Red Wine and Philosophy

The girls are asleep.  Marcus is playing Call of Duty 4 on the PS3 (I just asked the name), and I am sitting on the couch, looking at the sock I am knitting.  I just had to frog (which I just learned is from the fast way you say, “rip it, rip it” when you are ripping it out after a mistake!) the heel because I miscounted somewhere and it was off center.  I managed to pick back up all of my stitches, miraculously, and now it’s sitting beside me, awaiting further action.

This error, for whatever the reason, warranted correction.  I stopped, and I plan to go back and try to make it right.

However, I’m also back onto working on my Cardigan for Arwen.  About 3 weeks ago I started the left side of the cardigan, and since this was my first time reading a chart, I made a mistake that I didn’t sort out until row 7 of an 8 row pattern on the cable chart.  I stuck the cardigan in my knitting basket, and there it sat until 3 nights ago while I figured out what to do with it.

Based on the sock story, you’d think the obvious choice would have been to rip out the 7 rows and do them again.  After all, they were only 7 rows.  I’m knitting my very first cardigan.  Shouldn’t I want it to be perfect?

But when I pulled out Arwen the other night and looked at her, I decided to keep on knitting.  To overlook the mistake, knit it correctly from now on, and go with it.  7 rows of a cable pattern had an error in them.  How many rows will my entire cardigan have?  More than I even want to figure right now!

Maybe I am feeling philosophical right now, but I wonder what the difference is between these two projects, and if there is a greater moral here.  My sock has thousands of stitches.  Smaller stitches, of course, but still thousands of them in a pair (each row is 60 stitches, at least 150 rows in a sock…you do the math!).  So it isn’t the stitch count that makes the difference.

It isn’t the price of the yarn or the time invested, either.  The heel took me about 30 minutes to do.  So did the 7 mistaken cable repeats.

Nope.  I think the real heart of the matter is how I feel about the mistake.  The sock mistake was on my heel.  Every time I put that pair of socks on, I would have felt that the heel was off center.  It would have made the socks potentially unwearable, especially if one felt right and the other didn’t.

But with the cardigan, my mistake may not even be noticeable when the whole cardigan is knitted.  And if it is, I can chalk it up as a part of the story–how I read the pattern left to right for each row, instead of only on the odd numbered rows.  How I knitted the whole thing myself and the error is minimal, in the scheme of things.  And how I won’t see that part of the cardigan every time I put it on.  It won’t change how it feels for me, how it fits, or how I feel about it.  It makes it hand-knit and unique.

I wonder about the mistakes that I’ve made in my life over the years.  There have been many that have caused me to want to frog the entire situation, to “rip it, rip it” and start over.  I’ve apologized.  Changed.  Learned and grown.  But the idea is like the socks–it doesn’t feel right, and I have to do something about it.

But then there are other situations, other moments in life like the cardigan, where the mistake is minimal.  That even if the same number of stitches were involved, it doesn’t change my life.  But I still fix them and go on.  I just don’t look to erase the past.  I simply move forward.

Is your life filled with cardigan and sock moments?  Which have you learned the most from?  Which have changed you most?  For the better?  For the worse? Do you strive to be perfect in some situations, and accept mistakes in others?  Why?

I suppose the most important thing is the change, critical in both instances.

At any rate, I suppose I’ll leave the sock and the cardigan for tomorrow.  I shouldn’t knit with wine, anyway.

PS:  Can you see the mistake, 6 cable pattern repeats later?  What if I’d never told you it was there?