on the needles. And I was going to have to do all that for one. danged. stitch. that is barely visible.

MizzSheep totally talked me down, and I sat there with my iced tea and my lunch and I knit another 2 rows.

And then later tonight, when I was at home alone, I took the shawl out of my knitting bag, I freaked out, and I ripped it back and I fixed the mistake anyhow (ripping out 6 rows by now, not just the 4). I just spent quite a long time getting the damn thing back on the needles and getting all the stitches oriented the correct way. The mistake is fixed, and I my breathing is back to normal (it had been a little shallow). But my vision is fuzzy because my eyes got all crossed and kooky while implementing the fix.

I don't know what it is about me and knitting and not being able to let mistakes go when I see them. I certainly make mistakes all the time in the rest of my life that I don't fix, and many of them are mistakes that I absolutely should be fixing, because some of these mistakes are way worse than just a single stupid invisible stitch.

Maybe it's because the mistakes I make in the rest of my life cannot actually ever be fixed. I can apologies for things, try to smooth things over, but I can never really fix them. I can't undo my screw ups. I cannot repair them. I cannot rip them out, erase them, rewind them, make them go away, start all over, and have things in the end come out looking like nothing ever happened. Even after the apology or the correction, the effects of the mistake are often still quite visible.

Maybe I fix my knitting because it's the only time I can every really truly fix a mistake....fix it to the point where you (and I) would never even be able to see that anything wrong happened in the first place.


I ask myself these questions all the time.


Connie said...

I have to admit, I would have done the same thing...ahem. It feels kinda painful to be that way. At least for me!

Anonymous said...

next time (and we all know there WILL be a next time!), you can simply duplicate stitch over the wrong color with the right color

sorry to have to tell you this after you ripped back 6 rows . . .

Knitika said...

I do that. Obsess over mistakes that are not worth my attention. (In knitting, I mean) And I've found that if it's bugging me when it's four rows back, I should go back and fix it NOW, or else I'll be fixing it when it's six rows back, and grumbling that I should have done it back at four rows. Well, I know that rationally, but then I still try and get away with it. I still try to silence the knitting perfectionist until she's yelling so loud I can't help it.

But I sure do understand that unrest, even while knowing the mistake is minimal, and the sense of rightness when it's all fixed.

Anonymous said...

I hear ya, sistah! I would have ripped back to fix the mistake too. Otherwise, I'd be too aware of its presence silently mocking me.

On the other hand, I found a mistake in an afghan years after I'd made it, and I kinda like it. Go figure.

Love, Karen TDL

Guernseygal said...

I understand. I hate knowing there is an error, but as it is colourwork there was actually a simpler fix. You could of swiss darned ( duplicate stitched) in the correct colour over the incorrect stitches xx

~Donna~ said...

I didn't use to care about knitting mistakes at all, but now I do.

It's only because the rest of my life seems so out of control, that if I can rip back a row of 300 stitches to fix something I will.

Unless I have to rip back that same row 3 times and then the very next pattern row 3 times too because for some reason I can't count and keep ending up with the wrong number of stitches on the needle and a mistake within the first 10.

Saddest part? I've made this pattern before and declared it SMOOTH and EASY. Yeah, I know.

Needless to say that pattern was shredded and a newer, simpler one started. I am much happier. :)