Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

I have to say, it's a good thing I'm loving knitting this Seraphim shawl, because with all the ripping back and re-knitting I'm doing, if I didn't love this project, I'd probably go nuts. I was just starting chart 3 (the LAST one before the edge chart) when I noticed that somewhere along the way, my lace pattern got off. Irreparably off. Several rows back. So I had to rip back. And rip back some more. It was rather dejecting, knowing that Friday night, I was knitting up row one of Chart 3, and by Sunday night, I was still moving backwards on chart 2. By Monday night, I was finally able to start moving forward again...but I still have another 4-5 rows to go before I'm back where I was on Friday. I've been set back almost a week. And for something that I should have been able to catch. I'm at a point in the pattern where you can very easily see what it's supposed to be doing. If I had been paying attention to what I was doing, I would have seen this mistake when it happened, taken a few minutes to fix it, and been on my way. But, since I wasn't watching and thinking as I was knitting, I'm set back a week.

Of course, I say I had to rip back. "Had to" is a very interesting phrase. This mistake was very subtle, one that I had to search for to find the cause of so I'd know how far back to rip. One that probably no one else would notice, and certainly not the recipient of the shawl. But, therein lies the Perfectionist's Curse. I would know. And because of that, I couldn't, in good conscience, let it go. I HAD...TO...FIX...IT. In my eyes, it was horrendous, disfigured in a phantom-of-the-opera kind of way. I tried to let it go...I really did. But that Type A that I try to keep lying dormant reared it's ugly head. So I had to rip.

I may be a Type-A perfectionist, but I'm also an optimist. And there are a few silver linings here. One, I was already starting to mourn for the finishing of the shawl. I'm having such a great time knitting it, that I was already starting to realize that I would feel a loss when I finished. Guess I just pushed that day back by a week. Two, I'm learning. My technique is getting much better. I'm much more comfortable with the pattern and with lace knitting in general. I'm learning what to look for, and how to catch mistakes before they happen...something that could play an important role in not losing another week to unknitting. Three, two steps forward and one step back is still a net gain, right? I am making progress, it's just slower than I thought. It gives me more time to appreciate my malabrigo and addis and gorgeous colorway, and the challenge that is this shawl. I'm happiest when my brain is engaged, and she's definitely keeping it working. And finally, I've gotten a much needed knitting attitude adjustment. I got cocky and over confident and complacent in my Seraphim knitting. And that's what led to the mistake in the first place. The Seraphim has put me back in my place...and I think we will both be better off because of it.