FALL 2021 KNITALONG ~ WEEK 4 BLOG ~ Mistakes
Today, I want to remind you that making mistakes in your knitting journey is okay. I would even venture to say it’s expected. You will make mistakes. I will make mistakes. Even those who you consider to be knitting experts will make mistakes.
I asked Laurel, one of the incredible designers at Knit Collage, if she's ever made knitting mistakes, and here is what she had to say…
“I made a mistake on a sweater I am currently knitting to work a regular bind off after the ribbing, but instead the pattern said to work an i-cord bind off. So, I had to rip back and redo which took a few hours since there were hundreds of stitches on fingering weight yarn.
Moral of the story is to read the pattern and don't always assume you know what comes next. Even if you have read it, it's always good to check again and confirm before moving on to the next step. I find so many mistakes are made by not taking the time to fully read the pattern and any notes given by the designer. It is a simple thing to do but very easy to skim through things because you just want to start knitting!”
I then asked Cheryl, another designer and one of the lovely knitter teachers here, about her approach to knitting mistakes…
“Ahhhh, mistakes. I like to call them signature modifications!
Depending on the level of mistake, I will either frog back or find some way to incorporate the ‘modification’ and continue on. For example, if I’m working a lace pattern and discover a missing YO, I’ll just work one in, similar to a M1 just without the twisted stitch. If I’ve got an extra stitch, I might bury a decrease somewhere in the row in visa versa with a missing stitch! However, my basic mantra is this, if I continue on the project and all I see is that “mistake” then I know I need to go back. Otherwise, that finished project will reside in the back of the closet! In the end, you need to be satisfied with your work.”
I am so grateful that Laurel and Cheryl opted to share their experiences with mistakes. When I first began to knit as a child, my mom used to remind me, “The best thing about knitting is that you can almost always fix your mistakes.” It’s true, you can fix mistakes!
I’ve found that knitters are often so incredibly hard on themselves, particularly when it comes to something they deem as a ‘stupid’ or ‘obvious’ or ‘silly’ mistakes. And yet, when it is a friend who has made the mistake, the knitter is right there helping in whatever way they can. I don’t think any knitter has every said to a fellow knitter, “Wow that is so dumb! How could you have not caught that on your own?” Why do we treat ourselves so differently?
So the next time you make (or discover) a mistake, here are five reminders:
- Talk to yourself like you would a friend: Be thoughtful, be compassionate, and remain curious. Catch yourself before going into negative self-talk (this can be tricky, repetition helps!)
- Ask yourself: Why do I knit? Is it to make perfect recreations of ready to wear sweaters? Likely not. Most of us knit for the process, we knit for the one-of-a-kind creations, we knit because it soothes us.. And so much more.
- Validate yourself: Feeling upset, or frustrated, after you’ve made a mistake is okay. I know it can be quick to say - “But it’s just knitting!!!” and yet, usually that doesn’t make our emotions go away. It can be helpful to say to yourself, “It makes sense that I feel frustrated.” Acknowledge that your emotions are valid.
- Consider giving yourself a break: I’ve discovered mistakes and felt disappointed. I’ve found myself frustrated, and sometimes so frustrated that I can’t think straight. So I give myself a break. Giving myself time allows for my emotions to naturally return to baseline, and also allows me to think clearer! I can then make an educated choice about what I can do next to fix (or leave) the mistake.
- Reach out!: You don’t have to do this alone. ESPECIALLY during this KAL! There are so many people who really and truly want to help you achieve your knitting goals. The special thing about asking knitters for help is that we have all been there. All knitters start somewhere (and we’ve all made mistakes!).
Of course, every single knitter (and gosh every human!) has a different way of approaching and working through mistakes. Overcoming knitting challenges has this fantastic way of reminding ourselves that yes, we CAN do hard things, whether it is picking up a dropped stitch or replacing a flat tire, or somewhere in between.
So my question for you: How do you overcome mistakes?
And a bonus question: What is a knitting mistake that you’ve made? (and how did you figure it out!?).
Take care and happy knitting,
Emma of Bloom and Create, Amy and the Knit Collage Team