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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Ceil Posted - 11/21/2012 : 10:43:01 PM
A gloves student recently decked me with, "You're such a perfectionist!" (This after she successfully executed short rows BUT on the palm side of the glove instead of on the back side, and didn't want to frog and redo them. I had painstakingly shown her how to do this during our previous lesson, and supplied written instructions with illustrations.) I replied immediately that I wanted her to end up with a good looking product.

Naturally, I'm sad. While I understand that knitting can be a recreational craft for many, imho it is enhanced by doing it well. (Note that I am also a musician, and so the music I play has to sound good.)

So time for some discussion: How important is perfectionism/doing a good job/knitting well/whatever to you? And does it matter?

(Ravelry: ceilr)
Time is never a factor when joy is involved.
13   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Shalee Posted - 11/30/2012 : 2:26:39 PM
Way back when . . . I made an Aran sweater for my DH and a wool Aran snow suit for my baby DS. The sweater for DH has an error in the back that I just noticed about a year ago! The snow suit is a totally different matter. Wow did I blow it on the pants portion. The pattern doesn't even come close to matching! I don't think anyone ever noticed either error, and I sure didn't, when I made them! It goes to show that as early knitters we don't aways see the imperfections. Now, if I were to knit either of those patterns again you can bet there wouldn't be any errors!

My feeling is that if there is an error in your knitting you will want to fix it. Heaven help me if I take a finished piece to "show and tell" with the knitting group and it has an error in it! That isn't striving for perfection, it is peace of mind, satisfaction you've done what you are capable of.

Sharon in NW PA
I always wanted my own library but I didn't realize it would be all knitting books!

lucybug Posted - 11/30/2012 : 12:40:15 PM
This is an interesting thread. I think everyone has their own idea of what is acceptable. I will unravel to fix mistakes and have figured out how to repair a cable that has been crossed the wrong way by just unraveiling those stitches. However, I don't obsess -- for example if I am working on a fairly complicated pattern and I have the wrong number of stitches, and can't find the mistake I'll increase or decrease.

That all being said, the very day I read this thread the first time I was working on a button band -- that is (no kidding) about 4 feet long. Up the front, around the neck, then down the other side. You're supposed to K 2 rows, then P 2 rows (12 stitches) which is harder to keep track of then one would think. I happened to notice that I had slipped a stitch about 6 rows down and debated if I should fix it. Remembering what everyone said I decided I should. I started to unravel that stitch then realized it would take longer to fix that way then to rip the rows out. As I was doing it I found a row where I knit instead of purled about 4 inches down, so I kept ripping. THEN I kept looking aound found another wrong row about 6 more inches down. More ripping. Good grief! Maybe no one would have noticed but me, but it really would have bugged me.

Thanks to all for keeping me on the straight and narrow!
Ceil Posted - 11/30/2012 : 11:27:33 AM
Originally posted by Marg in Mirror

...I aim for the best I can possibly do. Sometimes this means frogging a project that just isn't working out and opting for a manageable alternative that's better suited to my skills (and patience level!)

And by the way, I'm sure I've never used short rows in a pair of gloves. Can someone show me the pattern in question?

It is to your credit that you have the courage to frog at least partially when something isn't working out. My student didn't want to do that.

As to short rows on gloves, I use a general pattern and pick new numbers each time, based on the gauge and the hands being knitted for. Short rows go all the way across the back half of each glove between the thumbhole and fingers. You can find reasoning and how-to in the mittens section of "Simple Socks, Plain and Fancy" by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts.

(Ravelry: ceilr)
Time is never a factor when joy is involved.
Marg in Mirror Posted - 11/29/2012 : 09:43:03 AM
Hmmm. There's perfect and then there's Perfect. The former, I think, consists of doing one's best, and definitely making sure that the garment will fit or the quilt will lie flat or whatever. Perfect -- with a capital 'P' -- is when one becomes so obsessed with perfection that one is a nervous wreck most of the time, and nothing gets completed because it's not...ahem...Perfect.

Needless to say, I aim for the former -- and as most of what I knit is for others, I aim for the best I can possibly do. Sometimes this means frogging a project that just isn't working out and opting for a manageable alternative that's better suited to my skills (and patience level!)

And by the way, I'm sure I've never used short rows in a pair of gloves. Can someone show me the pattern in question?

Ceil Posted - 11/29/2012 : 09:21:24 AM
Good thought, emmyc! I get out scrap yarn and knit "dress rehearsals" of a new idea while a project is in process. (The last idea took 3 rehearsals, and I frogged to re-use the yarn.) I don't know too many people who would take that kind of time, but it seems to me that the way things look and fit need our rapt attention!

Oh my, another idea is coming on.....

(Ravelry: ceilr)
Time is never a factor when joy is involved.
emmyc Posted - 11/29/2012 : 05:40:13 AM
Ceil, I'm not sure I would categorize a teacher who wants her students to execute a skill properly a "perfectionist."

I think that makes you a good teacher.

My personal philosophy is to always do my best and sometimes that means repeating something till I get it right.

winchester ma
Ceil Posted - 11/24/2012 : 11:26:44 PM
I am encouraged by all these responses, and look forward to more! And Klara, I've heard it said that a good spinner is someone who can spin the perfect yarn, but chooses not to!

(Ravelry: ceilr)
Time is never a factor when joy is involved.
Kade1301 Posted - 11/24/2012 : 05:32:54 AM
Perfection doesn't exist - I just do the best job I can. Which includes fixing visible errors in my knitting, if I discover then in time (i. e. before casting off). Otherwise the item gets discounted - or I use it myself (do I care about a mistake in the pattern of my stove glove? Not in the least, as long as it keeps my hand from burning!)

I can live with my handspun yarn being "imperfect" - as in not 100% regular (especially after seeing, or rather feeling, the bumps in a bought Nialin - that's a cotton/linen blend). However, I have a real problem with pieces that have a major design fault - like that wonderful shawl in Thônes et Marthod wool that drapes well but is horribly prickly, and the other one in Vendéen wool that is nice and soft but the yarn is too thick and the shawl doesn't drape at all... I think I'll recycle the latter one's wool for handwarmers or hats, but what do I do with the first one?

Happy knitting! Klara
ikkivan Posted - 11/23/2012 : 08:54:38 AM
Ceil, this is so timely, after I spent more than an hour last night trying to correct a mistake in an infinity scarf I'm knitting! I LOVE to knit, but I always have in the back of my mind that I may want to enter the item in the next fair, so I do want it to look nice.

Ha, last year AFTER I brought home a pair of "perfect" men's socks (with blue ribbon!) from the local fair, I spotted a goof that not even the judges had noted (or chose to ignore). Well, I figured if it didn't bother the judges, my son-in-law sure wouldn't notice, and besides, it was on the foot part that would be inside the shoe, didn't involve an uncomfortable knot or anything like that, so what the heck?

I think some things just depend on the item and how noticeable it is. You know, some errors just jump right out at you, and there are others that wouldn't be noticed by anyone except an expert knitter with a magnifying glass.

Oh, about the infinity scarf ... I could NOT figure out how to fix the problem and was not going to tink back because it was too complicated and time-consuming, so I "fudged" and managed to make it look like the rest of the fabric; the stitch count was not messed up. The pattern is dense and highly textured and the yarn is hand-painted with short color repeats, and now I cannot find the error unless I really search hard for it. I happen to know the intended recipient is going to adore this item and will NEVER imagine it has a mistake in it.

On a related note, I do understand about trying to teach that perfection, though. Years ago, when I taught 4-H girls to sew, I literally hovered over their shoulder (with my imaginary whip). One thing I tried to make them understand was that it was better and actually faster in the long run for them to slow down and get it right to start with rather than have to un-do stitches and then do it over again.

Donna, with intentions always bigger than her available time. (OkieDokieKnitter on Ravelry)
Grand-moogi Posted - 11/23/2012 : 03:09:35 AM
Good Grief. How is it being a perfectionist to want the thing to at least go on? You insert the sleeves into a sweater at the end of the torso nearest the neck too don't you? You would not insert them down the other end of the torso because the sweater would not fit. Same thing with these gloves. They are going to be weird to wear. I do not see the point in knitting something at all if you do not want it to have some modicum of relevance. I guess I am the same as above. I would fix every mistake I find if I can. Otherwise it would annoy me. If it is worth doing, then it is worth doing properly.

I knit a hug into every stitch
Ditzy Girl Posted - 11/22/2012 : 8:06:44 PM
I am the same if it doesn't show I don't care, but if
it is a major error or can be seen I need to fix it.

Zola, Seattle, Wash.

technikat Posted - 11/22/2012 : 10:10:24 AM
If an error is tiny, I can leave it. Otherwise, I try to fix the errors I see. If I don't, it would bother me and I would see it all the time.

I knit for fun, but I want to make something that looks good and fits well if it's a garment.

My FOs
donnawatk Posted - 11/22/2012 : 05:26:59 AM
Ceil, I have found that there are people that only want to cut corners. Then they will say to you that you are a perfectionist. I put all in what I do because I hope thats what I get in return. I work in a lab where I put DW on reports that go out. My name means you have my best and I stand behind my work. Donna PS I knit for fun , I will thank you for ever If you find a mistake in my work and point it out that's apart of learning and the fun for me but don't forget to tell me how to fix .

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