How to rip out your Knitting, a (deranged) soliliquy for Knit Designers
There comes a time in your design career where ripping out knitting or tinking back becomes unavoidable. I know I'm not the only one that suffers. Back in my heady, hazy days of pre-children knitting I rarely if ever ripped out my knitting. I had all the caffeine, and money, and free time, AND sleep a DINK could ever dream of. I was footloose and fancy free about knitting mistakes and especially glib over leaving them in the finished knitted object. I likened my errors to cultural beliefs about purposely leaving in mistakes to avoid Gods wrath and the ebil eye and all that. I was a knitting free spirit.
And now that I've been self publishing and really making a go of knitting design I answer to a higher power. I call it my Heart of Hearts strategy.
A few weeks ago I posted a photo of a scarf made with delicious artyarns supermerino. After some deep soul searching and angst about how quickly the yarn was being absorbed by the scarf I decided it was time to weigh the remaining yarn.
The scarf was 13 inches long and I'd consumed half of the yarn by weight. That means the finished scarf would be a little over 2 feet long going at the current rate. This is where my Heart of Hearts strategy comes into play. I ask my Heart of Hearts, "will the people that love me enough to buy my designs wear a scarf that is only 2 feet long albeit lovingly designed and executed?"
Yes, perhaps my sister or close family friend would out of pity. But in her mind she'd be asking Who in the hell would wear a scarf that's 2 feet long? And by in her mind I mean aloud, to my face.
I reknit trying to capture the original idea and general feel of the beta version but using much less yarn so as to avoid that uncomfortable not silence where I've put the family name to shame.
Then, on the cusp of drowning my knit-ripping sorrows in iced tea I had another run in with my Heart of Hearts this weekend past. I've been laboring over this secret magazine project trying to make it perfect. When I was 99.9% finished I spread it out over my lap to bask in my moment in the sun.
It was then I realized with a sinking feeling that half of the shawl says "I look like a lattice!" and the other half says "I look like columns!" Now my sister loves me a lot but definitely not enough to wear a shawl that reckons it's origins with the Three Faces of Eve with a dash of wow, that's really...[longest pause in the history of ever]... home made!
That little mental dialog resulted in the ripping out of (and it pains me to say it) 10,825 lovingly knit stitches. Each one a special snowflake, living forever more in my heart. But when I actually did the ripping the language was much more coarse. Stupid Special Snowflakes.
So that is my advice to those sorry sods who find themselves in my contemptible position of Rip or Not To Rip, a three and a half point checklist with a secret toy surprise at the end.
1. Ask your Heart of Hearts if anyone you know would wear the 2 foot scarf, a Three Faces of Eve shawl, or the tin hat that's just come off of your needles.
2. If the answer is "No" or "HELL NO" fortify yourself with the beverage of your choice, language that would make a sailor blush, and an excel spread sheet so you can calculate the depth of your knit ripping pain. It's a sliding scale of anguish. 1,000 tinked stitches entitles you to some reckless retail therapy. Reach 10,000 ripped stitches and holy crap! You just bought a new wheel. And by you, I mean me and my new Lendrum DT. I earned it, shut up.
2a. If you are ripping out lace weight with silk (or any sticky yarn) go slowly as to avoid snags, breaks with reality, and knots. Be ware all ye who enter here.
3. Finally, If the answer is "Yes," "HELL YEAH" or "Begrudgingly with a air of haughtiness" Congratulations! You've just won one sticky note from the sticky notepad of Michelle has too much time on her hands.
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