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!)


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. The Modern Home Economist

    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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