When I asked you to send in stories about your
biggest knitting mistakes, what I expected were tales of cables
mis-placed, lace gone horribly wrong, and feltings that produced
beautiful miniature sweaters instead of anything that would actually
fit a human being. What I got were tales of wisdom, with a unique
knitterly take on the place of mistakes in our lives.
Here is a sampling of what you taught me:
If it fits, it was knit correctly and is mistake-free. I
have to say that this philosophy makes a lot of sense to me. Anything
you can wear without the sleeves dragging on the ground or folks
mistaking you for a circus tent is by definition a correctly-knit
garment. (Bonus points if people tell you that said garment looks
fabulous on you.)
All mistakes are simply “design features.” Many of you
wrote to tell me that the error I made was akin to the planned mistakes
include in the handcrafts of many native cultures. These intentional
errors signify that the item was indeed handmade by a human being and
are thought to show respect to the supreme Being.
In a modern culture that worships an often unattainable perfection in
terms of appearance, performance, and achievement, the idea that we
knitters might intentionally make a (small) mistake in order to
celebrate our shared humanity is both radical and deeply inspiring.
Knitting is one of the most human tasks we can undertake—creating
garments to warm and clothe those we love, stitch by stitch, from
sheep’s wool and cotton fiber. Mistakes can be viewed as our common
human “signature”—and how we view the mistake once it is made can be a
way of further defining what sort of person we are (and wish to be).
This was pretty amusing, and humbling, response for me to read in your
emails, over and over and over. For the curious, our oh-so-talented
graphics person Kat has done another version of the infamous photo.
See? The spokes are supposed to line up, not be all jaggedy. (Oh well.
At least the instructions are correct.)
The mistake that wasn't...
Apparently, I have been mooning over lace shawls done by the
masters (like Evelyn A. Clark, Cheryl Oberle, and so forth) waaaaayyyy
too much. I have forgotten that there are Big Mistakes, and then there
are Minor Mistakes. I thought the boo-boo I made was HUGE, but after so
many of you wrote to tell me you couldn’t see it, I got a grip and
realized that it wasn’t such a big deal.
I think sewing two sleeves into the same armhole poses a much more challenging problem after all is said and done.
Thank you so much for all you taught me in your knitting stories.