Making Lemonade


Today, I would like to talk about making lemonade. Not actual lemonade, mind you, but rather, the things that we do when we make a mistake.

I think that, as artists, none of us are unfamiliar with the feelings that occur when a piece doesn’t come out quite right. As knitters, we know the disappointment the comes with spending all kind of time (not to mention money) on a project, only to have it come out less than expected. We have all, myself included, experienced this.

Most recently, I experienced this with a cardigan. I had picked out some of my favorite yarn, a local line called Twirl, and was so excited to create something with it. I was so looking forward to adding a garment made from this amazing stuff into my regular wardrobe. I spent time carefully picking a pattern that would show off the rustic quality of the yarn, and took a little over a month to knit it up. My initial doubts began after the cast off. It looked a little longer than I thought I wanted, and the stitch definition was less than stellar. But I went ahead, weaved in my ends, and blocked it out.

After blocking, my initial doubts fomented into the knowledge that I had absolutely made a mistake. The sweater had grown in length, and the fabric was far too drapey to support the structure of the design. I was heartbroken. I knew I would never wear the sweater, and set it aside for nearly a year while I ruminated on what to do. For a while, I thought that maybe my mind would change, and I would pull it out one day and find that I liked the fit. However, that kept not happening, and I had to face the facts that I simply didn’t like the sweater.

That was when it occurred to me that I still liked the yarn, and I could still use it. So I plotted out a new plan for the yarn. A sweater still, but a pullover with minimal structure, and a colorwork yoke that would show off the body, and rich color of the yarn. Last week, I embarked on this new project. I ripped out the cardigan, and began to swatch.

My point of this story is this–it is okay to make mistakes in knitting. I work in a knitting store, and too often I hear knitters worry over whether they should attempt this pattern or use that luxury yarn for fear of messing up. But everybody messes up. New knitters mess us, experienced knitters mess up, all knitters mess up. And that’s okay! Mistakes are great! They provide valuable learning experience, and can almost always be corrected. You can almost always rip something out and begin again. You can always make lemonade.

Have a tragic, knitting-gone-wrong story? Share it in the comments!


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