The imperfection conundrum.

The imperfection conundrum. Drawing Luke Hockley.

The imperfection conundrum. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I am knitting another pair of socks.

Hopefully this time they will fit me. It has taken a long time to really get them moving. I’ve been experimenting with different patterns and needle sizes to get a pair of socks that fits me.

I’ve knitted about 5 tension squares, had 4 (yes 4) false starts…and now I am finally half way through my first sock…and I’ve made a mistake.

It’s only the tiniest mistake.

I skipped decreasing two stitches in one row…about 6 rows back.

Which means to fix the mistake I would need to undo about an hour or so of knitting. You can hardly even see it, truly no one would ever, on a sock, notice. I was able to just add another row and do the extra decrease and we are all good to keep ploughing on.

Thing is, I can’t work out if this imperfection is a symbol of the joy of a handmade sock or if my desire to plough on is a symbol of my impatience and desire to finish.

I can’t decide if not going backwards, not wanting to undo the 6 rows because it will take too long, means I am missing the point of my own project. When I sew it is very clear to me that I have no time frame. Making each stitch is the whole project. If I don’t like how something looks I undo it. I do love the imperfection of the hand stitching…but it is clear to me when it needs to be undone and redone.

With knitting I have not quite achieved this clarity and acceptance. Truth is I am knitting with impatience. I am tightening myself as I knit in order to get it done sooner. And it hurts. After an hour or so of knitting my wrist is starting to get sore. This doesn’t happen so much when I sew now.

There is my answer. I’d like to undo the rows stitch by stitch without any goal of finishing the sock faster. Not because I want the sock to be perfect but because I want to cultivate knitting as a practice that makes me feel good not one that I tighten myself and hurt my wrist when I do it.

It’s the process that I am practicing, not the product.




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Day 1,017