I Knit On

For some reason, messing up on that hat launched me into a deep reverie about my life and the lessons I am continuously learning.  Last night, fortified by a beer and music in an otherwise empty house, I pulled out the needles and started frogging the offensive hat.  And I thought about it.  There have been many times when I realized an error in a project, and without hesitation pulled out my needles and started ripping back to fix the mistake.  Usually, anyone near me at the time (read: non-knitters), gasp and ask me how I could stand to pull out all of that beautiful work, isn’t there some way to fix it without pulling out yards and yards of yarn?

And, usually, the answer is no.  Ripping back is necessary. Believe me, when there is a quick and easy fix for a mistake, I’m going to take it.  I’ll tink back a row or even two to fix a stitch, and just recently I dropped four stitches off my needles and let them unravel – on purpose(!) – so that I could fix a miscrossed cable two inches down.  But the question these people are usually implying is ‘How can I handle it? How is it so easy for me to rip out hours of labor?’

Frankly, it’s not.  I didn’t look at this hat for 48 hours after realizing my error.  It was in serious time out for it’s offense.  I didn’t want to touch anything at that point, because I was frustrated with knitting as a whole.  I actually picked up a crochet project, an idea I had been tossing around.  Because I was feeling noncommittal, I had no problem ripping out my work a few times before settling on something (I may still rip it out if I don’t like the end product).  When I am committed to a project, however, finding errors in my work is like forgetting your partner’s birthday or losing your grandmother’s heirloom necklace.  I feel like a failure.  But the nice thing about knitting is that, after a few moments of self-pity, doubt, and possibly anger, I can fix it.  The stitches are not absolute.  And that’s what I did, pulled out the stitches and tried again.  This time, I got it right (knock on wood) and I’m almost back to the point where I realized my error.  It didn’t take long at all, and I feel much better having corrected the mistake instead ignoring it or covering it up.  There are no short roads for me.

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And then, I thought about what’s been going on in my world lately – all of the bumps and disappointments.  Things that have been out of my control or seemingly impossible to resolve.  Maybe I can’t go back an undo what has happened, but I can look back, pinpoint the problem, and find a solution – whether it means slogging through the painful memories or sucking up the disappointment and finding a different path.  I don’t have control over everything, but I do have control over my response to it, and I can still transform the situations into meaningful lessons.

 

(PS – Pattern is Windschief by Stephen West, yarn is Madeline Tosh – I forget the colorway.)

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