Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Frog it or Forget it?

We're asking the tough questions today.

A recent adventure in "Failure to Read the Pattern Closely" resulted in me being fifteen rows into Briquette by Two Little Plums and finding myself with a bunch more stitches than required. Not like, "Oh, I did one extra row of increases, oops!" No. This was more, "Oh. I increased eight more stitches than required each row for the last seven right-side rows." A major boo boo. One that there was no doubt that I had to frog and restart.

As I was pulling the work off my needles, I got to thinking about where I draw the line between frogging a mistake and just forgetting about it. (For those who don't know, frogging means ripping your work out. Because frogs go, "rip-it, rip-it." Yes I know. Puns. But still. That's what people call it.) For me, a project has to be pretty much nonredeemable to inspire me to frog. If I have up to four stitches too many/too few, I just adjust my work in the next round. Sometimes I can put up with a larger margin for error, depending on the project. I am not a Frogger, for the most part. I am a Forgetter.

I have two very crafty and meticulous Grandmothers who don't do things half way, an aunt whose sewing skills are magazine worthy, a sister who enjoys making photo-realistic paintings and doilies with sewing thread, and a mom whose recent major crafting achievement was making an evening gown out of 1" strips of silk from ties. Let's not even talk about my friends who craft. Suffice it to say, precision is all around me.

But for some reason, I ended up in the Forgetter camp. I ended up feeling alright with myself for pushing past imperfections in my work and just loving the finished object. I'm not saying it's wrong to want to "have it right." I'm just saying there are primarily two camps in the crafting world: People who Frog, and People who Forget.

When I look back at early work I've done, be it sewing, crocheting, painting, or knitting, the mistakes stare back at me blatantly. Sometimes, I see the mistakes nobody else sees. We are always our own worse critics. But, I kind of like the little errors.

Maybe it makes me weird, but I like to be reminded that I'm constantly learning. When I see the gap in the first lace I knit I think, "There's a mistake I now know how to avoid!" When I see the missed stitches on the first scarf I crochet I think, "Now I know how to make sure I'm at the end of the row!" Sometimes the mistakes irk me, but for the most part I like them.

I always think back to one statement someone made to me about twelve years ago. I took a beading class with my Girl Scout Troop and had messed up in the color pattern on my necklace. It was just a little goof up, and I was ready to rip the whole thing out. The instructor said, "I always leave my mistakes in. Nobody is perfect. If we were perfect, we'd be God."

Maybe I'm using it as an excuse to be a lazy crafter, but I think of that line every time my bias tape bundles up or I miss a ribbed stitch.

Unless of course, I have fifty six extra stitches. In that case, SO LONG YA NASTY MESSED UP SWEATER YOKE!!!


Where do you draw the line between frogging and forgetting?

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