This is a bit of a rant about making knitting mistakes, but I think it's important. I taught myself how to knit 8 years ago and since then I've generally been "a loner knitter." Even though I love my fellow knit wits, knitting has always been a way for my to relax by myself on the couch. That being said, I have missed out on the community troubleshooting support that many other knitters receive. So here's a story about my most recent knitting mishap. I hope it helps other knitters who find themselves frustrated with a project fail with no one to currently cheer them up.
I was lucky enough to get an opportunity to design for one of my favorite yarn companies. Thrilled, for some reason I chose to make a sweater which took me 6 months to knit with all of my other projects (classic). First mistake: Thanksgiving dinner, my boyfriend sat on the sweater pulling the stitches off the needles two times. I did a horrendous job picking up the stitches - clearly in a food coma, I continued on with the project despite the clump of uneven rib stitches.
Finally I finished the 8 skein sweater, it looked and felt great. I wet blocked it and tried it on. Just to be clear, I think I always knew the neckline was too wide, but continued to knit and pretended it wasn't an issue. Not only was this a rib stitch sweater, it also had a really loose gauge. While I did my swatching and math correctly, I did not account for the stretch that the rib would have holding up the rest of the sweater. Now I'm not exaggerating, it was unwearable.
Here are the steps I take after making a knitting mistake:
1. Stop what you're doing, breathe. Try your hardest not to fix the issue if you're too frustrated. So many times have I furiously tried to fix something, like the faster I got to it the quicker it would go away.
2. Hide the project! Sometimes, you just need to step away for a moment and not look at it. Behind the couch, in a cupboard, underneath the yarn stash, as long as it's not in site.
2. Phone a friend. I met up with a knitting friend to confirm that it was a disaster, it was, gasp. We made a game plan, even though this was a top down sweater, I was going to pull out the top and knit back up to decrease the neckline.
3. Try to mend the issue at a good time. The key with coming back to a troubled project is making sure there's plenty of time and the mood is right. I had a day off and spent three hours trying to repair the mess I made.
4. Remember this is for fun. I think a lot of knitters are type-A personalities. Which is great, but too many of us are hard on ourselves for imperfections in our work. This is supposed to be fun right? When I mess up and get down on myself I always have to laugh it off and remember that this is 100% for my own pleasure.
5. Repeat as many times as needed. Unfortunately, I'm still working on the sweater and will need to pull it out one more time. Who knows? Maybe I'll need to pull it out two or three more times!
The point I'm getting at with this rant is, if you've made a mistake in knitting, it feels like it's the end of the world but it's not. You may also feel like you're the only person who could have screwed up this bad, but you're not. We all make mistakes. My first sweater, I made one sleeve a foot longer than the other. Now, I just made the neckline a bit too large. We learn from these mistakes and become better knitters. Just keep your head up, and maybe even wear a piece with a giant hole proudly.