I talk a lot about how nice it is that we can go back and fix our knitting. It's awesome that we can rip back as many times as we like, but there is a cost. Depending on the nature of the yarn, how we knit, and how we rip there is wear and a certain amount of structural damage to the fiber. You'll see it right away on fuzzy fabrics like mohair, and you'll see it plenty soon on softly spun fibers. So, it's important to know whether the mistake you're going back to fix is worth going back and fixing. If it's a glaring error that will prevent you from wearing the item, absolutely fix it. Something that will impact the long term integrity of the fabric like a split stitch, by all means, fix it. But if it's a little something that maybe only you can see -- probably better to just leave it, learn from it, and move on. Because there is a price for perfection.
Maybe there's not actually an error, but the potential for an error. Many a knitter, not exactly sure what the pattern means, or not completely confident in the technique, will put her work on hold. She'll come into the shop to sit at the table beside one of us to be sure she's executing things exactly right. Nine times out of ten, the knitter is fine and knows just what to do. If not, we're happy to help. But making a mistake on your own at home is more than okay too. Making the mistake is an opportunity to learn how to fix it. Or how to avoid it. Or realize that it won't kill you. All three, really.
As we approach Mother's Day, I am reminded of how very much like knitting it is to be a parent. Our children are the most important project we will ever undertake, and there is an understandable drive to do it well - to do everything right. We want everything to be perfect - to be perfect and to make them perfect, but there is a cost. Obviously, it is our job to guide, instruct, and protect them from harm. But the more we fret and worry and demand from them at every step, the more nervous, high strung, and dare I say, neurotic, they can become. Ask me how I know this. Because there is a price for perfection.
Even our thoughtful and well-meaning desire to protect our children can backfire. As we strive to keep them safe and protect them from mistakes, we leave them at a disadvantage. We put them in danger of being unable to cope with the myriad disasters, large and small, that they will face throughout their life. They need the chance to make mistakes and to learn how to handle it. As my daughter, Katie, says, "Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment." Sage words. Good motherhood is working ourselves out of a job - it's letting go of perfection, relinquishing control, and teaching self-reliance. Good motherhood is allowing our precious ones to stumble and fall. We can't prevent the fall, but we are there to help pick things up, put them right, and offer the support and confidence to begin again.
Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers, step-mothers, aunts, sisters, women mentors and friends who do all this and so much more for those in your care.
I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table. You are always welcome here.