A ramble about mistakes

I wanted to do a blog post about mistakes but it’s proving to be a difficult blog post for me to do for you and I’m trying to figure out why. I guess it’s because I help people in my studio shop, people will come in if they’ve made a mistake or have a problem and   I will talk it through with them.
There are so many different ways to make a mistake and I just wanted to help people on the how-to-knit journey that we’re all doing and say it’s ok to make mistakes and we’re all going to make a mistake. But maybe this blog post will help you where ever you are in your knitting journey.

I finished doing a design a few weeks ago and it’s not quite right. It’s only a little baby waistcoat but I’m going to reknit it. You could say, oh no, that’s a mistake but it’s not a mistake.
I can’t get it right until I’ve got it wrong. And I always say that about everything, in some ways. The only way to get it right is to just do it, get it wrong, do it some more and then get it right.
If you are thinking – “My knitting is always wrong!” then I would say you’ve not done it enough to get it right!

I decided the best way forward for this blog post was to use the examples of the most common things that people come into Purl&Jane querying. 

The first one that springs to mind is the brief and generalised sentence of : “I can’t knit because I’ve made a mistake” and I respond with, “That just means you’re knitting.” You’ve got to make the mistakes to be knitting. It’s just what happens. 

I guess it’s a bit like Google – if you’ve got an illness, and you’re worried about something, you put it into Google and we all know what happens!
Sometimes the symptoms don’t actually match what we’re complaining about, and in those instances it’s just nice to go and chat to someone, who knows. In the example of illness I don’t necessarily mean a doctor, just someone that knows. Someone that says, “Oh yeah, I get that as well and it’s fine.” Because most of the time we just want reassurance, don’t we?
We don’t want the diagnosis that we see on the internet. (Disclaimer, obviously if you are worried about something medical do consult a doctor and maybe not for example, Bob from the chippy who might say, “You’re fine just have some more chips”)

My main aim with this blog post, was to help with mistakes, but this blog post is starting to feel like a mistake because I am having a problem writing this blog post! So if you prefer to not read the ramble, I have made some short videos to help with things like dropped stitches and tinking and you can find these videos here 

But there’s so many different ways that you can get to a solution. I guess what I really love is when people come into the studio shop and say, “What’s happening here?” And I can say, “This is what’s happening.” And sometimes I’m like, “Ooh I don’t know what you’ve done there but let’s just take it back” and sometimes that’s all you can do if you’ve made a mistake, just take it back. 

And don’t worry about it. Breathe deeply, relax the shoulders, maybe put it down, grab a drink and look at it again with fresh eyes.

I guess that’s the thing and maybe that’s what I should have started with – don’t worry about making mistakes and also don’t worry if you do have to take it back. 

If you do have to take rows back it’s absolutely fine. 

There’s different sorts of knitters. I am a process knitter because I enjoy the stitches. Which means when I knit a scarf I don’t knit it thinking, “I’m knitting a scarf”.
Obviously I am knitting a scarf, but instead I think, “Ooh I’ve got a couple of minutes, I’ll just sit down and I’ll do a row.” I don’t think, “I’ll just sit down and complete a scarf.” 

The joy of knitting a few stitches is what gives me pleasure and relaxes my mind. In fact it’s a great thing to do if everything is feeling overwhelming. I recommend knitting if you’ve lost something because after a few rows of knitting you might suddenly remember where it might be!

I feel some people, maybe beginners, think, “I get a ball of yarn and boom, I’ll have a scarf by the time I open the bag” Maybe not that quickly, but I look at it as a ball of three thousand (guessing) stitches that bring joy and calm.

So if I have to take the stitches out, because I’ve made a mistake, I don’t mind because it just means more bang for my buck! I can reknit the stitches and get more knitting out of one ball of yarn.

Another mistake that beginners talk about is the amount of stitches increases from the amount they have cast on. One of the common ways to increase by accident is at the beginning of your row. It’s easy to make that first stitch look like two stitches, just watch where the yarn is. You want the yarn down to the front and back because if it’s up and over the needle to the back it looks like you’ve got two stitches. 

Another thing that knitters worry about is holes.
Personally my advice is that the only thing to correct holes is take the knitting back. If you find that you have a hole, you’ve just got to take it back.

I think most of the time with mistakes, you’re going to make them, so embrace it, and maybe that means taking it back to where that mistake happened. 

And finally,  don’t be afraid to take it off the needle – the stitches aren’t going anywhere. The only time they go anywhere is if people panic.
What I’ve seen with some beginner knitters is that they will get somewhere in their row and they will drop the stitch, miss the stitch or something. If a stitch drops off your needle, keep calm and it’s not going anywhere. Keep the needles close together and put the stitch back on your needle.
The time that it will drop lower is when you panic. It’s going to drop if you panic and pull the needles apart. There are lots of different ways to put a dropped stitch back on the needle, people use crochet hooks and all sorts of things.
I use the knitting needle and I’ve done a close up video on how to do that.

So hopefully that’s been helpful! If you’d find it more helpful to see it as a video, you can see it, and all my other learn to knit videos, here.

Article by Jane