Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sometimes you just have to start over

Knitting is a metaphor for life.

  • If you knit something, and the yarn feels wrong, and keep on knitting, and discover you miscounted somewhere, and keep on knitting . . . stubbornness will not turn a series of mistakes into a right. You need to unravel, choose another yarn, and start over.
  • Sometimes people knit really ugly things. They love the scarf, shawl, hat, bag, etc. and bestow their gift to treasured family and friends. Think Aunt Bea and those horrible, nose-plugging, heartburn-inducing kerosene pickles. Wear the scarf, eat the pickles, and value the love behind the less-than-lovely results.
  • Many patterns look a lot better on paper than in reality. The same is true for candidates, laws, recipes, school curricula, franchises, mortgages, stocks, mutual funds, credit cards, and e-friends. Ask around and see what other people have said before you invest your time, talent, and money in a pretty picture.
  • If you don't take the time to knit a swatch, you shouldn't complain if your sweater ends up way too small (after spending weeks and weeks knitting it).  Trial runs and rough drafts almost always lead to something way better.
I just spent a week knitting a vest I really want, even though I knew at the outset that the yarn felt too rough, the sleeve design didn't work right, and the stitch count was inconsistent with the pattern. Finally, I took stock of what I was doing, and frogged the whole thing (rip it, rip it).  
I'm starting over. With a gauge swatch, the right yarn, a better understanding of the pattern, and more than a little humility. 

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