Perfect is a state of mind


A friend of mine has spent nearly 9 months growing a human, and is nearly finished and ready to bring her hard work out into the world so that we can all meet her. In honor of this momentous occasion (and because it’s a fantastic excuse to spend an embarrassing number of hours browsing patterns and yarns), I have been making a gift for this brand new human about to join us, and her amazing mother.

The blanket pattern that I have chosen is darling and the yarn is a dream–all softness and bounce. But the Blanket in question begins with a depressingly large diagonal square of garter stitch. Garter stitch, for those who don’t knit, is just one type of stitch done over and over and over with no variation of any kind for approximately 10000000000000 stitches or until you pluck your own eyeballs out in boredom. It’s great knitting for watching TV, or talking, or thinking deeply about things other that what stitch you’re on.

100000000 stitches down, 100000000000 to go.

Sadly, even though it is repetitive and extremely easy, that does not mean that it will be finished quickly or without mistakes. I found a mistake yesterday night as I watched episodes of My Name Is Earl on Netflix, right as I was starting to feel pretty good about my progress for the night and had begun to contemplate my warm bed. There is a hole in my blanket. It’s not a big hole, just one little stitch out of those 10000000000 that went a little wonky for reasons that I can’t really see. But in a sea of like-stitches that create a nice uniform fabric it would (to my eye) be glaringly obvious. Instead of finishing up for the night and setting my work aside with a feeling of accomplishment, I sat there for a while, starting at the offending Wrong Stitch, tugging and stretching and holding it out at arm’s length, trying to convince myself it wasn’t that bad. This is moment faced by all knitters at some point (or more likely, at many many depressingly many points). We find all kinds of ways to console ourselves, including the hope that it’ll all work itself out after a good blocking. This hope is so pervasive and hopeless that they’ve put it on a shirt:

Hey, that's a mighty fine t-shirt. Something I might not mind getting from someone at some point. Like, as a gift or whatever.

I know Abby won’t care. I know baby Genesis won’t care. I know I will be the ONLY one to care. But here’s the thing. If I spend a lot of money and a whole lot of hours making something for someone, it’s more than a gift, it’s an act of love. And the quality of my work is inextricably linked to the quality of that love. So I just can’t let it go, or else it feels slapdash and inadequate.

So I bit the bullet and started ripping back to fix my mistake. It’s only a few rows (sob).


2 responses »

  1. My mom used to always say that quilters would make a mistake in their quilts on purpose. Something about only God is perfect, I don’t know. But you’re right, she and I will love the blanket no matter what!! ❤

    • I have found that to be a common practice among a lot of craftspeople as a way of showing humility and acknowledging their own fallibility. But I don’t need to do it on purpose. I guarantee you that plenty of nice, humble mistakes will sneak in there without my help. 🙂 I’d just rather not wave the white flag and let the big ones stand. ❤

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