I laughed out loud when I read this comment on the Hat City post from charlene: "...it did make me feel a bit better to know that even you have to try, try again."
Oh, honey. Are you new here? Or am I guilty of giving a false impression of my knitting ability? Because I'd say I average two false starts on any given project, and rip back at least three times. If you have imagined me to be the sort of knitter who begins in confidence, proceeds with agility and ends with grace, kindly adjust your imagination. You're thinking Bullet Train when the reality is closer to mule train.
I'm a Zen Buddhist, and many studies have indicated that Zen meditation improves the clarity of one's mind. And I'm sure that's true, if you're good at it. However, I am not. My ass may be on that cushion, but my mind is dancing a jig in a field somewhere in the Alps with the Von Trapp Family Singers.
So I begin in haste, rush forward, and more often than not find I've made a hideous mistake and what was intended to be the sleeve of a sweater is too wide or too long or I switched from ribbing to stockinette and back again and or I meant to put in a little Aran braid and I didn't and...
This used to bother me. And it still does, in the moment, when I catch the error and wish I'd kept my mind on the knitting instead of daydreaming about a yarn crawl through Italy with Viggo Mortensen. (Hey, I need somebody to carry the bags.)
But it seems to me that half of becoming an expert knitter (a status to which I aspire, distant though it is) is knowing what to do when good knitting goes bad. I'm tolerably proud of some of my stuff, but no memory stands out more boldly the day I ripped back this sock. I'd finished the heel and was moving down the foot when I realized that around the ankle I'd neglected entirely to twist one of the cables.
I contemplated tinking back twenty rounds, plus the heel turn, plus the heel flap, and I felt sick. I contemplated leaving the whacking great mistake and hoping it would be covered by a shoe, and felt sicker. So I pulled out the needles–I was knitting on double-points–and ripped. An hour later, I had all the stitches back on the needle in the proper order, and I felt like Elizabeth Zimmermann had kissed me on the forehead. For the first time, I was the boss of my knitting.
I'm proud of that sock, and will be even prouder once I finish the mate, which has been sitting in my basket for two years.
Reader Mollie (no blog) ought to get a prize of some kind for guessing correctly, from nothing other than a shot of the yarn, what hat I planned to make from the merino handspun and the leftover Noro: Jared Flood's Turn A Square. It's a nifty variation on the typical striped beanie, and I must say I'm pleased with it so far.
The colors in this shot are much truer. Several folks commented that the yarns seemed identical to those of the heathery Dubbelmossa, but that was a trick of the light (and poor exposure choices on my part). The merino is a very earthy, rich natural brown and the Noro is primarily shades of jade green and lapis lazuli.
The funny thing about knitting with the handspun is that the parts I spun last are at the center of the ball, and I'm knitting from the outside–so the further I go the better the yarn gets. The best spinning will be at the top of the hat. I wish I could say I'd planned that, but see "jumbled brain," above.
Thanks from Mary Ann
You can always count on knitters to help in a crisis, or at least offer a shoulder to cry on, and y'all stepped right up after the report of stolen and yarn and laces at Knitter's Niche. Mary Ann expressed her thanks via the comments–have a look (near the end, under the screen name "niche") in case you missed it.