No matter how expert the knitter/crocheter, mistakes happen. The dilemma then becomes a question of what to do: Leave the mistake and keep working or go back and fix it? The problem is compounded when the mistake is several rows back.
An informal poll found that most people, regardless of if they knit or crochet, will go back and fix the mistake, even if it makes no difference on the pattern. Reasons varied from “I hate mistakes” to “Nobody else would see it but I would know it’s there, so I have to fix it.” In the case of a dropped stitch, this is understandable. No one wants to see the equivalent to a run in the middle of an intricate shawl. Lacework is also understandable.
No one likes wasting time, though. Going back and fixing a mistake that has no bearing on the pattern falls under that category. Here are three tips for accepting mistakes while knitting or crocheting.
1. Consider it a signature.
People expect painters and other traditional media artists to sign their work. In the fiber arts, the only way to “sign” a piece is through a mistake or attaching a tag.
2. Have a deadline.
Setting a time frame for project completion can often force the acceptance of mistakes. It often takes longer to go back and fix a minor mistake than it would to just complete the work. If it doesn’t change the overall pattern or is an easy fix with joining two stitches together, for example, it’s often better to do that than to frog it and start again or rip back to the mistake.
3. Be kind to the work.
Depending on the fiber content and the number of plies of the yarn, ripping and/or frogging can be hard on it. Single plies or loose plies, for example, can easily pull apart. Being kind to the work means being gentle when ripping back or leaving the mistake alone altogether if possible.
4. Call it part of the design.
If you make the mistake early in the pattern, or if you frequently make the same mistake, you can decide it is part of the design. This tip won’t work if you are forgetting crucial steps such as increases or decreases for shaping, but if you realize you’ve been turning your cables the wrong direction, for example, you can just continue to do it consistently.
Yes, mistakes are inevitable, but the stress often associated with them isn’t. These tips can help de-stress a project.