Raving incompetent

So I survived, and I woke up this morning (largely cat free sleep, due to the many helpful suggestions, thank you!) and was surprised at the change that a nice sleep, sympathetic friends and a walk in the park can make. I was so happy with my day that when I got an email from Lisa A. ever so gently and kindly pointing out that she had noticed a wee little error in my photo of the Tinks sweater from yesterday….


that I actually felt genuine gratefulness to her for pointing it out. (Good reason to blog #45) Sharp eye on that girl. I was taking a picture of the mistake to show to you all, when I noticed something that Lisa had not…


Damn. (Should I be concerned that I apparently can’t spot knitting errors with my own eyes, but only when they are photographed for the blog?) Crap. I thought, I’ll have to fix that. I was doubly grateful to Lisa. I spread the work out to photograph it again, took the image into photoshop to resize it and….oh dear.


This made me a little woozy, but darn it, I’m pretty good at fixing mistakes (what with making so many), so while I was practically ready to run away to Belize I was prepared to fix them. I turned the work over to photograph the steek….


H. E. Double hockey sticks. I am a twit.

Nevermind, nevermind. Just fix it and move on.


I laddered the stitches on the offending row down…


corrected the error, and laddered it back up. Good for me. I repeated this process until I was error free (an entire evening with no perceptible progress.) Then, now that I was out of my mind happy with my work, I poured myself a celebratory glass of wine…and retired. (I’m not completely stupid. Wine AFTER repairs.)

I congratulated myself again this morning, fondled the sweater and felt really good about being the sort of knitter who would really invest in a project like that, spread it out for a picture, imported the picture to photoshop….


and saw this.


There are no words. Pass the crochet hook…and the wine.

177 thoughts on “Raving incompetent

  1. Um, that is why I don’t do fair isle…heh.
    It’s still a gorgeous little sweater. Glad you got some cat free sleep. Mine insists on sleeping on the edge of the bed and pressing his paws into my back. Need a bigger bed I think.

  2. Whatever floats your boat. But me, I’d glory in the wabi-sabi of the imperfect fair isle. But then I’m imperfect enough that making it into a virtue of sorts is kind of a necessity.

  3. I know that’s insanely frustrating, but really, it just makes me feel so much better that someone with your great experience makes the same kinds of mistakes I do. Of course, this also means that years from now, I will still be making these mistakes…

  4. But the mistakes and all, make it uniquely from YOU. One can buy machine perfect fair “ire” in a store, love.

  5. I say, if you can’t see it from a trotting horse (and obviously you couldn’t), don’t worry about it. It wasn’t apparent to the naked eye and it WAS (still is) beautiful. If it hadn’t been pointed out, the recipient would never have noticed.

  6. You should have left it. Then it could have been a game! “See how many mistakes Auntie Harlot left in this sweater…”

  7. Gosh Steph, this is a baby sweater right? And the twink (singular of twinks) will be wearing it for what, all of 10 minutes before it is outgrown?
    I say go for the net effect, don’t worry about the tiny flaws. Instead move on to a larger sweater!

  8. I never would have noticed. (and I don’t think the Tinks would have either), but kudos for all the laddering-fixing-reladdering.
    Wine AFTER repairs… NOW you tell me…

  9. Steph – F**ck it, it’s called duplicate stitch. Now move on. You are a better woman than this.

  10. Mistakes give the sweater character. I’d leave them. (Not because of the character, but because I’m lazy — however, that’s another subject for another blog).

  11. I’m reading this as perfectionism as an excuse to drink… πŸ™‚
    Oh yes, and I meant to ask about the leaf lace sweater. I noticed in the picture that you’ve carefully placed the sleeves across the midsection. I’ve seen other knit versions of this, and the grafting across the midsection is slways visible. Did you find a way to avoid that, or are those sleeves hiding something?

  12. Wow. I understand you. I just finished that Irish Diamond Shawl, and I kept finding stupid little mistakes in it. STUPID, little, mistakes.
    That…I couldn’t…ignore…
    Many, many bottles of wine gave their lives for that unspeakable shawl.
    Those sweaters are going to be so precious. Just like the Tinks. If I were a *good* Auntie, I’d make something like that for my new nephew, too…

  13. Wow, you’re making me feel so bad that I would have just left those mistakes there. Well, ok, I would have if the mistakes were in lace. Maybe in Fair Isle I’d do the same, since it actually seems possible, albeit mind-numbingly frustrating.

  14. You mean this wasn’t the fair isle chaos pattern?
    I thought it was lovely that way!

  15. What Annette and Lisa said. I know duplicate stitch can sometimes show through (and it adds an extra layer) but I probably would have done it instead of laddering. Probably because I never think of laddering down when I’m doing Fair Isle!

  16. Oh, poor Harlot.
    Am I going to hell for giggling through this post? Do you hate me now?
    It is your perfectionism that endears you to us. And aren’t you the one who mentioned in her book the intentional flaws left in Persian rugs?
    This isn’t helping, is it? Here, have some more wine.

  17. Wow, dropping a whole column like that would absolutely scare me to death! Of course, I never seem too motivated to bother with the errors anyhow, which is the difference between me and good knitters!
    Then again, one of my best knitting friends told me about how Amish women purposely add a mistake to their quilting to show reverence. I just like to think of my mistakes as, ehm, humility before God. Or something like that!

  18. You have far more patience than I do…. I usually just chalk it up to the old Persian Rug intentional mistake so as not to offend the perfection gods. πŸ™‚

  19. What the hell!? Pull out a needle with an eye and dulpicate stitch grrl. You don’t need wine for that. In fact you’ll have more to drink and spend less time laddering.

  20. *psst. duplicate stitch.*
    That’s what I’m planning for my colorwork mistake. (Singular so far.)
    Or you could just leave it. In 10,000 years, when archaeologists uncover it, they will wonder about the mysterious symbolism of the one snowflake that’s differnent.

  21. I’m a novice…at blogging and these repair techniques. What exactly is laddering and where can I find out how to do it? I thought I had to rip everything back when I made a mistake. This blog is brilliant; a revelation. Ah, but now I feel a little foolish for making my ignorance so public.

  22. How can you notice those?!! It looks gorgeous to me! And I agree with Laura, lay it on the Persians! lol

  23. Oh, Stephanie… Raving INCOMPETENT? This kind of attention to detail — and your attempts at perfection — brand you as a Raving COMPETENT. Still raving, perhaps, but give yourself a break.
    Would you talk to another knitter the way you’re talking to yourself? No.

  24. I agree with the archeologist comment. And with the leaving it comments. I have a sweater that my grandmother made me a couple years before she died (yes, it still fits, even though it was a while ago). It has one mistake in the ribbing, and I love that mistake. That amazing woman full of love gave me a secret sign that she’s always with me. Like a good luck charm.

  25. I’d have fixed ’em all too. Does that make me as neurotic as you are? Or you as neurotic as me? Either way, I think you’ve found a new use for Photoshop….perhaps they’d like to hear about it.

  26. I have two incongruent thought lines on this post.
    a) You are not incompetent. One incompetent solution would be to add this to the UFO drawer and forget it. Another might be to start over. You are really clever to ladder it down and just do over the involved columns of errors! Pat yourself on the back, oh mighty Yarn Harlot!
    b) Just like quilters own both sides of their fabric to use (intentionally or not) as they will, we knitters own our mistakes and unventions as Elizabeth used to call them! Perhaps there are times when it is acceptable for we knitters to enjoy the character we “undesign” into our projects?

  27. Oh Steph– I’m sorry for your frustration but THANK YOU for sharing in detail how to fix something like this. My ability to apply orderly problem-solving to knitting blunders has grown by leaps and bounds since I started reading your blog!

  28. Okay, chalk me up with the “other” bad knitters. I would have left the tiny stitches be.
    But … having corrected some of the mistakes, can you justify not correcting the rest of them?

  29. Since the Tinks are too tiny to notice the mistakes, I’m really surprised I’m the first to suggest this one: Fix it in PHOTOSHOP, leave the stitches alone, we all think you’re perfect, the Tinks get beautiful warm sweaters, and you will giggle all the way into the next life about how no one was the wiser…

  30. Steph, the sweater is awesome. I applaud for your laddering prowess. I, too, attempt those sorts of fixes, to the amazement of my hubby. He isn’t a knitter, so he doesn’t get it. He does understand the drive for perfect, however, and supplies the wine AFTER the repairs. Good man, that.

  31. That’s a lot of laddering for someone who really DOESN’T like crochet hooks. Poor baby. When I show people my work, I always end up saying — I can’t help myself — don’t look at this part; here’s the mistake (and pointing it out).

  32. Um, even with the arrows I could barely see the original mistakes!
    I resolve to be one with the undesigns.

  33. Well, that’s it then. No more knitting for you.
    Not until you fix those silly white-not-purple stitches, anyway. πŸ™‚

  34. i like the mistakes personally.
    i think thats one of the beautiful things about handmade items. it does remind us that we are only human after all.
    however i think that sweater looks fine with the mistakes and since you repeated the same mistake it looks like part of the pattern.
    have some wine sit back and think about it
    and fix it cuz i know you are going to:)

  35. I found two dropped stitches in my handspun hat after I’d blocked it and worn it several times. So, if *you’re* incompetent, I should be put in a rehab knitter program, eh? I was a very unhappy Chibi user, I can tell you that…
    I hope you had a good merlot with your plate of crow-fu, lovey. Knit on.

  36. I’m all for the zen of knitting, but I think I would have fixed those too. They’re SO obvious.
    Actually, I’m wondering why you didn’t catch them earlier. I tend to do sanity checks as I’m knitting. Does the pattern line up to the one below? Have I got the right number of stitches in the right color perportions?
    That said, I was working on my shawl, thinking “Huh, I thought the stiches were supposed to line up differently. Oh well.” and CRAP, I should have listened because they WERE supposed to line up differently.
    So weren’t you listening to your inner knitting editor?

  37. Since it’s “National De-lurking Week”, just dropped by to say “hi” and how much I enjoy reading your blog.
    You’re so “human” which makes me feels better about the mistakes I make πŸ˜‰ Sorry.
    Count me in as another who would have corrected the mistakes.

  38. Everything I make has mistakes in it. I just found a major, major error in the mittens I finished, oh, 3? 4? weeks ago. I gave a lot of thought to fixing it–it would be a ridiculously easy fix–but ultimately decided to leave it. I agree with those who feel the mistakes give our finished objects that hand-made character. Somewhere eons ago, I read that mapmakers deliberately put errors in their maps. It’s like their initials, with the added benefit that they’ll know if someone plagiarizes their work.

  39. I have felt your agony, but really I had to strain to see those mistakes. Although I am forever correcting mistakes because I want my knitting to be as perfect as it can possibly be, I vote with the “leave it alone people” here. Whoever pointed out that they were repeated and, therefore, could be considered part of the pattern, was right. But how else could you justify the wine? I say don’t justify it. Have a glass just because you are a wonderful wonderful person. Besides, nowadays they’re saying that a little wine is good for your health.

  40. You’re a brave woman. I ALWAYS leave my mistakes in, and have done for 25 odd years (and yes, I still make them!). I figure its like an Afghan rug; apparently they deliberately weave in a mistake to show its genuine. And it works; when people say “wow, did you REALLY make that yourself” you can prove it to them by showing them an error which (a) shows it isn’t shop bought and (b) must have been made by you for you to know where it is. (Obviously something which would affect the structure would be corrected, but pattern mistakes, including cable errors – they’re all fine and dandy in my book). Maybe all of this has something to do with the fact I usually pick up the wine glass before the needles!!!

  41. I couldn’t help but giggle a little at this one too. But I know I’d be right there with the crochet hook if it were me (and if I had “graduated” to fair isle already).
    Isn’t it funny the way Friday the 13th can get to us? πŸ˜‰

  42. I didn’t notice any mistakes, but I’m a novice knitter. Is it not true that in nature no two snowflakes are alike?

  43. Um, I hesitate to say anything — especially since I tend to agree with the leave it/duplicate stitch it — but there may be another little something (a line instead of a sideways V) in one (or two) of the white squares on the steek side…
    Ok then. Gotta go now… (lurker lurking away…)

  44. I’m a somewhat beginner knitter and have never attempted knitting Fair Isle so . . . even with your lovely arrows pointing the way I couldn’t find the mistake. Doubtful baby or mom will either.
    Maybe you should move to another drinking level and bring out the hard sauce.

  45. Speaking only for myself of course. Everything else around me is chaos and out of control, but I can fix the knitting! Besides, it’s a lot more fun than cleaning the bathroom or cooking dinner or sleeping or work or paying bills with money from work.

  46. Reminds me of a pair of Latvian mittens I once saw… Fine, just…not quite right. I had to fix one stitch in plain stocking stitch and made a big fuss about it, so I’m impressed with your efforts!

  47. Always you make me feel so much better. Gotta go finish ripping out another row of the Fair Isle hat now. I have no idea what I did, I just know that it’s wrong. You would think I could follow my own pattern.

  48. Oh, Dude. That is the most frustrating thing ever …. and I would fix it, too. Duplicate stitch, smuplicate stitch … knowing that those errors were there would make me crazy (er).

  49. The pattern really makes me think of snowflakes (it is supposed to do that, right?) Don’t people say that no two snowflakes are alike? It is a beautiful piece, with or without mistakes (personal touches). It makes me actually want to start my first fairisle project.

  50. At this point, if I were in your situation, I would say, “Screw it. Close enough for government work,” and then knit onward. Or are you not as derisive of your government as we are here in U.S.?

  51. Okay – that laddering picture was really horrifying. I almost couldn’t breathe when I saw that. I mean, I WAS reading the post and I knew you said you were going to fix the mistakes, but good lord woman! please put some sort of yellow blogging caution tape up before the scarey laddering photos. It hadn’t really permeated my brain as to HOW you were going to fix the mistakes….it’s awe inspiring but my tiny little brain just can’t take that kind of thing. Thank goodness you didn’t post pictures of ALL the laddering. Oh the humanity!

  52. You know, really. It’s not your fault. What else COULD happen with the kids/cat/joe/washie thing going on? Wine, Stephanie. We love you. This, too, shall pass.

  53. Oh my! I didn’t even notice the mistakes because the piece is so wonderful. You will only be happy when it is perfect though so more wine and grab the crochet hook πŸ™‚

  54. I actually liked the pattern of the mistakes. White duplicate stitch over blue wouldn’t work for me–too easy for the offending stitch to show; I’d have laddered it too–but once, just once, I did something altogether different: I had a white sweater dyed with a stain, in a place where the purl variation against the stockinette background made it inherently show as a slightly different color anyway. I took some fabric paint to it, just a dab, colored it over–and you could never tell I’d done it. I know, the chances are a million to one on finding a good match, but I lucked out.

  55. Now I feel a WHOLE lot better. I spent the last three weeks knitting a gorgeous wrap – or what I thought would be a gorgeous wrap. When I was done it just felt too stiff and thick. It used more yarn than I was expecting. Didn’t like it, spent way too much money on the skeins.
    I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, but had to finish to make it the proper length (52×52) to verify.
    My husband’s jaw dropped when he saw me unravel the entire project and ball up the yarn. I got larger needles, refigured my stitches and have started all over. Only real regret is that I bought different yarn and have a project waiting in the wings because I thought this would be done by now.
    But I am once again in love with the yarn and can’t wait to see it when it’s done. πŸ™‚

  56. Having made exactly one sweater for a child in my sporadic career this is my take on it — that 8!@n# child wore the sweater that I slaved over for three weeks for exactly ten minutes then he threw up all over it! *sigh* But we want things to be perfect . . .
    Um, laddering? Okay, gonna show my stupidity here — I’ve been knitting on and off for oh 20 years, but I’m with the crew that always just rips out the whole thing to fix mistakes. How does one do laddering? Yes, I’ve never had lessons so forgive dumb questions . . .

  57. Stephanie, you fix ’em if you want to. I fix the ones I can notice as long as there is still a possibility of fixing them.
    Otherwise, everytime you see those sweaters you’ll think of the mistakes and wince.
    However, the colorblocks sweater that I’m making now is keeping the mistakes because they are not readily visible unless you are looking AND it would be far harder than dropping a few stitches down and hooking them back off. It would mean taking the sweater apart at one row, reknitting missing rows and grafting the whole thing together…just thinking about it makes me want a glass of wine and I’m allergic to most wine!

  58. Oh my GOD. I think I need a glass of wine and it’s not even my project! I think I need to lay down. This is why I practice avoidance when it comes to fair isle. But oh is it a beautiful sweater. I bet they would have loved it mistakes and all.

  59. Since it’s national de-lurking week, I am de-lurking to say: Perhaps the “mistakes” could be viewed as your interpretation of the pattern, and are intended to make the finished object “unique”. Just a thought……(and I had a good laugh while reading your post, because you taught me how to block lace…) and I honor your knitting skills…..;)

  60. Wow, you are industrious. I think, no I’m sure I would’ve ignored the problem. Have a glass of wine before and then you won’t even care about the errors any more πŸ™‚

  61. I am another lurker in recovery, that is, I promise to lurk no longer,…and Stephanie, I just want to let you know that I have read and re-read your first two books several times, I’m waiting patiently to receive the third book, and the high light of my day is to read your blog. Keep up the good work and to h-e- double hockey sticks with the tiny errors…you can’t see spots on a galloping horse! But I would probably fix the mistakes too, since I am a type A perfectionist.

  62. You made me laugh hysterically at work…again! I love reading your stories, especially on a bad day or a Friday that seems never ending (I swear it’s been 4:55pm…all…freakin’…day…)!

  63. ha, i loved seeing those yellow arrows multiply, like tribbles. is that wrong to get happy like that?
    πŸ˜‰ beautiful knitting, and man, you must be rrrrrreally good at using that crochet hook by now.

  64. I understand your need to fix them – and sympathize. My girlfriend and I get to knit at work a lot (lucky lucky us!) and she is a “let it go you’ll never see it” kind of knitter and I am a “I’ll only see that if I don’t fix it and it will drive me crazy kind of knitter”. we both laugh at each other, but I think that’s why I’m afraid to do lace – I won’t know how to fix it!

  65. But wasn’t it a puzzle sweater, designed to sharpen the precious Tink’s visual perception? Sing along Sesame Street fans, “One of these things is not like the other…” or like those seemingly twin photos with the caption “find the 27 differences between these.” Since they ARE twins it’s your duty to make each sweater unique as they are, in spite of their twinness.

  66. I am a perfectionist and I would have fixed those mistakes too. However, having said that, I’ve never done a fair isle with just 2 colors throughout which makes it a tad easeir. I’ve corrected with laddering, but if I had to go down as many rows as you did, I wouldn’t have done it.
    Clearly, you are not getting any quiet knitting time. Fair isles require a lot of concentration in my book and you have to have the time to go back and check your work before you get too far. Methinks you need to send everyone away or else take your knitting and go on a long, solitary vacation.

  67. Erm, Steph? You’re a perfectionist. I’d have left it. In fact, I think I’d rather make a tutu then drop and pick up those stitches πŸ˜‰

  68. That’s what we have tapestry needles for, dear Harlot. A girl can only do a certain amount of penance. Then there’s the Tipp-Ex of knitting, a needle and some yarn.

  69. You know that saying s&*% on a stick? Well, I’m going to start saying ‘on a crochet hook’. Very even tension and everything. Wow.

  70. it’s terrible to find a mistake, but…
    …i looked at those pictures. i have no idea what you are talking about. really. truly. not a lie.

  71. I would have seen those, cried, and attempted duplicate stitch. I’d never seen laddering before, and now that I have, I would be too scared to try it. Pass the wine.

  72. I would have probably done a duplicate stitch too. But then I haven’t attempted the fair aisle yet. And steeking just makes me cry. I don’t think I will ever try that. But then I never thought I would make anything but scarves and blankets either. It is very lovely. Mistakes and all.

  73. I’m with the snowflakes folks — OTH, snowflakes do look a LOT alike. Like babies πŸ˜‰

  74. Oh my god, Stephanie. Dropping stitches on stranded knitting? Eek. I hope you had plenty of wine or chocolate with that!

  75. Arghh! Does this mean I have to rip out the sleeve of the sweater for your head I knit for my friend? As I was binding off the cuff I realized that I had crossed the cables wrong not once but at least 3 time and in different cables. And, yes, it does make me crazy to know there’s a mistake there. I feel your pain (but I would have ripped out the whole sweater, thanks for the laddering reminder).
    As a side note, I was telling DH that the Rabbi would be speaking to the kids about going to Camp Harlem, and he asked why I thought the kids would want to go to camp with a bunch of crazy knitters? Turns out he thought I said “Camp Harlot”. Could this have been a psychic hint of things to come? (please, oh, please?)

  76. To fix or not to fix, it’s a very personal thing. If you need to ask yourself the question more than once then it’s ladder time because otherwise you’ll still be asking yourself the same question all the way up to the armholes and beyond.
    I have real difficulties when I mess up in moss stitch or one of its many variants. I can run back up the ladder if it’s in colour but if it’s a knit/purl combo I really struggle. (For anyone who’s thinking how anyone can possibly mess up in moss stitch – dunno, beats me too)
    I think you need more quiet knitting time, under the table if need be.

  77. But you meant to do it that way didn’t you????
    An old design professor once said to me “..a machine can make it perfect…”

  78. You are divine! I adore you and your blog and your humour and your knitting… and I would bring over a nice bottle of wine and laugh . You are an inspiration. I am especially fond of how you share your process. People tend to think that experienced knitters don’t have to redo or undo or fling it out the window. Bravo for showing us the highs and lows . I read your blog everyday. I’ve stopped reading the newspaper. seriously.

  79. This is like some version of the pictures in “Highlights” kids magazine. Anyone remember those? “There are seven things in this drawing that don’t belong. Can you find them?” I loved those things.
    I think I would have repaired those slight mistakes too but mainly because it was stockinette so it’s easier to make the chain all the way up – versus the dreaded garter stitch repair.
    Well done! It’s wicked gorgeous. Cheers!

  80. btw, any thoughts about why all the mistakes were in the white sections? Just an observation.

  81. The Amish, when they make their quilts, always make one tiny mistake in their designs, because nothing is as perfect as God.
    I’m an atheist(questioning?)Jew, but I mean, who is going to know? I thought it looked cool with the mistake, mixes it up a little bit.
    Which is weird for me, as I am usually obsessive compulsive.

  82. Myself, I would have tried to fix it as well, but failed miserably, and would’ve had to rip the entire thing. Regardless of whether or not you fixed the sweater, the child who gets that sweater is lucky to be loved so much that their Auntie would drive herself nutty just trying to knit them the perfect sweater.

  83. I wouldn’t even know where to begin to fix mistakes that have already been knitted it…I probably would have let them go…I mean would the receiver really know it wasn’t supposed to look like that? Would she really even know to look for mistakes? Course, maybe I’m just taking the lazy way out, LOL.

  84. Duplicate stitch, duplicate stitch, duplicate stitch!
    There are better things to worry about. Like the upcoming Canadian election.

  85. Would you believe I’m also making this sweater – and I blame you! I’ve got a mistake and it’s there to stay, I’m afraid.

  86. Heck, I thought you’d made it on purpose..the mistakes I mean…you know..like the quilt people used to do …as a sign that no one is as perfect as Gawd….Move on…it’s beautiful anyway..and a real conversation ice breaker….

  87. Wow — good for you for such knitterly dedication! Although having spent a glorious 10 day honeymoon in Belize in October, I can confess to wanting to run off there for much lesser things (oh no! not another second sock!)…

  88. Steph, mate, you’re certifiably insane. Machines produce perfection (yawn) humans do not. And here I was fretting about finding a wee bit of cable amongst the moss stitch on the matinee jacket I’m knitting. As woollyjumper commented, there must always be a flaw in a baby’s garment or the fairies will get jealous of the perfection and harm the baby.
    I’m taking that saying and running to the bank with it. I’m almost certain it’s adaptable for children & adults garments and accessories.
    BTW, did you enjoy the Yellowtail vino the other night?

  89. I thik I would have just said “screw it.” pass the wine anyway! It makes it more fun to look at, like a puzzle!

  90. OMG. Reason #1 to not do such intricate work! lol
    You are a goddess.
    Maybe that’s my cocktail talking but you ARE!

  91. just read two of your books, we must be sisters, separated at birth and moved to different countries. i would like to send you some pictures and stories if i could share with you. please send me your address as i really do not want everything posted for the knitting world to see.

  92. I had to rip back all the work I did on my sock at LK on Wednesday night. So feel at bit better at my expense.
    And about yesterday and trying to work three words: laptop and coffeeshop. That was the only way I finished my PhD.

  93. I can not even IMAGINE laddering down and knitting back up in fair isle. I have a hard enough time bringing myself to do it in plain knitting! Generally, if i don’t catch a mistake on the next row, it’s there to stay. I applaud your dedication. And, by the way, the sweater is gorgeous!

  94. Darlin’, those aren’t mistakes, they’re “Creative License”!! Let ’em ride!

  95. ok, this is rich from a perfectionist like me, but i can’t imagine fixing that stuff. who notices stuff like that? ok ok, i know all you knitters do but we’re talking about the tinks here! do you think they’re going to care?! do you think their mom is going to care? while i think the tinks themselves are perfect, i don’t think they need perfect sweaters πŸ™‚

  96. MY sister gave me your At Knit’s End book for Christmas and I love it. I looked up your web and now I’m hooked on that too. I just retired and for the first time in my life I can just knit, knit,knit and I love it. I’d fix the mistakes too. They would drive me nuts otherwise.

  97. I gasped and giggled but I am ultimately really impressed. Lots of nasty words would have been readily flowing from my mouth!

  98. Oh, yeah, babe- blankets and scarves for me(and I still have to frog frequently…)
    I have a psycho cat, also, and have completely given up on training him-I figure at 16, he’s entitled to his quirks.
    Lovely sweater, imoerfections and all!

  99. I’d have cried and thrown it away! I’ve learnt in the relatively short space of time I’ve been knitting I prefer texture to colour knitting…. yes I’m a wimp!
    I’m unbelievably impressed with the way you corrected those mistakes! I’d have frogged it and ended up with two knotted up blobs of wool!
    Well done!

  100. I love fair isle too–but am prone to “memory lapses as I knit and so have come to a solution that always works:
    Mistake? Hardly–I just made a few creative changes along way when I got bored.
    Experience has led me to believe this one suggestion, will always cover your arse. After all I am known for my creative changing of patterns! Kesam Katz

  101. A few mistakes is very normal… Many mistakes may indicate that your intuitive side is screaming at you to recheck everything for an overlooked BIG mistake. I just started a sock three times. I ran into minor problems all three times, simple little things like the yarn kept slipping off the needles! When I tried the fourth time I realized I was casting on the wrong number of stitches. This sock would have been 4 stitches smaller than the first one knit! After I cast on the proper number of stitches I had no problems and it was smooth sailing!!
    Of course you could be just over tired form the holidays and housework and teens etc… Don’t give up!!

  102. I had read somewhere that you could just correct errors in fair isle knitting by using a duplicate stitch over the error. Have you ever done this? Does it produce unacceptable results? I am impressed by the amount of effort you took to correct all of those errors. It looks great!

  103. I had read somewhere that you could just correct errors in fair isle knitting by using a duplicate stitch over the error. Have you ever done this? Does it produce unacceptable results? I am impressed by the amount of effort you took to correct all of those errors. It looks great!

  104. If it were me, I’d just….let it go. I’m not good enough to fix some of my mistakes, and I know it. Just duplicate stitch over it, or…..say it’s your very own creative interpretation of the pattern!

  105. What will you do if you notice another mistake(s) AFTER you have finished the sweater and given it to the kid? Rip it off his back? Attack with a crochet hook? At some point, you have to LET IT GO!

  106. Steph, the sweaters are beautiful with or without errors. Please don’t fret over the imperfections that make your knitting even more interesting. Imagine the Oriental carpets which are so not perfect, especially the older ones. You can spend hours looking at them and enjoying finding all the (intended) errors.

  107. Someday,
    Someday I’ll learn to do this in lace.
    I’ve been trying of late, and wind up frogging back several rows of 300+ stitches.
    I keep thinking I’ve gone down far enough to kill the root of the problem… but NOOOoooooo.
    Today, I’ve dropped some stitches down and am trying again.
    But mine is for an adult who will wear it in public for years. I’m not sure I’d have had the fortitude to do it for a baby sweater — even if it is a tad easier w/o all the freaking yo’s

  108. i’m really interested in how many folks said,
    fix and how many lined up on the leave it side.
    it’s good to see that such things CAN be fixed; and it looks like the fix was not such a big deal.
    i’d vote for fix it

  109. I never thought I would ever being saying this to you but sucks to be you. I have immense sympathy for your plight. You have no idea how much.

  110. Oh, Stephanie, I love you. You have no idea how much. I have been frogging lace for the better part of a week, and, well, there’s no better company for misery. (Plus you’re funny.)

  111. I love the trick of laddering. You can have perfection without re-knitting the entire thing. I remember the first time I saw it on my first knitted item, a sock. A person sitting next to me in my yarn shop grabbed my sock and laddered it. I was horrified. And then delighted. Yay.
    Hey, a few weeks ago I complained bitterly about your 2 hour scarf because my friend Torn asked me to make one. For me it is a 5-6 hour scarf, but I can’t believe how fabulously thick and warm it is so thank you for your suggestion and I apologise for my earlier bitterness.

  112. “don’t sweat the small stuff – and it’s all small stuff anyway” to paraphrase an author of one of those little self help books! I think your fair isle looks wonderful with or without mistates.
    Also, keep in mind that traipsing off to Belize is not a bad idea…. try the little village of Placencia, you won’t be disappointed.

  113. It isn’t a matter of whether or not you make mistakes. It’s a matter of making them consistently enough to call them a “style.”
    My new wife has a picture of one of my projects on her blog at http://www.twosistersatplay.com.us/sam
    You could say it’s “intensely styled.”

  114. I know it doesn’t matter what I would have done in that situation because I’d have left it/fixed it no matter what everyone in the blog world suggested…that said, I am in awe of all that laddering. I can’t always get a simple purled stitch replaced with a knit stitch when I ladder down, so any colorwork attempt would require some wine AND chocolate. Lots of both, actually.

  115. Bless your heart. It is exhaustion and stress, not incompetence. And I understand your urge to fix things, rather than cover them up. I fix all kinds of things that no one would ever notice just because it drives me nuts knowing the boo boo is there.

  116. I had an assignment at work yesterday that kept me from my computer all day and look what happens…I’m so far behind here! The ironic part is that we were sorting a product to find the “errors” before our customers did.
    Have to admit, I would also ladder down, duplicate, rip out and fix the mistakes. Must be something that drives us to do that.
    As far as the ladies, they will grow out of it, but not for awhile yet (sorry, but that’s just the way it goes!). However, they might come home (like mine just did) and put icy hands on my neck because she couldn’t be bothered to put mittens on!
    For the kitty sleeping issue, how about making one of those moebius cat beds from Cat Bordhi’s 2nd book? My daughter’s 2 cats love them!

  117. My friend Becky just finished a beautiful lace shawl. Oh, my word, is it gorgeous. I was with her when she was blocking it and we had to make her leave the room. If you can’t see any of the unevenness from the back of a running Becky, it’s fine.
    That said, if you can’t see the mistakes from the back of a running Harlot, it’s fine. For me, making a mistake like that is an expression of humility towards my gods. I’m not perfect and neither is my knitting. Of course I get better all the time and I often choose to redo glaring errors, but a mistake like those in your fair isle are just a way of telling the gods, “I’m alright, but *you* are FAAAANNN-tastic!”
    I used to be very quick and very accurate at drawing human figures. One day, my art teacher tells me, “Okay, that’s very good. Now try something different – try drawing it out of proportion.” It was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life.

  118. That is one gorgeous sweater and boy am I glad to see your mistakes. NO, I’m not sinister, it’s just nice to see you do the same as me! I’m knitting schwedish mittens and I’ve found some mistakes myself. Now I’ve got to figure out how to fix mine. Is wine a must?

  119. I’d have fixed them too. The babies won’t notice, but I just spent some time carefully examining two baby sweaters that my mother knitted in the 1940s (nine stitches per inch)… Still, she didn’t have two teenagers fighting or the other distractions.
    Wine or chocolate? Hard to decide – one makes it harder to concentrate, the other has a risk of staining. Best to keep them as a reward for after all the day’s knitting is done.

  120. I agree with Tamar. I’d fix them too no matter how long it took me to ladder down or -gasp- ravel. Not because anyone else would see it, but because i saw it. It would drive me nuts.
    I don’t have the luxury of a glass of wine afterwards, though, I’m on meds.
    O poor me. Pass the meringue.

  121. Well, ever since I went to Hampton Court Palace, and saw the chapel, and had the letter that’s deliberately painted the wrong way round pointed out to me ‘because nothing man can create is perfect’, I’ve felt any knitted object has to have a mistake in it. I’m impressed with your fortitude. ~x~

  122. Oh, Steph– I do feel your pain… but it’s such a wee little pattern with wee little yarn…remember that whole thing about the Persian rugs (heck, even the Amish include the humility square in the quilts) because no one but God should be perfect? I mean, by all means, drink the wine…but when the tink is all grown up and putting this lovely sweater in a memory box, that one little mistake is not going to even ping in the little tink conciousness…

  123. It’s not the wine.
    You are knitting late at night, aren’t you?
    When I knit late at night I notice that I’m sometimes a bit too sleepy to notice when my eyes start to cross…

  124. Hi Stephanie, I have a comment about laundry to add to all the ones you got the other day. Here’s what you do with your teenager’s laundry. Do a lousy job washing it. I don’t mean wreck everything, but maybe just crank up the hot water a little when something should have been washed on cold and see if you can shrink something just a bit. Or mix some interesting colours in with whites and see what happens. Say that you couldn’t understand the directions on the tag. Throw bras into the dryer when you know they should be hung to dry. Then–guess what? You will be out of a job! (at least in the laundry department.) It also helps to make your teens buy their own clothes. And do not under any circumstances, fold or sort or otherwise coddle anyone’s stuff but your own. This all worked for me. I haven’t done anyone’s laundry but my own (and occasionally my husband’s) for years. Hope this helps!

  125. I consider wine to be PREPARATION for repairs, before during and after repairs(unless it’s a work night, excluding of course sunday night).

  126. The fact that you would even entertain the idea of doing a fair isle sweater with STEEKS no less, mistakes or not, blows me away. (anybody else notice that the word “steeks” just looks threatening sitting there on the screen?) In my neck of the woods, folks think I am a goddess because I can knit socks! If I could do fair isle, (heck even simple colorwork), I would be a Titan! Steph, YOU are my Titan (BTW, those were the folks before the gods and goddesses). Your patience in repairing those mistakes is just short of saintly. I would have just torn the whole dang thing out, balled up the yarn and told myself, I just wasn’t “in the mood” for that project right now.

  127. Don’t feel obliged to fix trivial mistakes. Here are two reasons why:
    1) There’s a philosophy among some quilters that you should leave a mistake or two in in order to not defy god with a perfect product. It’s silly but now I can laugh about how I avoid defying god.
    2) During a lecture given by Eli Leon on quilts, where he interviewed numerous quilters, he noticed that when a mistake was found in a white woman’s quilt she would usually become flustered or embarassed. When a mistake was found in a black woman’s quilt she would respond with a statement along the lines of “Look at that. Isn’t that interesting.”
    I personally like the latter response. I’m sure women who respond that way have lower blood pressure than I do.

  128. ya know, i thought you a bit “odd” when we met in San Diego. Now i know you’re freaking nutz!!! Ack, woman, you are determined. Good job though, especially smart to do it pre-wine.

  129. My father is a woodworker, and he likes to tell an anecdote about a fellow who was hired to do a lot of fancy work in the residence of a sultan. On the last day, he and his crew were just putting the finishing touches on the paneling in the bedroom when someone spilled a can of varnish on the priceless Oriental rug. They hurried to clean it up, but there was an obvious stain. So they moved the bed to cover it and hoped the sultan would just think it was part of the new design. A week later the man came back for an open house the sultan was having to show off the remodel, and he was horrified to see the bed had been moved back and the stain was clearly visible. The sultan gave him a wink and said, “A true Muslim always sleeps facing toward Mecca, so I had to move the bed.” But he was delighted that the woodworker had made this mistake, because perfection is an offense in the eyes of Allah.

  130. Hi Stephanie,
    I created a French website for knitters http://www.tricotin.com.
    Many visitors are asking me to publish your free patterns translated in French in the Free Patterns Section (http://www.tricotin.com/modeles.htm).
    Would you be ok if I translate your patterns, publish it with the picture from your website adding a link to your website and all the usual legal info?
    Congratulations for your great work.
    Please let me know what you think.
    Best Regards

  131. Aaaacccckkk!!!! It’s going around! I am making a sweater with a lace pattern. Back done, no problem. Both fronts done, no problem. I have frogged at least 10 rows on each sleeve 4 times! Same friggin’ pattern…grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

  132. Um, Steph, 4th picture down; the middle arrow. The corner should be a Uppercase “L” but it is a lowercase “l”…
    More crochet, more wine. Sorry Dude.

  133. I prefer to think of these kinds of mistakes as “my little secret”. And I am a woman of many secrets…
    If anyone looks closely enough to see these mistakes when the garment is being worn, that person has a bigger problem than the knitter has. Or maybe it’s a compliment that the sweater got that much attention.
    And if you see a middle-aged woman in western NC wearing a light-gray Aran cardi, don’t look too closely at the cable in the lower left corner of the back πŸ™‚

  134. Yikes! I am wondering between the 2 of us fixing our mistakes, who had it harder? But I’ll have to hand it to you…I would have ripped!

  135. Oh no…you are such a good knitter. Or maybe a little nutty. I probably would’ve dup sticthed it..but I have ripped back 10″ before and started over because of said mistakes…
    So pass the wine, you’ve done good….

  136. *waves hand while jumping up and donw*
    I have been dreaming in my head of a blanket for someone I hope to be introduced to soon. I have never seen anything like what I have in mind, and I’m scaaaaaaaaaaaaaared, but I am going to try gosh-darn-it! Besides, I’ve been very curious to try thrumming for some time. *evil wink*

  137. I would like to register for the Knitting Olympics but don’t know where to send my “registration.” Can you help?

  138. Dear Stephanie, Your idea of knitathons is such a good idea. Someone in Angel Yarns knitting club, told us about you. This is such a fun idea. But I fear I am too late for the Olympics. I have to finish a pram set for a baby who has beat me to the finishing line.
    Will you please organise another of these ready, steady, go’s for the Wimbledon Tennis.
    I’d just love to be part of one of these, and I will certainly set up a blog, by then. Hugs from Sylvie, UK.

  139. Dear Stephanie, I am having trouble sending to you. Will you please organise another knit along for the Wimbledon Tennis. Sylvie.

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