Like a rear view mirror

This knitted object is larger than it appears.


I know it looks like I’ve just two little sleeves done, and even less of the front than I had last time, but I swear it’s way more than that. For starters, that’s actually three sleeves (one reknit of one sleeve) and that back is actually about 3 backs. I reknit the first 10 cm of it about 7 times, and then yesterday when I had just about the whole back knit I realized that I’m a total idiot, (Well, technically that was something I already knew. It was just showing again.) because I had knit just about the entire thing to perfection, with the exception of one small detail…. which was that I had more stitches on one side of the panel than the other. Two, to be exact.


I’m as flexible as the next knitter, and there’s tons I can overlook in a sweater, but that’s too big for me. Way too big. A mistake like that is the kind that gives me the creeping heebies, and I know exactly what happens if I ignore it. I’d tell myself I didn’t care while I knit the right front. I’d look at it a lot while I knit the left front. I’d show it to other knitters and ask them if they could tell and you know how knitters are… they would all say they couldn’t, but I wouldn’t believe them. (Mostly because about half of them would be dying to rip it out themselves.)

I would block it maybe, and remeasure. “It’s only two stitches” I would tell myself, and I would think about ripping it back and then I would manage to convince myself not to be so much of a perfectionist, and start talking about my awesome ability to let things like this go. Then I would block it again, remeasure it again, maybe even start sewing the sweater up. I’d tell myself that I was learning to relax. I’d even tell other people that I had learned to relax. (Then Joe and the girls all my friends would lie on the floor and laugh until they wept and gasped for air.)

I would tell myself about the galloping horse rule (If you can’t see it from the back of a galloping horse, then it doesn’t matter) or I would remind myself that a small human is likely going to puke on this, and that it’s still going to be a beautiful sweater even with two few stitches on one side. (I would ignore the twitch that always turns up over my right eye when I try too hard to buck my true nature too hard.)


Finally, I would lie the thing down, smooth my hand over it see that those two stitches were all I could see, and something would snap. Totally snap, and I’d rip it back and re-knit it, because dammit, knitting is one of the only times in your life you can make something perfect, make it the way you want it and totally be the boss of the whole thing. If a two stitch difference bugs the snot out of me, then hell…. I can fix it. I don’t have to live with imperfection in knitting the way that I do with the rest of the world and anybody who thinks that’s nuts, well fantastic, because knitting is just so awesome that if you leave a two stitch difference that doesn’t bother you at all, then you get a sweater that will be loved to shreds the same as mine.

The whole thing can be tailored for your personal brand and level of obsession, and me, I ripped back that bad boy so fast it would make your head spin around, and I even congratulated myself for not angsting about it or pretending that it wasn’t making me totally nuts for a week first.

It’s personal growth.

151 thoughts on “Like a rear view mirror

  1. Good for you for accepting the inevitable and ripping back before the whole sweater was knit. And pointing out that such situations as this are what makes knitting good for so many people, the perfectionists and the nonperfectionists alike.

  2. Good for you. It’s kind of like taking off a bandaid, rip it quick , it will smart for a minute then all is well.

  3. Well…it looked beautiful with two few stitches…so just think how perfect it will look with the correct number!

  4. I can totally relate, Steph – I once frogged a 2nd sock back to the beginning 4 freakin’ times – then I redid the 1st sock because there was such a huge difference between the two – I couldn’t stand it.
    Makes total sense to me.

  5. The little sweater will be beautiful! Personally I wouldn’t have minded the two extra stitches, but I don’t have a twitchy eye….. :O)

  6. Beautiful! If only more little mistakes could be chaulked up as personal growth, what a wonderful world it would be.

  7. You know, that’s great. Better to do it now rather than have to undo seams and everything else later. Sometimes, it just can’t be helped.

  8. i’m with you on this one! i look at the fact that i can rip stuff like this out and make it as perfect as i want to be one of the few small areas in life i can control. have at it !

  9. Yes, I agree you did the right thing. It was the only thing that could be done. I think that the steps you take getting to that decision are necessary – take a step back, consider the options, accept reality (that you can’t live with the mistake – I couldn’t either) and then go-to. It might be better to go through the process rather than just start ripping and have to convince yourself afterwards that you did the right thing (which is what I would do). That really is a beautiful pattern, and I can’t wait to see the finished product!

  10. I might have thought about knitting the corresponding front with 2 stitches less. The side seams would be out of synch with each other… but only slightly so.
    Of course, I can so well understand you – especially after yesterday ripping out an almost completed shawl because I couldn´t get the knitted on border make fit as I wanted to.

  11. Right on!
    What is the sound that a thing makes when it’s being ripped back? A thrumming, purring sound, almost. I believe that the work is relieved that we care enough to fix it.

  12. I know exactly how you feel. I just frogged the entire body of a top-down sweater – great design, perfect yarn, lovely knitting – wrong frigging size. I’m still waiting for the washed, frogged yarn to dry, and then I’m at it again. I shall not be held back by the illusion that I am a Medium when I am so clearly a Large. Dammit.

  13. Despite having knit this project several times over, it is beautiful. cecilia

  14. We are so proud – and a little envious – You saved an entire week and your sanity in one fell-swoop!!

  15. I most likely would have looked to see if the two offending stitches could have been put into the side seam, and if so then cast them off where I was and just continued with the correct number of stitches!

  16. It would have driven me nuts….I would have ripped it out.
    Good thing we live in different parts of the world…more than one of this type of perfectionism would engender some contradition in chemical thermodynamics.

  17. Some of us are born perfectionists, some of us are not. Some perfectionists demand perfection of themselves; some demand it of everyone and everything around them. I am a perfectionist. I am a widow who lived over 55 years with a husband who was not, causing me to absolutely have to be the one who did all the sanding, painting and varnishing ever done in our household. Maybe a little relaxing of my standards would have kept me less tired. But looking at imperfection in a varnished tabletop is painful: it’s all I could see. I absolutely don’t blame you for the ripping out. Others might not see the difference two stitches would make, but your eye would never stray from that sight. It’s either a curse or a blessing. Sometimes I think it’s more of a curse. But when it comes to the satisfaction of seeing perfect work, nothing can beat that. And we can foraever be happy that we’ve created at least a tiny bit of perfection in this world. Can anyone fault us?
    Betty Mason
    Vernon, Texas

  18. I soooo get it!!! Am a fairly new knitter, but have anally(DH’s term)ripped out and fixed the most minuscule error in my embroidery and beadwork because I know it’s there and the satisfaction of fixing it is worth it!!!!! I also have to start everything 3 times. It has gotten so that I am actually sighing with relief while ripping out the second time because I know the next time is a go!

  19. I can’t tell you how many times I have had this fight with myself. In fact I’m having it over a sample right now where I looked at the first size when I was making the second… so the two back pieces are a few stitches off from each other.

  20. Steph?
    You’re nuts.
    But I’m insane, so it’s okay. If we weren’t the kinds of crazy we are today, we wouldn’t be the same people and boy wouldn’t that suck hard.

  21. just last night (and i swear this is true), i ripped back 2 shawls. neither complete, mind you.. but 2 shawls nevertheless. i did it because one was in the wrong yarn completely, and the other had a knit stitch where a purl stitch should be (if you make a working copy of your pattern, check to see if that shaded boxes remain shaded!). i feel ok about it. because from the back of my galloping horse i could see both of those issues.
    so i’m sayin’… you did the right thing.

  22. you lasted way longer then I would have…And am right in assuming that a pattern will be forthcoming?

  23. What I keep wondering is, “Why can’t I get this same level of obsessive perfectionism going for housework?”

  24. I’m exactly the same way! I’ve been working on making peace with my perfectionist nature, and it’s made me less stressed. I’m glad you’re doing it too!

  25. I feel your pain. I just ripped out a completed back of a vest all the way to the armpits because i realized I did the armhole shaping all wrong. I also had to rip out half of the armhole on the front side too. yay!!!

  26. Damn straight!
    and it’s beautiful – what a gorgeous colour it is when knit up.

  27. Let’s channel DEVO for a moment:
    When a problem comes along… you must rip it!
    When everything is going wrong… you must rip it!
    Rip it! Into shape! Shape it up! Get straight! Go for it! Move ahead!

  28. You’re so right! When the work is seen, it speaks for itself. Perfection is the best reflection on us that there is. And I find, with time, I forget the struggle and only see the work with satisfaction.

  29. Not that this will be helpful at all…
    Would I have noticed the 2-stitch difference if you hadn’t pointed it out? Absolutely not. My sense of spatial relationships sucks noodles.
    If I had been knitting that sweater and discovered the difference, would I have ripped the back? Oh, absolutely…after about an hour’s consultation with the voices in my head.
    Come to think of it, I did actually have a moment like this while visiting Pittsburgh last weekend. I was working on that Alice Starmore wrap on which I’ve been working since the Dawn of Time (okay, more like August 2007, but a lot has happened since August 2007) and discovered that I did an extra pattern repeat on three of the long Celtic knots — about 10 rows’ and 2 hours’ worth of work. The knots were definitely longer than their sister knots, but they did look pretty. As I thought to myself, “really, who else would notice besides me?”, the answer came thundering into my head: “Alice Starmore, that’s who.”
    I decided to frog them. AS will probably never see the finished wrap, but it feels good to know that if she does, she won’t have me killed for screwing up her knotwork. 😉
    By the by, that sweater is so gorgeous that I could eat it. (But I won’t.)

  30. Some people called those errors
    “Spirit stiches”
    So you could let them go,
    however i have made an error myself and now feel I should go and fix it

  31. I’ve actually ripped back a sweater to the armholes(large adult size with short rows etc) that was assembled, washed and BLOCKED and fixed the fit. I think I was in denial that something was wrong and had convinced myself that blocking would fix it. sigh
    I’ve also ripped out an entire lace scarf that I had worn around for a year and re-knit it wider because it had stretched to narrow. Oddly enough, that didn’t strike me as excessive at all! It felt right.

  32. And Margaret and BettyMason are right: the work lasts, the imperfections annoy, the pain of the do-overs recedes. Much better to suffer the pain now for the lingering satisfaction.

  33. Oh yeah, that would drive me nutty, too. I just couldn’t leave it.
    It’s going to be a beautiful sweater!!

  34. Good good ripping. If you had left it, then you would surely have seen that the center design would have been off and you would have tugged and tugged at it while it was on the wee one in the vain hope of putting it straight (for pictures of course.)
    A wee one and a wee sweater can only take so much tugging.
    Knit on!

  35. Hey, I’m the queen of three sleeves. Almost every sweater I knit, I have to knit a third sleeve because something is not right. My luck would have it, if I was knitting your sweater, that the next time I knit the back I’d have 16 sts on the right side of the panel and 14 on the left. You go, girl – may the knitting fairies go with you!

  36. Lordy Lordy I do hope the baby doesn’t puke on this marvel. I’d be afraid to let the wee one wear it. Gorgeous pattern yarn and job and NO I would not have ripped it out.

  37. See, this why all of us get you. I would have done the same thing (with the angsting).
    My sister would have kept knitting-I have no idea how she can stand to do that.

  38. Did the projects in “time out” get to watch? Maybe it will help them behave.
    Thanks for the example. Next time this happens to me (which will most likely be tomorrow), it will be so much easier to get right to the frog!
    Thank you, Dear Harlot

  39. It’s beautiful, and being true to your own nature is beautiful, too. I hope – truly, truly hope – that you are planning on sharing that pattern with us. We have little people to knit for, too, you know and would love to be able to share your creativity with our little ones.
    (And Janet, the DEVO was too good – I have to go play that song now!)

  40. I’m in the in process of ripping back as well I’m making a throw from Throws for All Seasons using Manos de Urguay for my niece.
    I gave it to her partially completed at her bridal shower on Sat.
    6/28 – she loves it – so now it can be perfect. I’m continuing a tradition – my great Auntie Evie made afghans for her grandchildren. She knit well into her 80s and died at 104.

  41. Hmm… I seem to be in the minority here, but after much internal debate, I think I would have let it go.
    The sweater is gorgeous. As much as it would have bothered you to know it was 2 stitches off, I’m fairly sure that the time spent on the creation of the pattern, the three sleeves, and the previously restitched back panel is sufficient proof that your intentions are to have an absolutely perfect sweater.
    Perhaps the message that people aren’t perfect, we all make mistakes (sometimes a lot of them), and can overlook them and move on could be a symbolic message to give this new little life entering the world? (I know, too late, you ripped already).
    Regardless of what errors there are or are not, the baby will be wrapped in enough love and energy while wearing the sweater to carry it through most of it’s life. I’m sure the second sweater will provide the rest.

  42. Did you ever see the Gary Larson drawing of the side view mirror that is totally filled with an angry looking eyeball and you read the notice on the mirror that “objects in the mirror are closer than they appear”?
    Something about 20/20 vision is commonly said here. Also something about frogs.

  43. I hate that. I dont know why I always try to push pass the mistake and just think I will be ok with it. I think that I dont need to rip when I know that eventually it WILL drive me crazy and I should just get it over with!

  44. I would have ripped too–and I can’t walk by a piece of paper out of square-and I get worse not better. I try to walk by ,ignoring things not symetrical but I end up running back to fix whatever. Sigh. OCD is not for wimps.
    Monk the tv detective has nothing on me.

  45. Don’t you just hate when this happens? I am the same way. And have given up, out of frustration, on many projects. Perfect is the only way for me. And I know that quite often I am the only one that can see a mistake that I believe is glaring. Can I be nosy? What is the stitch pattern on the side panels?

  46. Dude. I would have ripped it back had I noticed it a few rows in, but with almost the whole BACK PIECE done? No way. Those two stitches would have gone into the side seam and been hidden from view! Or I would have just decided not to let it bother me, as nobody is going to notice a two-stitch difference. Two inches, yes. Two stitches? No.

  47. I was so wowed by the color of that yarn, I can almost justify re-knitting it repeatedly just to hang out with it a little longer. And assuming that we’re knitting because it pleases us, then if it pleases you to seek perfection in your work, more power to you. Best to do the thing that drives you the least crazy.

  48. I can’t wait for the pattern for that gorgeous sweater!!
    With that said, I would have had to see it in person, but I am the worst kind – a perfectionist who is also lazy. Which means I would have left it but it would have driven me near the brink of insanity. I would have to quickly get the sweater out of my presence and on to the recipient where it was no longer in my control.
    I’ve also adopted the “Perian rug” philosophy. Women who weave Persian rugs intentionally weave an error into every rug they make. Nothing grossly obvious to anyone but the weaver. That way, they can identify the rug as theirs. Those two stitches would have had to have been my identifier.
    It’s beautiful either way!

  49. I understand completely, but might not have torn it out. I just finished the entire peplum on Norah Gaughan’s Manon. The sweater will be much too large. I decided not to rip it out, but to make a deal with someone else who it might fit to finish it. I ordered brand new yarn (exact duplicate of what I had) and will knit it again two sizes smaller.

  50. I would have done what you did, ripped that sucker back faster than you can say ‘boo’. My life might not be perfect, but dammit, my knitting is!

  51. That is a beautiful cable, and it was beautiful even when it was off center. It’ll be even better when it’s centered.
    The yarn is beautiful, and it’s going to be a very lucky baby with a very pretty sweater.

  52. I totally agree with you. And, after all it is a baby sweater, so on the rather small side to begin with, and even if you could have sewn one seam wider than the other side, it still would not have “hid” the difference, especially since it’s going to a knitting mum. Really, I don’t see how you had a choice at all. Of course, I rip back charity washcloths for even sillier reasons. Why? Because I can! Carry on….

  53. Completely agree! Knowing it’s going to bug you until the end of time takes all the joy out of something that should be enjoyed!
    Now on to the knitting… it’s gorgeous! I love it. I hope when you’re done you’ll spend some time telling us what the stitch patterns and cables are.
    Happy designing.

  54. I would not have ripped it out if I thought it could fit into the side seam… but… I would have ripped it out if it had been for me. Because every time I put it on I would have seen the error! So I totally sympathize.

  55. You go girl! I agree with you wholeheartly. I think of myself as the queen of ripping. If I see a mistake, I can’t take my eyes away from it. The whole project could be perfect except for one little stitch and I only see that one….little….stitch.

  56. any more personal growth and
    you will soon be as tall
    as the rest us

  57. Ah…now I don’t feel quite so crazy for frogging the entire back of my Must Have Cardi when I realized I had knit it with two different sized needle tips. Not a tear was shed, either…because like you I knew that if I wanted it to be perfect I was well entitled to rip and redo! And now I love it!

  58. God love you, Steph. You are an amazing knitter and a very special person, but I have to say, I think you’re nuts (in the best possible way, of course). I could totally have lived with two extra stitches (of course, I’m always looking for a little extra ease). What exactly is the gauge on this sweater? I mean, how much difference does two stitches make?
    I understand the perfection thing and all, but I think you are all better knitters than I. Given the tiny slice of knitting time that I can squeeze in between work and kids and lessons and errands, I’d be thrilled to tears if I could ever FINISH a sweater, regardless of how many extra or few stitches there are!
    I’m proud to say I know you (even if it’s only virtually) and I’ll enjoy your knitting virtue vicariously!

  59. Good for you! I used to try to talk myself out of all of the feelings that I thought were unreasonable, or I wouldn’t even admit to myself that I felt them. No, even if it’s unreasonable, this is how I feel, and no amount of denial is going to change that. Go you for being honest with yourself and doing what you knew in your heart you wanted to do. The other people who will say you’re crazy already thought so anyway.

  60. I know you’ve been watching Stargate SG-1 recently. Don S. Davis, who played General Hammond (and to me, was loved as Dana Scully’s dad from The X-Files) died yesterday morning, June 29, of a massive heart attack. I haven’t seen any reports of it on the news, which is sad. He was a really sweet man.

  61. I applaud your personal growth, and support your ripping! I’ve been working on the same kind, and don’t let anyone fool you into thinking it is easy!
    Also, where does the “galloping horse” rule come from? It kind of gives me the hives just thinking about being that relaxed about something.

  62. I really don’t know if I would have ripped it out. I just kept wondering the same thing as Violet asked, “Why can’t I get this same level of obsessive perfectionism going for housework?” I think I have an answer. If we were that obsessive about housework, we wouldn’t have any time to knit!!!!

  63. I just dealt with a similar situation with a much larger sweater that has taken me much longer to knit by wadding it up and stuffing it in the back of the stash closet, where I will deny its existence until the end of time. Maturity is overrated.

  64. I’m the type that would have let it go. I think. Better to be imperfect and make everyone feel better by comparison. Yeah, that’s it – it’s an altruistic thing…

  65. It would have driven me nuts too. To heck if nobody else could see it – *I* could. I’d have ripped.

  66. the last time my ‘ocd’ ripped something out while my ‘i can live with that’ and my ‘i knit on that til my fingers bled and F*%^ one little mistake’ stood there gobsmacked (i say that every chance i get), i couldn’t put my right arm over my head for 3 days. i held mabel in my left hand and wrapped the ball with my right and i wound the whole thing at one fell swoop at mach 3 so i could be done with it before my ‘what the hell are you doing’ could stop me. i woke up the next morning and my ‘there was a better way to do that’ was standing at the foot of the bed laughing it’s ass off at me.

  67. *sits up, wiping eyes and trying to recover breath lost to hysterical laughter*
    Sorry, still processing that part where you’d try to convince others that you’d become relaxed.

  68. I would totally knit it over, too. It looks just lovely and will be so worth every second that you work on it!

  69. Coming from someone who just knit the “Juliette” sweater 3 (three) YES that’s 3 times! I totally understand and appreciate where you are coming from. I too suffer from the same inablilty to look beyond or past what others will probably never see. But once I know its there …. it is ALL I will see. Ripping makes perfect sense to me 🙂

  70. There’s a lace afghan from my early-on-in-lace days that I have forever since wished I’d ripped halfway back and redone. Best to wrap the yarn firmly to the horse’s saddle and let it gallop away with those stitches.

  71. I keep telling myself I’d have hidden the extra stitches in the seam, and realizing that not only would it bother me, it would be noticeable by everyone who saw that sweater after it was outgrown, the mother tenderly wrapped it and put it away, and hundreds of years later someone examined it in a museum and said “Oh, look, a rush job.” So congratulations. It’s beautiful.

  72. I have no idea what I would have done. I might have ripped it out. I might have sewn it up and done the hands over eyes LA LA LA LA LA thing while I was putting it together.
    But, knowing me, and my tendency to be dreamy and not a little bit out of it? I wouldn’t have noticed until the person having the baby opened up the package. And THEN it would haunt me ’til I die.

  73. If you hadn’t ripped it back, you would have completed all the pieces then shoved them in a bag at the back of the closet because you couldn’t bear to put it together. Good for you!

  74. Many, many years ago, I made a crewel picture of a LOVE stamp, on the bottom it says USA (small letters). I had it framed and it hangs on my wall. The only thing I see when I look at it is the right side of the A isn’t _quite_ right. I don’t see the lovely french knots, the beautiful long and short stitch, I only see that darn A. I UNDERSTAND COMPLETELY.

  75. Making the decision to rip is the hardest part. Once you start ripping, you know you have done the right thing. I used to forgive lots of errors, but now I find myself ripping back to correct. Good for you for having the standards to not accept the incorrect.

  76. Well, based on the amount of ripping you’ve described so far, this yarn must wear like iron. I mean, it still looks gorgeous!
    I wish my yarn could take a beating like that nearly half so well!

  77. Thanks for showing us that you are just like us–which, in turn, makes us feel less “crazy” for doing the same thing!

  78. I have selective OCD. If that two stitches happened on something I was knitting for myself, I’d find a way to hide it in a seam or suchlike or just get on that galloping horse. I have, however, just ripped back (for the third time) a freaking 8 x 8 afghan square I’m contributing to a project for an acquaintance. {sigh}

  79. Yes, always rip it out as soon as possible, when you know you can’t live with it. Then knit another row or pattern repeat over the top and pretend nothing ever happened. I find that the least painless.

  80. …or you could just add the two stitches to the front to compensate….just sayin’

  81. this is one of the funniest posts ever. Miss Stephanie you are pure magic and free psychotherapy. I love it , keep it coming. And by the way , in my opinion it looked like two perfect mismatched sides & I would have taken a swig of something & done the same thing. No regrets. Love from Margaritaville.

  82. When the Navaho weave their blankets, they purposely include a “mistake” since the Great Spirit is the only thing considered perfect. Luckily when I crochet, I don’t have to worry about offending the Navaho–the blanket I’m crocheting has an extra chain three. There was NO WAY I was going to lose an hour’s work. Pretty good for a little Virgo rising…

  83. I soooooo totally understand.
    Years ago I was crocheting a summer cotton sweater (2 strands of knit-cro-sheen held tog) and I had about 10 inches of the front done. I had the back panel finished. The sweater was worked from the bottom up. Friends were agast one day as they saw me ripping it back… I showed them the shell that was wrong 3 or so inches up from the bottom… they couldn’t see it and didn’t understand that even if they couldn’t see it, I KNEW it was there and wrong. Having the error was going to drive me crazy, more crazy than ripping back and redoing the piece.

  84. mmmmmmmmmm……….. that sweater will just be so beautiful! sorry if this is repetitive, but will it be available for sharing? the pattern, that is. not the actual sweater!

  85. Gretchen’s right of course — a galloping horse rule is unthinkable. The rule is “It would never be noticed from a trotting horse.”
    Two stitches. You are all utterly barking.
    But at least it wasn’t a thumb.

  86. I add to the good for you’s: For making the damned mistake and having the -we know what- to redo it.
    Yay Yarn Harlot.

  87. Next time my family tells me I’m crazy for frogging something I will pull up this post (and all the comments) to show them…

  88. I think you just love the yarn too much to let it be finished. ’nuff said.

  89. Dawn’s comment just caused me to snort seltzer out my nose and pee my pants at the same time.
    “there was a better way to do that” indeed.

  90. Hi. you may not make it to this message, since I see you have quite a few since you have posted this, but I had to add:
    We had a saying in my old SnB group. Actually, we had a few, but well, two are relevant here.
    1. Good enough for government work.
    -we were all being trained on the government’s dime to be scientists.
    2. Only Allah is perfect.
    -not meant in mockery, far from it, we used it to remind us that we are human. we make mistakes. our recipients wouldn’t give a fig if the seem was straight and the corners matched (quilting) or if the stitch count was off or a yo was missed (knitting and crochet – we were equal opportunity crafsters.)
    Of course the corollary to this was that it was understood that we all had our OCD moments and we needed to choose our battles.
    Sometimes, when I realize I made a mistake, I am happy there is one. It is handmade. But, right now, I am making a sweater for my 9 day old niece by combining two different patterns, and have only frogged portions 3 or 4 times. Pretty good, if you ask me.

  91. Have been there so many times. Have been down to the toe of a sock that I had frogged a couple times already. I snapped and ripped it back. Bully for you. Because you can! You’re in charge!
    susan93940 on Ravelry.

  92. We can control so little in this life. You go, girl! Show it who’s the boss of it and don’t let up even when it squeals!

  93. I gotta tell you, you really can’t see the difference between the two sides. Really. Or at least, I can’t. But if you wanna rip it out and have a do-over, go for it. Gluck!

  94. Sarah said: …or you could just add the two stitches to the front to compensate….just sayin’
    Genia says: WHAT!? And have both back AND front be wrong?
    The first baby blanket I made had a yo about an inch from the beginning, and I didn’t see it until I had gone about 3 feet. So I left it. And it still drives me absolutely nuts to think that somewhere in Afghanistan there is a baby blanket with a Big Fat Mistake in it.
    Of course you had to rip it back!

  95. Well put. It is satisfying to have someone else hit the nail on the head, because then I know I’m not crazy, and there’s probably lots of other knitters out there also saying, yes! yes! yes!
    Isn’t there??? And if I can’t control this little leetle part of my universe, well what then?
    This makes me feel so much better. Some folks swear I spend more time ripping things out and starting over again than I do actually knitting a finished project.
    And I’ve got lots of finished projects for someone who has only been knitting for a couple of years. I love reading a column by someone who is probably more obsessed than I am, but who’s counting? Well, I’m counting the stitches in this row of lace. Again . . .

  96. Years ago we had to have our bathroom re-tiled. We couldn’t afford the really good tile guy, so we ended up having our contractor do it. He was (and probably still is) a perfectly lovely man, but every single day since I haven’t been able to sit on the toilet without staring at every one of his mistakes (and Ray, if you’re reading this, you CAN tell that you ran out of dark grey grout in the corner).
    So hell yes, I’d frog back to the cast on if I had to. We have so few chances in life to have things just the way we want them, we might as well enjoy the times we do.

  97. Had I had that much done on a sweater for me I would have left it (after much agonizing, perfectionism versus many thousands of stitches to reknit…). Two stitches in a 3X sweater is a drop in the ocean, but with a baby sweater… frog and reknit, definitely.

  98. My husband said to me, “Do you think this is normal behavior, or do you see that it is very extreme and unusual behavior?” I did not answer him. I kept frogging until it was perfect.

  99. “Irregularity is the charm of all handwork” – well that maybe, but I think I would have frogged it – little baby versus two stitches, it would show. Plus it is a present for someone who would also notice – even in a sleep-deprived state they would probably notice.
    Note to Violet. The housework will need redoing soon, can you do it perfectly then.

  100. “Because dammit, knitting is one of the only times in your life you can make something perfect, make it the way you want it and totally be the boss of the whole thing.”
    As I sat up til the wee hours last night, compulsively trying over and over and over again to get the hang of double-pointed cast on and joining (I’m a newbie), this would have made a lot of sense.
    The less perfect everything else is, the more my compulsion to Get The Damn Knitting Right.

  101. Plus, it’s your own design. That makes it even more special. Love the “galloping horse” rule. I’ll have to use that! The yarn seems to be holding up really well.

  102. Or, when you join all of the pieces together, you just put the two extra stitches in each row into the seam allowance.

  103. I agree with AnnieRN. I couldn’t have coped with two stitches less, showing on the front (or back), but two stitches extra in the seam allowance? No problem.

  104. At times like this I always keep in mind something Sally Melville says : “you planned to look for more knitting when you finished this project right?- so by ripping back what have you just given yourself? ..more kniting…”
    But it’s the 3am rip when something has to be Fedexed to NYC that day that really feaks me out.
    Happy Canada Day!!!

  105. I always leave in one mistake…reminds me that only God is perfect. But which mistake? So I rip and rip, thinking I’ll let the next mistake be the one I leave in. Never works. My reminder ends up being the mistake of ripping out every mistake and doing each piece over and over again!

  106. I can appreciate your perfectionism even while I disagree with it. Since the sweater is in pieces, I would have just taken the extra two stitches into the seam. But then again, I don’t knit at the speed of light the way you do. Damn, you’re fast.

  107. If you’re convinced this baby is a girl, why are you knitting the blue sweater first?

  108. It’s interesting though to see how knitters progress in their fears about mistakes. When I first started knitting, I had mistakes that had to be frogged. Big mistakes- you can’t give a baby a sweater that won’t fit over her head (completely hypothetical case of course). And when that sweater was done, I was so proud that it fit a human baby, I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. It had other mistakes- what I now consider big mistakes but then, I thought it was pretty great. Now, I would frog for something like a misplaced stitch or in the case of the socks I’m knitting, a twisted purl stitch increase instead of a knitted stitch increase.
    I think it shows progression in your art that you change patterns to suit you or frog when you are displeased with something.

  109. I will admit that I can’t tell the 14 from the 16, and if you hadn’t fessed up I would have happily oohed and ahed over the finished sweater and thought what a clever knitter you are.
    I will also admit that I reknit my square for the WoolyBabe’s blanket because the tension on the first one was a bit wonky and blocking did not dewonk it to my satisfaction. It was a fairly complicated square, and it did occur to me to do something easier for round 2 as time was running short, but no. I’ll bet the thought of bagging the cables never crossed your mind, which shows you are a better knitter than I, Gunga Din.

  110. I, too, would have frogged it. But, do you think a person who is not a perfectionist could have allowed those two extra stitches to be “hidden” in the seam?

  111. My fiance’s labmate says that in his native country when a woman’s right eye twitches good luck is heading her way. So maybe you should have left it the way it was… as long as it didn’t set JOE’s right eye twitching (apparently susperstitions are reversed by gender where he’s from). I think about the good luck eye twitch whenever I find my cats tangled in my lace weight…

  112. You are one funny lady. I don’t know what I would have done on this, but I love that you “congratulated [yourself] for not angsting” at the end. I wonder what you sound like when you are angsting? Would it crack our monitors?

  113. I would have ripped it back too-it is lovely and I can’t wait to see it finished! Have you ever thought you made a mistake and ripped something out only to read the pattern again and determine you were actually right the first time? That IMO is worse than making a mistake in the first place…

  114. Ummmmm…. this is probably not the best time to remind you that this baby could still be *cough* will be *cough* a girl, and needing that other option of yours…

  115. You know – everyone’s really good at something: I am a State-Fair-Caliber Olympic-quality-blue-ribbon *frogger*. I won’t admit how often I do it, but suffice it to say that I knit almost everything with any complexity a minimum of four times. “Personal growth”, yep, that’s what it is. And yes, HAPPY CANADA DAY!! (I’m waving my little Acadian flag, it’s the closest thing I have.)

  116. Well, if you hadn’t ripped it (and all the other parts) out and obsessed over it for a period of time, then you would have had to find something else to write about it today.
    So, it is a good thing, right?

  117. I have excellent spatial perception. I would totally notice the imbalance at every glance and would have frogged too. I recently frogged a sock back past the heal turning because I’d tried something different on the bottom and after I’d finished the second (where I did not do the something different ’cause I didn’t like it) I realized I would not wear them because they felt different on my feet. Why waste good yarn on something that would just take up space in a drawer? Better to frog and redo and be able to truly enjoy a lovely garment. Besides, I like knitting. The reknit really flew because I was really good at the pattern by then!

  118. Good heavens! I’m so thankful that I can be a control freak with my knitting, and that I would do the exact same thing as you did with this sweater. Makes me feel a LITTLE bit better about my control issues…..:) Gotta love knitting! I really do enjoy your blog, and am attempting to “save” your latest book, reading a little at a time, as it’s so enjoyable!

  119. “…knitting is one of the only times in your life you can make something perfect, make it the way you want it and totally be the boss of the whole thing.”
    Sometimes I think knitting keeps me sane because I know I can start over if I get it wrong. So much of life you just have to deal with and move on so that having something that can be “fixed” is like a shot of mental health.

  120. Well, after reading all these posts – there are a lot of perfectionists – since I live with one, or now it’s 2, daughter is a very close second – which is to be admired in many ways – I tend to relax. I like to finish an occasional project – so I figure out a way to make it work. An extra YO? extra yarn and stitch to close it up – two extra stitches on a side? into the side seam – and on to the next project! Who will know? and at my age, who will remember???

  121. Personally, I subscribe to the galloping horse rule and think you’re a total nutjob. Nonetheless, I have complete admiration for your perfectionism – I could use of little of that myself. Beautiful sweater.

  122. Perhaps you could have called those 2 extra stitches “selvage”, which some books promote as a good thing.

  123. Navajo weavers intentionally make a mistake on every rug they weave. It’s because they say only God is perfect and to try for perfection is to invite disaster. :o)

  124. That’s why I knit and only dabble in sewing. It’s just so much more malleable. And hooray for personal growth, it’s like the tape playing faster. Harlot on FF.

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