We are currently in the middle of the Secret of the Stole II knit a long and it occurred to me how many folks are at some point or another working backwards. Are you familiar with the terms in the title of this post? If you are, then you are well on your way to becoming an experienced knitter.
How many times have you come to the end of the row and realized that you don’t have enough stitches on the needle to complete the row? We all have. The question is, what do we do about it? Do we tink, un-knit one stitch at a time, or lurp, un-purl one stitch at a time, the row? Or, do we frog the entire row or even the entire project? Frogging is a term knitter’s use for “ripping” back a project to a certain point and knitting again. It is called Frogging because the yarn, when pulled out of the loops makes a “rib-bet” sound.
One thing I have noticed over the years, is that the knitters that get the most frustrated with having to fix an error in their knitting by using one of these methods are usually in a hurry, lacking confidence, or inexperienced. Let’s look at these three aspects.
- Rushing – To perform with great haste.
This is one big reason I think most knitters get frustrated with a project. If you are in a hurry to make something and something goes wrong, it will compound your anxiety level because now you HAVE to fix it. Result: Waste of time, frustration, another UFO, and perhaps a loathing for the pattern (or designer).Parallels to this can be drawn all across our lives. What about the cake you were baking for someone special and it didn’t rise, or sloped to one side? What about the line you waited in at the DMV only to find out that you did not bring the “correct” paperwork and you took your lunch hour to be there? These times can be frustrating, and being in a hurry can only compound the problem.I am not advocating laziness by any means, just more of a reality check on how much time a certain project will take and whether we want to realistically devote that much of our lives to it. If shawls, afghans, and stoles are too much of a time investment for you, then it might be wise to stick with scarves and socks.This will not and should not eliminate UFO’s. UFO’s are a wonderful cross section of our experiences over the years. Examples of our attempts at learning something new, trying out a new yarn, or at a minimum, representations of our good intentions.
- Confidence – belief in yourself and your abilities.
Confidence and experience usually go hand in hand. It is difficult to believe in your ability to do something if you have never done it before. However, in knitting, as in life, working, un-working, and re-working a piece will give you experience which builds confidence.
- Inexperience – Lack of the knowledge and understanding gained from experience.
I love this definition of inexperience. It creates a kind of loop that is self appreciating or self deprecating depending on how you choose to look at it. We cannot gain experience in our lives, regardless of the skill, unless we are willing to try, fail, and try again. I know this sounds like the beginning of a coach’s pep talk, but it really is true.When I began knitting, I was terrified to tink my work. I resorted to frogging entire projects because I didn’t think I would be able to locate and fix the problem by working backwards. In other words, I lacked the confidence in my knitting skills. The more I worked at knitting, the more I was able to actually “read” my knitted piece and tell if the stitches were not where they should be on the row I was working on. Now, when I have to tink, lurp, or frog, (which happens often) I don’t even think twice about it. It is still a pain in the derriere, but I have come to accept it as part of my learning about what I did wrong in the first place to create the error and it keeps me from doing it as much in the future. It still takes valuable time to work backwards, but, I have actually gotten very proficient at it.
I am not sure that being proficient at working backwards is something to actually aspire to, but it is a necessary part of knitting and if you do not ever do it, then you are either perfect or not really knitting. Have confidence in the knitting skills you have already mastered, attempt those you feel comfortable with, and every once in a while try something you think might be beyond your skill level with the attitude that working backwards will be part of the whole experience.
Fair Winds to all, DK