Begin Imperfectly.

When we are beginners at something, we are going to make mistakes. There’s often a lot to learn at once, and we don’t do it so well. That’s ok. We can have the “beginner’s mind.” What you don’t know, you don’t know. You can mostly learn it, in time. In the meantime, begin imperfectly.

Some beginning knitters cannot handle their mistakes – they constantly rip out to make it perfect. I am so sad when that happens, and often I want to simply say – this first project is not something to keep – toss it out. Seriously, I do not have the first thing I knit. Mercifully (it was over 40 years ago), I do not remember.

Nope, I am beginning quite imperfectly, thank you very much. Now, mind you, I had done some brioche knitting before.  I made a few baby hats using the basic technique (super fun!). The pattern is Brioche Baby Hat (rav link)

But in these hats, the changing colors of the yarn were doing all the heavy lifting.

Here, I’m learning how to manage two colors with shaping and a new charting system. I decided to ramp up slowly. The first time through the stitch pattern (24 double rows), I followed the line-by-line instructions – which I rarely do these days because I’m pretty good at reading charts now. But there are new symbols that to me didn’t feel obvious, so line-by-line I went.

Once I was confident that I understood how the stitches worked and interacted in that first full repeat, I marked up  (with different colors of highlighters) the chart I had enlarged to make it easier to find the information that would keep me on track:

and highlighter tape, don’t forget that!

My little sample will be a short scarf with some lovely yarn I got at A Verb for Keeping Warm – in two colors of a Fibershed one-of-a-kind yarn with wool, alpaca and mohair. The colors, a neutral and a green, are  not that different from each other. Here’s where I am now:

If you look closely, you’ll notice this is not a perfect knit:

— Those two little green lines toward the bottom of the knitting – they are yarnovers that came to the front instead of the back by mistake. On the back you can see the other problems.

–Those locking stitch markers are holding together stitches that will otherwise unravel. But they can be “fixed” to hold together, and since I’m a farsighted girl, the fact that these colors don’t have a lot of contrast turned out to be a good decision

— Other minor issues are that I messed up one part of the repeat on the same side – twice

But do I care? No, the answer is that I am perfectly willing to be imperfect with this project. I am shouting out loud to everyone – I am messing this up, yo! Because the truth is that in trying to be perfect I would be slowing down my learning. I am making all the mistakes there are to be made, so that I can learn how to do it better on the next, more perfect  project.

Oh, and I can read my charts now – win!

Download PDF

One thought on “Begin Imperfectly.

Leave a Reply