What do you need to fix and what can you leave alone?

So, about my Havra: I made a lot of progress while traveling! Aaaaaaaand…..after finishing the body of the shawl I found a row all the way back near the beginning where I knit the wrong side of the pattern for a stretch. It’s down at the little silver stitch marker (see the little purl ridge across the smooth twisted knit columns?) (well, they will look smoother once finished and blocked, of course – they’ve been sitting squished in a project bag).IMG_1827

This gives you a better idea of how far down the shawl it is:arrowWhile I’m sure my mistake created other errors in this row (pretty sure I have 4 garter stitches rather than 2 garter and 1 k2tog/ssk), what ends up being really obvious is the two garter stitches where I should have two twisted knit stitches.

So I actually ended up dropping a WHOLE LOT of stitches to reach the error, fixing the purl stitches, and working the twisted knit stitches back up again. Because it was going to drive me CRAZY if I didn’t.

But my perfectionism only goes so far, because I realized that the lefthand purled stitch in each column was right next to a yarnover column. And when I started to drop that purl stitch, I realized I was going to have a LOT of loose yarn flapping around, if I ended up dropping and trying to rework all those yarnovers. I didn’t trust my ability to rework all those yarnovers, and knew I’d blow a gasket if I cocked everything up somewhere about halfway up the column.

So in my mistake row, instead of each column starting with two nice twisted knit stitches, you have one purl stitch and one twisted knit. Annoyingly imperfect, but it’s a lot less obvious than 2 purls in a row. 

(This post is really making me wish I had a more sophisticated camera than what’s on my iPhone. Pardon the poor quality.)

The whole thing got me thinking about how many errors are tolerable in a finished project. I’m kind of a perfectionist/type A personality, and my preference would be to go back and fix all mistakes. I rip back a LOT. Sometimes this gets me in trouble, when I think I can fix something and I end up in a huge tangle. Here, I wanted to avoid the latter, and knew that if I ripped back the whole shawl to the error, I’d probably give up on the project entirely. So while I know the error is there, and you can see it if you look, which bugs me, I will live with it in this project. In other projects? I don’t know. How much imperfection do you put up with?

I read somewhere once that weavers of Muslim prayer mats always make one mistake, deliberately, to reflect their humanity and humility – to show that they, unlike God, are not perfect. I have no idea if this is actually true or some author’s conceit, but I like the idea. And I’m trying to think about my mistakes this way, rather than as failures.