When it’s just not right
I am getting much better at deciding that a piece of work is not right. I still have that ‘oh it will be ok’ tendency but this only last a short while. If something goes wrong, (translation – if I make a mistake), I am much happier to pull the lot out and re-knit it. This is a recent development. Three years ago, I completed a short sleeved jumper. The front and back were worked separately. The instructions for the back included a measurement to work to while those for the front numbered the rows to be worked. Needless to say, I didn’t notice that the two sides were at least 5 cm/(2in) different till I had completed both sides. I of course blamed the designer, the wool, the company that published the pattern but the reality was of course that it was totally my fault. Yes thought I dislike the word fault in most instances, a fault of mine is what it was.
In mitigation, at the time I had a very stressful job and knitting was my transport away from the considerable care and concerns. I cannot imagine how I just blindly knitted away at a garment without checking sizes and matching the front to the back! I did consider a range of ‘fixes’ but none of them would really work. I could of course have re-worked the front from the armhole upwards but my heart wasn’t in it. It was a very plain stockinette pattern and I really do need something to engage my brain. Perhaps that was the problem? As is usual in cases like this I have to let the whole thing stew for a day or so. I think I left it a week or possibly longer. There really was only one option that I was going to take, I just needed the time to accustom myself to it.
I didn’t have the stamina, the will and certainly not the motivation to try and repair it. It all had to go. I had never frogged so much back before. How utterly liberating it was. I suddenly had a bag full of lovely wool to play with and at no cost, well no extra financial cost. Since then, I’ve got much better at admitting that something isn’t working, though it still has to nag at me for a good while first. I worked on a semi-circular shawl while we were travelling in Australia last December and January. The wool had been a bit of a panic purchase. Panic as in ‘I need something light and airy to work on while I’m there’. This of course was true but instead of writing down ideas, a pattern or even a plan, I just started knitting on the plane. I had a vague idea of what I was doing but vague isn’t a good place to start and an even worse place to plough on regardless.
Needless to say it was awful. A told a designer friend that I was about to rip the whole thing out. ‘No – you can still publish it’ she urged but thankfully I ignored her. I used the blue in a simple Bretton T-shirt – see left. It looks much better than the unplanned, vague, not thought through thing that I happily dismantled. So if you are thinking of designing hand knitted patterns, take it from me design them, don’t allow some stitches to meander through your needles. It won’t end well.