We’ve all been there: you’ve been toiling over a very special project, however at some point you realize something isn’t quite right about how it’s turning out. You must decide if the problem with the (insert project of your choice–knitting, sewing, drawing, novel-writing, wood-working, heck, even cooking can be a project) can be ignored, or—gasp, groan—if it requires a complete “do-over.” It depends on what the project is, I guess. If your hollandaise breaks, maybe you can save it with an ice cube. No one will know. On the other hand, if the deck you just finished has more of a slope than you intended, you could always claim you did it so rainwater would roll away from the house. You could, as long as Great Aunt June’s wheelchair or your Weber grill don’t roll off. If you goober up part of a cardigan’s knitted edge, perhaps you can hide it be draping the front, just so.
The problem is, if you are a perfectionist (here, sir), there is little you can do to convince yourself that the mistake won’t be noticeable, because frankly, you’ll always notice it yourself and it’ll make you pig-slop crazy every time you look at the
damn darn old thing.
Which is what happened to me just the other night.
I’d been working the past few evenings on my Ollalieberry Girl Cardigan, trying finish it up before I start another shawl knitalong (more on that next post). And I’d been making good progress on the piece, despite the fact the top half is all seed stitch with a crazy knitted lace edge that I can’t seem to memorize no matter what I do. Well, I’d finally finished the seed stitch bodice and was happily working the “twisted moss ribbing.” Even better, I was complimenting myself on being nearly finished with the current ball of yarn, and was fantasizing about adding a new ball the next morning. Sometime around 11pm on Monday night, I spread out my work to admire it (you know it’s important to do that), and
crappers darn it, the ribbing on the two fronts didn’t match. Sigh. Worse, the back ribbing was all wrong, too. 😦 On one side, all the ribbing had cooperated, aligning itself into gradual mountain peaks and valleys of yarn. On the bad, naughty side and the back, the ribbing had arranged itself into tidy rows of “garter rib.” It looked okay, but it didn’t match the other side, and was certainly not what was specified in the pattern. Poop.
I hemmed, I hawed. I looked at the offending project from many angles and with different light sources.
I pulled up the project page on Ravelry and poured over the photos. Was there another person who’d had this problem? If so, did they just ignore it and go with it?
No, and no.
But it was now 11:30 and I had an early morning the next day (don’t we all?) So I balled the thing up, took two Tylenol, and went to bed.
As I my head hit the pillow, I sorted through the reasons why I could’ve screwed up and what I could do about it now. Obviously I must’ve been off by a single stitch in each of the sections where I’d messed up, and while it didn’t look bad, it was wrong. Worse, I knew it was wrong.
That meant there was only one thing I could do: I’d have to rip. But I hate ripping. I mean I really, really hate to rip. Even though I’ve said it before, the prospect of ripping hasn’t changed in my mind. I hate it. Probably because to me it represents hours of work being obliterated, hours I chose to spend knitting instead of writing, drawing, making jewelry…you name it. Hours and hours thrown away like so much cat litter.
On this project, I was especially resistant since I had to rip back to the last row of seed stitch. A drop stitch disaster in waiting. Add to that columns of lace. I shuddered to think of it. If it had been a total “frogging” of the cardigan, it wouldn’t have mattered as much since it would all wind up as balls of yarn and I wouldn’t have to worry about dropping stitches or losing my place in the lace pattern. Still, I couldn’t justify leaving the sweater the way it was; I knew it’d bother me forever and I would never wear the stupid thing. It was here that I decided there was no other choice, and I’d tackle it in the morning when the light was good and strong.
The next day, after a couple of strong cups of coffee, I picked up a nice long sharp circular needle a size or two smaller than what I was working with and began the tedious task of weaving the needle through the seed stitches and the lace. It took a while, and I did a bit of picking up through the wrong row. But with patience—argh, I hate having to be patient—I made it all the way through and ripped, fixing any dropped or wrongly picked up stitches as I went.
I also found that I’d been correct about having a missing stitch in each of the wrong sections, so after the ripping was finished and the stitch counts rectified, I started ribbing again, and voila! By the time I went to bed last night, I’d nearly regained the ground I’d lost in the morning after ripping.
I could torture myself that I’d have been completely finished with the ribbing if I hadn’t screwed it up to begin with. But I’m sure there will be something else in this darling project to make me nuts. Just wait. 😉