It is getting to be that time of year for mittens, hats, and scarves here in New Hampshire. I sent my girls out to play and they complained that they were cold, and I told them the next time I went shopping I would pick them up some. But every time in past years that I’ve gone to buy mittens I always say I can make them. So this year I am making them.
I started with daughter #4 since she is so little. I find making the thumbs on mittens tough to do and have been getting really discouraged. I finished these mittens and again had a tough time with the thumbs. I don’t love the thumbs but they will keep her warm. So when I gave them to her kind of discouraged because they weren’t perfect, she looked at me and said that she loved them and they were perfect. This melted my heart and made me realize that she doesn’t see things the same way I do. I am a perfectionist (thank you photography professors). This is helpful in fiber arts, but the point of hand made is that it’s not perfect. I know with my yarn there tend to be spots that aren’t spun as thin as others, but I like that because it adds to the texture of the fabric.
Now when it comes to knitting and crocheting it’s a little different. When your working and then you suddenly realize that you made a half-double crochet stitch instead of a double in the last row you have two choices, you can either rip it back and fix it (this is what I would do) or leave it if it’s not too noticeable. I read a great suggestions when it comes to making a mistake in your work: If you hold it and can’t see it then don’t worry about it. If you show it to someone who doesn’t know anything about crochet or knitting (like your husband) and they don’t notice it then leave it. If you can see the mistake and your husband can see it then rip it out and fix it.
This was some of the best advice I have heard about making mistakes in projects. We get so focused on being perfect that it takes the enjoyment out of the act of making the project.
So I guess what I am saying and was reminded of is we aren’t machines. We aren’t perfect. What we make isn’t perfect, nor should it be. If it was perfect then I believe that the charm of handmade would be missing and just not as special. Many people put a piece of themselves into their handmade products and one little mistake that bothers you and no body else isn’t worth the stress.
With this said above; if you are working on a project and you’re just not digging it or it just doesn’t feel right, by all means start over. There is a time and a place for ripping back or starting over. I have ripped out more than my fair share of projects because the stitch didn’t feel right or I came across a better idea. Let the project speak to you and go with your instincts.