I don’t mind ripping out my knitting. People around me seem to mind it more than I do. People around me seem to get anxious and agitated and kind of frustrated when I rip put my knitting. And I’m such a softie that from time to time I’ve hidden my ripping out to spare others the vexation.
But I do rip out. When I’m trying to come up with a new design, I rip put all the freaking time. I think every design I’ve actually managed to come up with went through at least three different versions before I found one I likes (or at least didn’t hate). In between all of those versions, the project reverted back to its basic string-like state.
I’ve been working on a two color shawl that uses the short row/mosaic technique I like to get big continuous sections of color. At first it looked like this…
… and then it looked like this.
I decided in the middle of one of my knitting lessons that the shawl wasn’t working. I didn’t like the start. Or the mosaic middle. I liked the overall shape, but that was about all I liked. I casually mentioned to my students that I “have just this moment decided I hate my shawl and I need to rip it all out”. I thought they would appreciate this display of vulnerability and self-criticism.
I was wrong. Quite wrong. There was much protest. So I pretended to cave, stuffed it all into my knit bag and ripped it out in the privacy of my own home where no one could see.
Then I started over and by the next day (or maybe it was two) I had this.
I liked the start and it has a simplicity that I think works. But I had ruined the shape which is the only thing I liked from version number one. About five minutes after I came to that conclusion my shawl was string again.
It really does not bother me. Ripping out because I’ve made a brain-fart level mistake can be frustrating. Ripping out because I haven’t figured out what I want to make is just part of my knitting life. I go into the “let’s design something new” process knowing that the first three, or five, or even twelve versions will be kind of sucky. Maybe other knitters can come up with something decent on their first try but not me.
I’m currently on version number three.
I’m liking it. Its got the right shape and the simplicity so I think I’ll be sticking with this version. But I make you no promises.
Ripping out is like our mulligan. Golfers love mulligans. (At least I think they do. I don’t play golf, have never played even a single round of golf. It seems to be huge waste of time I could spend knitting and a huge waste of money that I could spend on yarn. But I’ve googled golf mulligans and they sound like a widely appreciated thing.) We should think of ripping out like that. Its a do-over. And once you have re-knitted the yarn, or even just re-wound it into a cake, no one even has to know that you took a mulligan. Its like it never even happened. Really, its like cheating and getting away with it.
FYI, the week before I got distracted by the two color shawl, I was designing a rectangular wrap that I want to have shifting lace patterns. By designing I mean of course knitting something up, hating on it, ripping it out, and starting over. I didn’t take any pictures along the way. It didn’t really occur to me to bother with that and I kind of, sort of, lost track of how many different versions of this wrap I went through.
But I finally ended up with something I like. Its simple. (I would say that simplicity is my design aesthetic but I’m not really sophisticated enough to have an “aesthetic”. So I’ll just say that I’m simple minded.)
However, its wider than I wanted. Also I’m not very far along and I’ve already used up a whole skein. I only had two skiens and at this rate my wrap won’t be long enough to wrap.
I did give serious consideration to ripping it all out and casting on for something narrower but I squelched that urge and just went back to my yarn store and bought a third skein.
And I expect some credit for that.
"There is no failure. Only feedback." - Robert Allen
27 Comments on "Ripping Out is Our Mulligan"
What Jenn? I liked the design of that first shawl. And i am absolutely enamored with your color choice. I hope you will reconsider. I was really looking forward to seeing the finished project. Wish I had your intuitive vision. 🙂
Me too, Carla! that mosaic center piece looks like an awesome idea to me!
Me three. It strongly reminds me of an Escher design.
I’m not going to reconsider. Sorry. The current version of the shawl has a much smaller, simpler, and I think more elegant center mosaic that starts up about a third of the way down. Maybe knitters will find that appealing too. I hope so.
Never ignore your gut instinct. If you are the maker, the creator of a thing then trust your vision. I’ve had a yarn “just not work” several times. Some yarns don’t have the right fiber content or construction to be lace or cables or color work. I applaud you for putting it down! And speed-knitting a hat was a great idea. get those creative juices flowing. 🙂
Jen, ripping out knitting is NOT a Mulligan. The knitter’s honesty and feeling for the yarn enables one to make the decision to rip out. Upon realizing that the knit product is less than fantastic, it is a brave and honorable thing to rip it out, and then move forward to knit it again into a better item. Why should beautiful yarn languish in a less than pleasing knit item. Onward and upward as we knit along!
I agree. Listening to that inner voice and committing to the rip-out/re-do/extra work is daunting but its the way to being proud of your own work. And who wants to keep knitting on a project that the secretly know isn’t working? lol No one!
You use of emojis both impresses and intimidates me. I never could emoji.
Aww. thanks. And there will be some mosaic work later on. But it won’t be as big or as involved. For me the first version looked too busy. I hope you like the next version as much.
My design process is about as planned and a pretty as when I write. I just sit down and start. then I decide if it sucks and should be erased from existance or if I should keep going. Maybe other designers are more refined and more prolific and maybe they have better suntans. Me? I’ll just keep plodding along.