On Mistakes

Recently my needles fell out of my Sockhead hat and it was a disaster. I ended up having to rip back about an inch of work (in fingering weight yarn) and then get the needles back on and start knitting again. To experienced knitters, it might not sound like much, but I knit slowly. I was also in the middle of a virtual meetup with some crafting friends, and I jut didn’t want to be doing that. I wanted to be knitting the hat. I was almost to the stockinette part.

An ice cream cone on its side with some melted ice cream next to it.
Photo by Sarah Kilian on Unsplash

Part of me wanted to rip it out and start over. Getting all I was frustrated. Everything in life is chaos, and I wanted my knitting to be predictable: neat little stitches. I blamed my kid and the cats for pulling the needles out, but it was probably me: grabbed them to start working and _slip_ off comes the project! (The Addi Turbos are very slippery.) I know every knitter (every crafter) has had this moment. The moment where you have to decide if a mistake is worth fixing, leaving, or totally starting over.

There’s a tiny hole in the hat that I’ve tried to fix twice. It persists. I’ve decided to let it go. I remember once a professor was complementing a classmate’s sweater. The professor said, “You can tell it’s handmade because the stitches aren’t all exactly the same size.” The uneven stitches, the handmade-ness of it, made the sweater _better_ in the eyes of my professor. Sometimes I see photos of hand knits that look so perfect they could be off the rack at the store, and I’m jealous my pieces don’t look that good. But then I think, what’s the point of that? They’d be cheeper at the store! And so I try to embrace my mistakes, because they make my knits real in the Velveteen Rabbit sort of way. There was love (and if we’re being honest, probably tears) put into each knit.

A messy desk with a can of La Croix, a coffee warmer, some burnt matches, other office stuff, and a wooden yarn bowl filled with some hand dyed yarn and the brim of a hat.
My very real, rather messy desk with the hat after I pulled out several rows of stitches.

Mistakes are what separate us from the machines. (Okay, I’ve been watching Westworld. Season 3 is great so far.) In this time of viruses and social distancing, we have to embrace our mistakes even more than ever. There’s no place for perfectionism in my house.

"A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new." -Albert Einstein

How do you handle mistakes in your crafting? Do leave them, fix them, or start over? How do you decide? Let me know in the comments.