one step forward, two steps back
For someone who suffers a terminal case of imposter syndrome, it is, ironically, my hubris that brings me undone out often. Last night, powering through my knitting, I was patting myself on the back at my progress. I was done to 86 stitches a row, from 128. I was on row 83 of 160, and each row was going quicker and quicker. I even had the termerity to consider pulling a midnight shift and getting it finished, it was that close. “I could go to bed and use it for WIP Wednesday,” thought I, “but I could also keep going and have it done and blocked for a Finish Friday post.” I was that confident I had it in the bag.
And then. There’s always an “and then”, when one gets too cocky about their progress, isn’t there. This project had gone far too smoothly, and I should have expected the wheels to fall off. I didn’t, though, until I stretched out the decrease edge to check my progress… and my pinky went straight through a hole in a place where there should not have been a hole at all, never mind a pinky sized hole. I could have cried.
I vented to my friends. I whined in my instagram stories. Then I sucked it up and started picking up stitches the row below the dropped stitches. The row (supposedly) secured, off to the frog pond I went. Rippit, rippit, rippit. Row after row, out they all came, cursing the over confidence of my past self that had me convinced a finish was within reach. I tidied up the end of the row that had gotten a bit messy as I picked up the stitches and… I HADN’T CAUGHT THE DROP.
I think my mistake was working from the non-dropped end, as that’s where my loose needle was. As I worked, the dropped stitches wriggled down further. Upon discovering I would need to unknit even more, I threw it all in my bag in disgust, and went to bed. It weighed on me all night, with crazy dreams of the cat knocking it off the couch and playing with it until the hole ran all the way to the beginning and I needed to frog it completely. I knew full well, that I had packed it away and zipped up the bag to avoid such an eventuality, but dream brains aren’t known for their logic. Getting up this morning, I went straight to my bag, and laid the shawl out on the table. Not surprisingly, the cat had not gotten at it, and the hole, while still annoying, had not grown overnight. I spread it out, careful not to disturb the hole any more than I had to, and gently pulled my needle out completely. While I waited for the kettle to boil for my first cup of coffee for the day, I picked the knit side of a purl row, one with no decreases or lacework, and slowly started picking up the stitches, one by one.
It’s quite satisfying, in a self-flagellating kind of way, to start ripping out the dead rows once the pick up is done, and have the yarn come neatly to rest at the end of the needle. Heartbreaking to see all that work just disappear into the ether, for sure, but that last row as you pull the yarn and watch the loops pull until it stops and hits the “start again here you fool” mark, it’s mesmerising.
Uncrafting seems to have been the theme for the week. I allowed myself last week off blogging after the marathon that was blogtober, but was determined to get back into it this week. If I didn’t prioritise reestablishing the habit straight away, I would keep putting it off and putting off until a month had past and it was time for Advent blog along. How does one keep up a craft blog though, when all one is doing is uncrafting? Not only did my shawl need unknitting, but the rest of my craft time was spent unstitching my gnome’s beard.
Part of crafting though, is embracing the mistakes. Sometimes, those mistakes can be worked around. Goodness knows I did enough of that on this shawl. But sometimes they can’t. It’s frustrating, and I will admit I’m not always my best self as I pull out my work. The cursing and muttering as I pull and undo would make the casual observer think I’m a witch of the Scottish play, weaving incantations to bring MacDuff undone. I’m trying, though, to embrace the redo part of these projects as bonus stitching and knitting. It’s part of the process. It’s helping me hone my skills…it’s penance for pushing the limits of my multitasking beyond what I know is wise. It’s extra crafting time without the need for extra crafting supplies. That is definitely a silver lining.
When my two big boys were tiny, they loved “Cars”, or as Bear called it, “Lightin Akeen”. We watched it so many times I think I could nearly recreate the screenplay from memory. At one point, Doc tells Lightning “you gotta turn left to go right”. Lightning scoffs and ignores the advice, before learning to accept it through experience. It’s Doc’s voice I can hear in my head as I undo my mistakes. Sometimes, you gotta go back to go forward.