Sunday, May 13, 2007

Musings on Perfection and Perfectionism

aka How Imperfect is TOO Imperfect?

I've mentioned this before. I am a recovering perfectionist. You wouldn't totally know it from my life, but I used to be obsessed with being perfect and loathed myself for all my failures, real and perceived. Lots of therapy and love later, and I don't feel that way most of the time. It gets stirred up, and it's sort of a knee-jerk reaction to many things that I can move past quickly, but it's there.

I see it with my knitting. I want to be *good* at this. I am pretty good, but I'd put myself very much in the early-intermediate level of knitting (err, if there were such a thing as quantified levels of knitterness, which I don't think there actually are). I'm not a beginner, I can tackle more challenging projects, but I'm not very good at some of the things that I think I should be, in order to feel truly proficient at this craft. More to learn, right?

So, I'm doing my first sock on DPKs, and while I'm not finding it as hard as I thought I would, I'm not doing it...well, perfectly. I've got two issues. I've got some laddering going on (to be honest, I had a little of that with the Cascade socks, which were done Magic Loop, but with ML you only have two inter-needle connections to worry about, not the four I have on these needles), and I had a small-child-induced-disaster, in which one of the needles got pulled out of the stitches. I managed to salvage it somewhat, though there's an obvious spot of kerfuffle where I didn't do a good job of picking up the dropped stitches (note to self, go buy some teeny tiny crochet hooks to assist you in these dropped-sock-stitch emergencies).

I'm not hugely bummed about that spot ("See that? That was when you pulled the needle out of mommy's knitting and she freaked out and threatened to put you in time out until you were twenty, do you remember?"), but the laddering is annoying. Not, at this point, annoying enough to pull it out and redo it, mind you, but it's there, and I'll notice it. I'm trying to treat it like a learning experience. This is my first time doing this kind of project, and I want to become proficient, but NO ONE is immediately proficient while learning a new skill, it takes time. I'm only doing this for the joy it brings me, so if it's not joyful, why do it?

Perfection isn't attainable, at least not by me. But at what point do I say this is really not good enough, and frog it and start over?


Robin said...

Do you mean laddering when you switch needles?

I've never had a problem with it, but I've always used a tip I learned before I started with DPNs: when you get to the end of a needle, knit the first stitch from the last needle directly onto the adjacent needle, then start with the empty one. This way you "spiral" the joins around the piece and it keeps gaps from growing.

Sarah said...

What Robin said. Also, you can just knit the first couple of stitches on each needle a little tighter than the others. My first socks had a bit of laddering, but after wearing them the first time it stretched out and disappeared. So try not to worry too much about it. :-)