Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Embracing the Mis-Stitches

One of the things that I appreciate about handmade items is that they are not always perfect.  They are beautiful but not necessarily without faults.  It`s just the nature of handmade and I have embraced that philosophy when it comes to my knitting.

One example I can think of is the blanket I knit for Mike as a Christmas gift two years ago.   It was my first and only blanket, so far anyways.  You see, Mike has what I call a man cave in the basement.   Once the boys are in bed, he disappears downstairs to the basement.  I join him later in the evening.  Before two years ago, I would find him wrapped in any old ratty blanket he could find, complaining of the cold.  Well, it is a basement.   So being a knitter, I saw my chance to make something for him that I thought he would actually use.  I chose manly colours and I began to knit.  (For those knitters out there, I knit it entirely in seed stitch.  Great looking stitch but a pain in the arse to knit.)  Since it was going to be a surprise, I only worked on it when I didn`t think he would see it.  I stayed up late some nights, probably not late for some but late for me.  And well, I may have fallen asleep once while knitting.  The strange thing  though is that I kept on knitting and for a 3 inch by 1 inch section in the middle of the blanket, I knit when I should have purled and purled when I should have knit.  Oops.  Even funnier is that I didn`t notice my goof until a couple of nights later.  Well, I wasn`t about to frog the several inches that I had added to the length of the blanket since then.  Somehow I had fixed my mistake, again probably in my sleep, so I left it as is and kept knitting.  I embraced the mis-stitches and they became part of the story behind the blanket.

The rest of the story behind the blanket is that Mike was completely surprised even though he had caught me working on it a couple of times close to the end.  When asked if he had any idea, his response is that he thought I was knitting a sweater for myself.  Apparently, people, I am the size of a small beluga whale.  He was actually doubly surprised.  This part of the story is a little bit mean but I`ll tell you anyways because it`s also kind of funny.  The blanket was huge.  My mother and I put the blanket in a old cardboard box that a DVD player had come in.  We giggled as we did this because we both knew Mike wanted a new DVD player and he just might think he was getting one when he saw the box.  Yes, I admit it, this went through our heads and we giggled in anticipation.  And yes, judging by the look on his face as I pushed the box towards him, he was thinking exactly that.  Oh, the poor man.  I think we laughed.  Okay, we laughed.  In our defense, we had been drinking champagne and orange juice and the look on his face as he opened the box and pulled out this huge knitted blanket was pretty funny.  Confusion, sheer confusion.  Anyways, in the end, he loves his blanket and I can find him wrapped up in it every cold winter night, sometimes even in spring and fall.

Once I began selling my hand knit items on Etsy, I had to stop embracing the mis-stitches.  I could not with a clear conscience sell an item in which I had made a mistake.  The item was as near to perfect as I could make it.  I balanced this by sometimes making socks in which the stripes didn`t match.  So much in life already has to match, sometimes you just need to rebel vicariously through your socks.

Since taking a step back from my Etsy shop, I have begun embracing the mis-stitches again.  It began Friday night while I was knitting a pair of socks for myself.  I was tired.  (Note to self:  Perhaps I shouldn`t knit when tired.)  I noticed that I had messed up the pattern.  I fixed my mistake to the point that I could continue but I left a little mistake, a little gaff.  Just a little reminder of the night when I decided to start knitting for the fun of it again.

If you have made it to the end of this post, thanks for bearing with me.  I really had not meant for it to be this long.  I think it`s the glass of red wine talking.


  1. haha! i love it. from a knitter to a knitter, these are such sweet stories. maybe you shouldn't drink and knit tara. lol..

  2. Lol...you are so totally not the size of a beluga whale...laughing right now! Sometimes men are kind of not very observant...which has it's merits when you are trying to surprise them! :-)

    And yes "mistakes" if you want to call them that, are part of something handmade and I agree...totally part of the charm.

    Aaahhhh...red wine....I need one of those right about now!

    Have a good night.

  3. Lol...love the beluga whale comment...I really did laugh out loud..
    Do you really think that you should worry over those mis-stitches? I know when I buy anything handmade...those are the small details I love because it isn't factory stitched...
    Perhaps you need to change the "idea" of your store and make it known to people that Handmade has it's flaws...
    LOVE this post.
    It wasn't too long...but then a good read is never too long!
    Have a great day...

  4. There's nothing wrong with a few mis-stitches. The Native Americans who would decorate with complex and beautiful beadwork would purposefully lake a mistake and use a bead of the wrong color, because they believed that if a piece was perfect it had no soul.

    Also, your beluga whale comment meant I HAVE to share a story. I knitted a sweater for my now-husband then-boyfriend, and I bought the pattern, yarn and needles- but never made a gauge swatch. Yep. It's big enough for both of us to wear together. I can almost use it as a dust cover for one of the smaller sofas.

  5. I love this post. I agree entirely, I like the bits that make it human!

  6. What a fabulous post! I love that your hubby thought you were making a sweater for yourself - sometimes men can be just so unaware - bless them! I also love that you rebel vicariously through your socks! And I've heard that oriental rug makers purposely make mistakes in their rugs as they believe the only being that can create something completely perfect is God.

  7. Love the mis-stitches --not the mis-updates on my computer that keep me from commenting! I'm now commenting from my daughter's computer. Problem identified. I did love the truth of this post as well as the humor:)

  8. I love this post...accepting is a good thing...

  9. I call my mis-stitches design modifications. :) I like my knit items to look like 'hand' knit items. And the DVD player box is brilliant and would have made me laugh silly for hours.


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