Perfectionism

April 1st, 2016


I guess this is more of a question and invitation to discuss than a normal post. So, here goes:

Do you ever go back and adjust/re-do/re-knit or adapt knitted items?

I’m slowly coming to terms with the perfect imperfection of handmade items, something the Japanese refer to as wabi-sabi. But sometimes it’s more than that, sometimes you just know you won’t really wear something unless x, y and z are dealt with. It doesn’t diminish the accomplishment, somehow the act of making and the act of wearing are separate things. Regardless, I don’t carry wardrobe passengers and every item I choose to buy or make needs to be regularly worn or serve a necessary purpose.

Looking through my finished objects, my list of dream amendments looks like this:

Sundottir – This one’s easy: lower the neckline by knitting fewer rib rows. I love everything else about this knit, not to bad for my second jumper. At least re-doing the neck is one of the easiest modifications to implement. In that case it’s all a matter of finding time. Would I wear it without this change? Yes, but each time I would swear at myself a little for being too lazy to change it.

Sundottir Knitting Lett Lopi Brooklyn Tweed Folklore

Orkney – This is tough. It’s my WAY over-ambitious first large project and I’m more emotionally attached to it than anything else I wear. My finishing isn’t perfect, but having redone the sleeves three times, I think that’s all I have in me. If (and that’s a big if) I knit it again, I would knit a smaller size. Do these changes matter? No, I love it for its imperfections and I’m a little sad that the heralding of Spring across these Isles means I’ll have fewer opportunities to wear it.

Orkney Cardigan Marie Wallin. Rowan knitting. Fair Isle.

Fisherman Sweater – I knit and finished this like a pro (commence own horn tooting) and it exactly matches the pattern measurements – who knew I had it in me?! So, as documented, my problem is with the pattern itself and the fact that it’s way too heavy. It will be useful if we ever get snowed in down here in Bristol…unlikely, but not impossible. I did enjoy the stitch pattern though, so that’s lodged in my brain for possible future use. Would I make any amendments? No, not to this jumper. I won’t wear it as much as I had hoped when I first bought the kit and I don’t think I’ll be purchasing another WATG pattern or kit anytime soon.

Wool and the Gang Stevie Sweater Fisherman jumper folklore kit

Toorlie Hat – I really like this pattern and I LOVE lopi but the brim would definitely benefit from a few extra rows. Will I change it? Yes, at some point before next winter. It’s such a lovely quick knit that there’s no reason not to as it’s only the work of one evening.

Snawheid – I’m really thinking about a reknit of a reknit here. This is what I mean about perfectionism going a little too far sometimes. My first one was knit far too tightly and came out, frankly, child-sized. It was a very early project and producer of many firsts, so I’m not surprised it was far from perfect. When I reknit it (as documented on Ravelry) I made two simultaneous changes. Not a great idea, but the product of naivety and inexperience. The changes were: increasing the needle size and adding another repeat of the snowflake pattern before decreasing. The needle size change worked a treat and, in many respects, it fits well. However, the extra pattern repeat makes it a little too long and I would like to amend this by increasing the brim length but omitting the pattern repeat. Will this result in a re-do? Probably. I have more J&S in my stash and might opt for trying this amendment in a grey and white colourway. Weirdly, for a hat featuring snowflakes, I think this might make a great summer knitting project as J&S is so lovely and light to work with.

My two Wiksten hats – I’ve lumped these together as they suffer from the same problem, namely the opposite of the Toorlie and Snawheid in that they are too large. I guess the important lesson here is that all designers are different and it’s useful to know what to expect from each designer and learn to expect to make amendments on that basis. Will I rip these back? Yes. I really love both patterns (and all Jenny’s designs) and it’s a simple case of dropping a needle size. Like the Toorlie, these are super-quick to knit so I’m far less intimidated by the prospect.

Knitted hats. Fair Isle. Icelandic wool. Shetland wool. Kate Davies. Ella Gordon. Wiksten.

Phew, that was lengthy and detailed! Bless you for making it to the end of my ramblings and wonderings. I would really love to know how other people approach the scream of perfectionism and the achievement/wearability conundrum. I’ll keep my Ravelry up-to-date as I experiment with the patterns and projects mentioned.


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