Friday, July 4, 2008


I took the last sock with me to the park yesterday. I'm past the heel, so it's half stockinette, half leaf pattern, and fairly quick. At the end of the day, though, I looked down and instead of seeing a wee pattern of three yos making up the base of a leaf, there was one rather large one. I was six rows past the problem.

I looked at it. I held it up to my foot -- where would that mistake fall? I wondered -- rip or go on? I asked a knitting friend, who said, quite reasonably, that it depended on my level of perfectionism.

And I put it away for the afternoon.

This morning, I woke up and realized I was going to rip it back and redo it. I was also going to rip back something else I've been working on, and redo that. Why on earth am I making such a big deal of the string and sticks, when everyone knows I'm no expert on them and no matter how many times I rip things back, there are going to be mistakes -- generally mistakes any competent 11 year old with a basic grasp of mathematics wouldn't have problems with?

Part of it is the Penelope thing. I'm not in a terrible hurry to get these things done, although having them done is nice, because then I can cast on for more things to rip out. Part of it is the enjoyment of doing, and if a thing is worth doing, well, it's worth doing enough to have knit ten of the thing. Part of it is that so little in my life feels do-overable now that having something that putting ten more minutes of concentrated effort into can turn it around? Well, that's worth something.

So I have something more than our slightly cheesy hometown parade (yes! We are the only small town in existence, let us celebrate us) to look forward to today.

Happy fourth of July, everyone who's celebrating. I remember years of debate with my parents who were/are pretty much "Love it or leave it" people -- and isn't that an odd approach to take to patriotism -- about how I could passionately love my country in all its contradictions and still be heartbroken at the many ways it fell short of its promise. May I always feel this way, and try to find ways to be a good and working for the good citizen of it.

1 comment:

allisonmariecat said...

When I'm slogging through a project that's boring or frustrating, sometimes I stop and remind myself that knitting is a HOBBY. It's supposed to be FUN. And sure, there's learning and stretching and challenging, but there's no reason (except stubbornness) to persist in something that's adding stress and unhappiness to my life instead of taking it away. So I applaud your ripping out!

I really enjoyed your reflection on the Fourth of July.