Thursday, November 19, 2009

Knitting is Fun...Right?

I meet many knitters--usually, though not limited to, advanced beginners--who become frantic about real or imagined mistakes. They rush up, breathless and anxious, saying they "don't know how to fix it," they "don't know how to 'go back'," or even that they "think it's ruined" ("it" being their projects).

More often than not, the real problem knitters face is their agitation, which prevents them from really seeing what's going on and how best to address it. Honestly. Once a knitter progresses past the ultra-beginner stage, he or she possesses the power to diagnose and fix 90 percent (or more) of mistakes.

Prescriptions for fixing an error include:

  • Un-knitting one stitch at a time (AKA: "tinking"--tink is knit spelled backwards)
  • Ripping back many rows (AKA: "frogging"--because "rip it" sounds like a frog: ribbit, ribbit...), then putting the stitches back on the needles without twisting them
  • Looking for suggestions and knit-fixes on the Internet
  • Finishing the project and then go back with yarn and tapestry needle to close a hole or gap
  • Learning to "be Zen" about mistakes, to renounce perfectionism and live with small errors
My very first--and imperfect--wheel-spun skein (circa 2006-07)

Whatever the fix, it's important to slow down. Take a deep breath. And another and another, until you calm down. Maybe put your project down for a day or two and come back to it.

Do what you need to do to alleviate anxiety. For only then will you be able to: (a) really see the alleged "problem" and (b) identify how you want to fix it (or not).

And that's my tip -- one of the best I have to offer: Relax. Breathe. Knitting is fun!



Julie said...

I keep a poster of Dolores the Sheep on her Virgin Wool tour, on my office wall. To remind me that knitting is supposed to be fun. Sometimes I lose sight of it too. It happens.

Knit*Six said...

That's a great idea! Sometimes it's hard to keep what we're passionate about from becoming a stressful PIA. I happens to me, too!

Anonymous said...

Please share the yarn brand for the gorgeous pastel socks!


Anonymous said...

Yes! I've seen people make themselves miserable over the teensiest mistakes!

In fact... My thoughts on this could make for a guest post - you interested?

All the best, Suzyn

Knit*Six said...

Hi, Lewyndfleur,

That sock yarn in the photo is:
ONline Supersocke 100 Cotton

Sadly, I cannot figure out the colorway (its from 2006/07 or thereabouts...)


Beth said...

You know who Julian of Norwich is! I love her writings.