How to rip out your Knitting, a (deranged) soliliquy for Knit Designers

Posted on Aug 30, 2010. 6 comments

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.
To wit:
artyarns supermerino
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.
merino silk lace by Sweet Georgia
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!
whats that sound
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.
i knit tin hats
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.


  • Posted by Lise on Aug 31, 2010

    You are too funny.

  • Posted by Carrie K on Sep 01, 2010

    I tend to rip but only after knitting another couple of inches before I decide I cannot bear such an egregious error. Someday I wish to rip immediately.

  • Posted by Kath on Aug 30, 2010

    Ahh you just reminded me I’ve a sock-in-progress that needs to be frogged. Perhaps tomorrow after I’ve made a run to the liquor store.

  • Posted by Janet C on Aug 30, 2010

    Well, I definitely qualify for the part of frogging that involves vocabulary that would make even a sailor blush (perhaps even his “lady” friends?), and with my troll voice frogging fits right in. Let’s hope it isn’t on the One Skein Shawl test, as that is being knit with a silky lace yarn!!! But what would knitting be without frogging??? SUCCESSFUL!!!
    Searching for a little sympathy from a tiny violin,

  • Posted by Anastacia on Aug 31, 2010

    Or when frogging lace yarn, make your husband do it because you don’t have the heart to!

  • Posted by Heidi on Aug 30, 2010

    don’t forget chocolate cake…. it makes everything feel better.

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