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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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