Rip It Good

This is a lesson. To all you newbies and less experienced knitters out there. It’s about a dreaded subject called Ripping and the phobia attached to it. This lecture, I mean lesson, comes from experience. As in the “Been there, done that” variety. So, hear me now and listen to me later.*

Ripping, it’s not just for dummies! Not Ripping, it’s just for dummies. Let me explain. I am not saying you are dumb if you do not rip something that is a mistake. But not ripping can be a dumb move. If you have discovered a mistake in your knitting, what’s the first thing you should do? determine if the mistake has messed up subsequent rows. If it has thrown off a stitch pattern it needs to be fixed. Fighting it will get you nowhere. Ignoring it will not work. Just face the issue and rip and reknit or learn to just drop down to the mistake and reknit that portion. Which I just did on the edge of a baby blanket with a mistake 12 rows back! It’s doable, you just have to want to learn how to fix mistakes in that manner. It takes learning to read your knitting and knowing where you are at in the pattern. This was an 8 row pattern over 12 sts, so not an easy one, but nothing is impossible.

Now, say it hasn’t anything to do with subsequent rows. Maybe you knit when you should have purled on a stitch or two. I say, if it’s not noticeable on a lady riding bare naked on a galloping horse at midnight, why fix it? If it is noticeable in that situation, you need to fix it. OK, so maybe that’s an extreme, but if the mistake has produced a hole right in the center of your left breast, you might want to fix it. If the mistake has left your sleeves dragging the ground, fix it! Ignoring these kinds of mistakes and forging ahead with the project will only lead to disgust and disappointment. Why waste all of the subsequent knitting working on a project with a glaring mistake?

Does it hurt to rip back. ABSOLUTELY! Do I enjoy it? No! But the alternative just isn’t worth it. I am a product knitter. I want the finished product and I want it now. But I am also a process knitter. If I didn’t enjoy the process, why would I knit. I can buy knit items in the store. And most of the time for a lot less money! I enjoy having the chance to make the item I want in the color/yarn I want. I love creating the fabric that makes the item. So I would much rather go backwards than finish something I am not going to be pleased with. Just imagine that it’s a new project and you have never seen it before. Don’t let your desire for the FO make your decisions for you. Be the boss of your knitting.

NOW, having said all of that, let me state now, not all mistakes are mistakes. I always encourage my students that sometimes mistakes are design features. Like my Oaklet Shawl, which is nothing like the pattern. That was one big mis-knit item from start to finish. But in the end, though I didn’t end up with an Oaklet Shawl, I did end up with a Shawl. I just need to rename it! So let your eye be your guide as to whether or not the mistake is a rippable offense. Sometimes it’s just a misdemeanor.

*Only those of us who lived through the 80’s as young adults will get this reference.


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