I have a friend who is an expert sailor, has sailed competitively around the world on all sizes of boats in all kinds of weather. He says anyone who tells you that they never get seasick is either a liar or someone who hasn’t sailed very much.
So I’m here to tell you that any knitter that tells you that they never make a mistake is someone who doesn’t knit very much or perhaps someone who embellishes the truth. Or maybe they don’t even see their mistakes, which can also be listed under the category of doesn’t knit very much or with much variety.
So what differentiates a decent knitter from a good knitter? Instinct.
Instinct is something that one develops over time and with experience. Just like my friend can probably smell the shift in wind direction, most experienced knitters can feel when something is wrong, even when they can’t spot the mistake, at least not easily.
I came up against this recently on a rather large and complicated project I started (Sage by Marie Wallin). This is a long tunic styles fair isle pullover with 13+ colors so I thought I was being as careful as could be (“thought” being the operative word). Now, I’m doing this in the round instead of flat and I have on the needles 378 stitches (I’ll let you have a second to read that again : 378 stitches). One never wants to make a mistake but you REALLY don’t want to make a mistake when you have that many stitches at stake. I was working one of the simpler patterns (at least simpler to read), a very clear dark star against a light background. As I progressed I kept having the feeling that it wasn’t quite right, but the numbers were adding up and the repeats were ending where they were supposed to. But it didn’t quite look right. But I kept on knitting.
You can probably guess where this is going.
I finally found the mistake. I had established the pattern incorrectly in the first row of the pattern. THE FIRST ROW. Which means I had to rip out 4 rows or 1512 stitches. I would have had a stiff drink except it was 8 in the morning. I still considered it. But I just took a deep breath and off those stitches came, mingled with muttered epithets and a few tears. The only silver lining is that my instinct kept nudging me. I didn’t find the mistake as quickly as I would have liked but I did find it.
So develop that instinct my friends. It will save you a few tears in the long run.
Julie, WY's Do-bee and store wordsmith.