There is a spectrum of perfectionism in knitting. I’m at an extreme end of the scale. Once I know about a mistake, I have to fix it, even if it doesn’t really make a difference to the wear or the look of the garment. I do not subscribe to the “trotting horse school,” in which you don’t have to worry about a mistake unless it can be seen from a trotting horse. Or on a trotting horse. It has something to do with horses and trotting. (I sometimes preach the trotting horse theory, but I’m full of it.)
While I was still in the Mint Green phase of my Fort Tryon Shawl (in Jill Draper Makes Stuff’s Esopus fingering weight wool), I noticed a mistake in the increases at one of the corners. Somehow, on one round, I’d made the pair of yarnovers a few stitches too early, and on subsequent rounds I’d kept making them in that spot. So the line of centered increases took a right turn. It looked like the crook of a tree, branching to the right. I thought: no worries, I can fix this. I know how yarnover increases work. I’ll just pull out those stitches one by one, replace the yarnovers with plain knits or purls, and then pull out the plain knits and purls and make yarnovers in their place, and Bob’s your uncle. I did this. It was wonky, but the stitch counts worked out (OK I had to knit two together to make it work out), and I deemed myself satisfied. (I didn’t photograph any of this. Perhaps that was a warning sign.)
Every time I came to that corner, it bugged me. (Of course it did.) I was four garter ridges deep into the next color (a gorgeous peacock blue), and I tried to fix it again, this time better. I kept at it, unpicking down 8 rounds or so on each stitch, and it never really looked better. Although I was on the middle seat of a plane at this point, I calmly (with the lucidity of the truly mad) yanked out the needles and started to rip pack to the green, and then into the green. I wound all the yarn casualties into tidy balls. I put the stitches back on the needles. And here I am.
I feel kind of foolish. No one was going to notice the wonky fix on that corner but me. But I am who I am. I can fix my knitting mistakes, and I feel compelled to do so. It’s not so bad to have to knit a few hours more. It’s a little sad not to be forging ahead past the peacock blue into the next color. I know that many people wouldn’t have fixed it. Would you? I think it would depend on the day, but I think most people generally would let it go, and be happier for letting it go.
Today I head back home, after a week filled with travel that took me to Providence, Washington and New Orleans. It will be good to sleep in my own bed.