This past week, I gasped in horror as my cat leapt into my lap, pulling apart a delicate piece of knitting I held in my hands. I couldn’t blame Scamper the Cat. He just wanted to sit in momma’s lap and purr. It’s not like he intended to make me lose several stitches that proved impossible to get back on the knitting needles.
I had to admit, I didn’t like the design of the intricate lacing of the shawl I was working on. The middle of the work looked messy, and I didn’t realize how bad it looked until I had progressed far beyond the point of fixing it. I played with the idea of frogging (“rip it, rip it, rip it out” for those not familiar with the knitting term for unravelling your work and starting over). But I couldn’t bear to tear out several inches of work. I had dithered back and forth for days, unhappy with my design and wondering if I should rip it.
Scamper the Cat made the decision for me. As I looked at the hopeless state of my knitting work, I realized he had actually done me a favor. Taking a deep breath, I pulled out several days worth of knitting and got the work back to a place where I could both re-do my design and get the stitches back on my needles. (Yarnovers and frogging don’t mix, I’ve discovered.) My evening of knitting turned out much more relaxing than I intended; ripping out is pretty mindless work.
We knitters are lucky. For those of us who knit, there are do-overs in life. Not many crafts allow you the opportunity to completely start over on a failed project with the same materials and without having to throw out pricey supplies. In fact, if you’re a “process knitter” like me, you just get more knitting time in with the same skein of yarn.
So if you have to frog your work, just remember it’s no big deal. Your work might look better in the end, and for once in your life, you get a do-over.
Cynthia Coe is the author of The Prayer Shawl Chronicles, a collection of interrelated short stories about knitters and those they meet through knitting and sharing prayer shawls. Available in e-book for US $4.99 and in paperback for $14.99. Read it for free if you have Kindle Unlimited.