Ambitious Knitting

I suppose I am what I’d term “an ambitious knitter.” Not that I have great knitting ambitions, per se, but more that I frequently choose projects that require a bit more skill or experience than I currently have.

When I first took up knitting, three and a half years ago, my goal was to knit socks. Not scarves or hats or the normal sorts of starter projects, but socks. So I started with the requisite scarf or two, but then I bought a set of sock needles and some pretty yarn and had at it. It wasn’t easy, but I eventually finished them. And I’m still quite proud of them!

The good news about being an ambitious knitter is that I’ve learned a LOT in a relatively short period of time. I’ve learned to knit socks and sweaters and lace shawls. I know how to work short rows and cables and buttonholes and turn heels. I’ve mastered a number of different cast-ons and bind-offs and can select the best one for a particular project. All good stuff!

Failed knitting project

Failed knitting project? Or Rorschach test? (Fittingly, it looks kind of like a frog to me!)

So what’s the bad news? Well… I spend a lot of time ripping things out. Sometimes I frog huge swaths of fabric, other times I tink back a stitch at a time. At the end of almost every project, I find myself thinking, gosh, wouldn’t it be easier to make this a second time, without all that ripping out?!

Pearls-Toronto had a lovely post on her thoughts about knitting monogamy. She said that she didn’t think deadline-knitting would work for her, because of all the do-overs. And while I agree that do-overs make it hard to finish a project in a certain period of time, it made me think about how often we knitters beat ourselves up about our do-overs. I think we’re just looking at them from the wrong perspective: They’re not mistakes, they’re learning experiences!

Maybe (cough, okay, no maybe about it) I’m a bit of a perfectionist, but I tend to rip out a project and re-start using whatever I learned from the first pass, rather than forcing myself to continue with a project that I won’t be happy with in the end. Why spend all the time and effort to finish something I’m just going to shove in a drawer and never wear or use?

By the way, I should also add that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with non-ambitious knitting. For example, a simple linen stitch scarf is a perfect project when you’ve got the flu!

Are you an ambitious knitter? How do you handle projects that have gone wrong? Do you finish them? Rip them out and re-do? Or just shove them in a drawer and forget about them? (I’ve done all of the above at one point in time or another!)

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About Laura

Avid knitter!

Posted on March 6, 2012, in knitting, projects, techniques and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Yeah! Little knitting character-building experiences! Can’t wait for photos of the Linen Stitch Scarf!

  2. i range between ambitious and then frightfully boring. I’ll knit lace shawls, and then a few garter-stitch scarves. Then try for a cables hat, then a couple of dishcloths. It’s like I can’t seem to decide whether I want to challenge myself!

    As for how I handle ruined projects, it depends on how ruined they are. Sometimes it’s easier to tink back a few stitches and then go from there. Other times it’s really ruined and all I can do is pull the whole thing out and start again.

    Other times I just duplicate the flaw and call it a variation on the pattern!

    • I forgot the “call it a design feature” option, Ria!

      I think my choice of knitting projects also depends on what else is going on in my life. If I’m tired or stressed (or sick as a dog), sometimes I just don’t want anything challenging!

  3. Just getting back into the knitting swing of things. I am not overly ambitious yet – but excited to try our new skills which may be beyond my current abilities. It breaks my heart when I make big errors when knitting…

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