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yarnspeaktome
Chatty Knitter

USA
285 Posts

Posted - 09/28/2006 :  6:10:33 PM  Show Profile  Send yarnspeaktome a Yahoo! Message Send yarnspeaktome a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I must confess[blush]. I made this really soft wool/cotton blend child's drapey sweater for a friend's daughter. A simple over-sized mock tunic sweater for lounging in. A child size version of one of my favorite blue jean pairing sweaters.

I must've frogged, blocked, and seamed the darn thing at least a half a dozen times[**]. My knitting friends says that there is nothing wrong with it, and why on earth do I keep taking it apart.

The seams keep bothering me in appearance for some reason. I think truthfully.....I must have O.C.D.[crazy] My seams can't be any tighter says my knitting group.

Elsie[meow]

KarenB
Seriously Hooked

750 Posts

Posted - 09/29/2006 :  06:42:50 AM  Show Profile Send KarenB a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As a recovering perfectionist, I can relate to your frustration, Elsie. Here are a few things that help me reconcile the inevitable gulf between "ideal" and "reality":

1. Handmade things are never going to be perfect. Ever. Put down your needles and get yourself through the five stages of grief; when you reach the Acceptance part, pick them up again.

2. It's a cliche, but only because it's so true: 99.9% of the imperfections that you, as the maker, see as if they're labeled with flashing neon arrows, will never be noticed by anyone else. Really.

3. Getting caught in a "zero defects" mindset sucks the joy right out of pretty much anything. A better philosophy might be termed Good-Enough Knitting, and that's what I've learned to embrace. If I enjoyed the knitting, did the best I could, and have a finished object to show for my efforts -- well, that's Good Enough.

If even your knitting friends have examined your seams and think they're fine, that's a strong indication that your work is indeed Good Enough. Relax, admire the lovely little sweater your talented hands have made, and pass it on to the lucky giftee with pride in a job well done.

Just my 2 cents.

Karen
My knitting gallery
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yarnspeaktome
Chatty Knitter

USA
285 Posts

Posted - 09/29/2006 :  07:22:44 AM  Show Profile  Send yarnspeaktome a Yahoo! Message Send yarnspeaktome a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Okay, I've already frogged the sweater.....again. I did it before anyone replied to my topic. This will be my "very last" re-do because my friend's daughter really wants the sweater.

Sigh. Thanks Karen for the advice. I'm not normally this annal (all right, more than usual)about making sweaters, but this one just got to me.

I will say that there is one child's sweater, left in my UFO box, that I will definitely have to frog. I used the wrong sized needle for the neck; now the hole is too small for my daughter to get her head thru. This one will be my test of being "It's good enough".

Elsie
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lucienh
Honorary Angel

919 Posts

Posted - 10/03/2006 :  05:31:27 AM  Show Profile Send lucienh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I blame technology. Because it makes mechanical perfection possible, we think that mechanical perfection is a good thing. It isn't. Analogy -- I'd rather go to a local restaurant where maybe they were having a bad day and the food wasn't quite as good as last time, because maybe next time it will be a great day and the food will be wonderful, than go to MacDonalds and know exactly what it was going to taste like. Perfection is not absolute regularity or the absence of mistakes. It's the moment when the yarn sings in your hands, or when the child really wants the sweater!
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of troy
Permanent Resident

USA
2474 Posts

Posted - 10/03/2006 :  07:07:50 AM  Show Profile  Visit of troy's Homepage Send of troy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
the fault lies not in the stars, (or the sweater, or anything else) but in our selves.

YOU are not perfect. but you don't have to be. Perfection is overrated, and searching for perfect robs us of the good.

HUMAN's are by their nature, flawed. to seek perfection is to abondon your human nature.

you are not a dog, and no matter if you crawl around on all four, and sniff your way about, you can't become a dog. nor can you be a cat, or anything but human. and to be human is to be less than perfect. ITS a GOOD THING not to be perfect.

and anything you make will be less than perfect.

and working, frogging, reworking, refrogging your yarn is going to ruin the yarn. with each reknitting it will be less stretchy, less resilient, less likely to knit up and drape elegantly.

by trying to form a perfect garment, you are destroying the yarns ability to make a good garment.

ease up, recognize that you are loved just as you are: IMPERFECT.
and love your knitting just as it is, a reflection of you, imperfect.

I've started a blog...
http://golden-apples.blogspot.com/

but you can still just see my photo albums of mostly knitting. http://img78.photobucket.com/albums/v299/oftroy/
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gwtreece
Permanent Resident

USA
7254 Posts

Posted - 10/03/2006 :  07:55:59 AM  Show Profile  Send gwtreece a Yahoo! Message Send gwtreece a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Quit frogging the sweater. Remember you could be working on another project.

Wanda
My Blog
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KL
Permanent Resident

6041 Posts

Posted - 10/03/2006 :  08:00:53 AM  Show Profile Send KL a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I HATE Seaming/finishing.

That is why I thank "The Finishing Fairy" for sending us a Genius Finisher in the shape of Nina. She is a true find. She is Russian but learned her techniques from a Dane. There are European Techniques that I have never seen. Her seams are all but invisible. Her edgeings are exquisite.

I have also seen a customers all-but destroyed project come back from her completly restored with no hint of knitting trauma to the garment.

No matter where I live, I will gladly mail my projects to her for finishing. KL

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fmarrs
Guardian angel

USA
9776 Posts

Posted - 10/03/2006 :  08:27:38 AM  Show Profile Send fmarrs a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If you think as I do (hand knitted garments are worth more than machine knit ones.) guess what distinguishes a hand knit garment? It is the little imperfections and mistakes that mark it as made by hand. Machine knit garments are perfect.....and less desirable. Now I am not saying that machine knits do not have value. They definately do, but they lack the character those little imperfections make. Think of antique furniture and how the age spots and imperfections increase the value.

fran

http://martianmischief.blogspot.com/
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fmarrs
Guardian angel

USA
9776 Posts

Posted - 10/03/2006 :  08:31:05 AM  Show Profile Send fmarrs a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Suggestion: instead of frogging the sweater you made your daughter, remove the neck finish, pick up stitches around the neck and just reknit that part. Be sure your bind off is loose enough. Most necks that are too tight are that way because of the way they are bound off. Multiply your stitches per inch by 22-24. If you have that many stitches it will fit over her head.

fran

http://martianmischief.blogspot.com/
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susan14_23
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
551 Posts

Posted - 10/03/2006 :  12:49:00 PM  Show Profile Send susan14_23 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Fran and Lucienh, I agree with you totally about us being programmed to think machine made equals superior to anything handmade because it is "perfect", but that kind of perfection makes the item soulless too.

Elsie, here's a tip from quilting that may help you: I've read several times that traditionally if a quilter gets to the point where she can make a perfect quilt, she will deliberately make a small mistake in it. The thought behind it is that only God is perfect, so a quilt (or anytthing) made by a human being does not have to be perfect.

We all give you permission to not be perfect!!

Susan
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LilyBeth
Gabber Extraordinaire

378 Posts

Posted - 10/03/2006 :  2:49:45 PM  Show Profile  Visit LilyBeth's Homepage Send LilyBeth a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I was just going to pass along Susan's tip, although I've heard it attributed to Navajo weavers. I read an article once that questioned whether this is truly a traditional Navajo belief, but apparently many Navajo weavers do believe that every woven item should have at least one error, because perfection is divine and, as imperfect humans, we need to show in our work that we are humanly flawed. To be perfect would be to presume we are gods!
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gallant_duck
Chatty Knitter

United Kingdom
183 Posts

Posted - 10/04/2006 :  12:33:59 PM  Show Profile  Visit gallant_duck's Homepage Send gallant_duck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I reckon you've got something else going on that's making you OCD on the sweater. This happens to me all the time: when other things start fussing, I become determined to make at least one thing in my life 'perfect'. Unfortunately, it goes without saying that that one thing will never be perfect and you wind up in a steadily spiralling horrorshow wherein whatever it is that you have decided will be perfect becomes a terrible manifestation of all that will one day kill you.

I agree with everyone else. Finish the damn thing and move on, chances are you'll feel a lot better.

emmms

http://erqsome.typepad.com
http://meepful.diaryland.com
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yarnspeaktome
Chatty Knitter

USA
285 Posts

Posted - 10/04/2006 :  8:29:19 PM  Show Profile  Send yarnspeaktome a Yahoo! Message Send yarnspeaktome a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've finished the sweater yesterday! My friend's daughter is wearing it to school tomorrow. Thanks for all the responses. I even corrected and finished my daughter's sweater; just frogged the neck only folks.

My knitting bin is now empty of UFO's. ACK! To avoid seaming for alittle while; I think I'm going to work on some top down sweaters by Knitting Pure and Simple for Xmas gifts.

Elsie[meow]
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lucylocket
Permanent Resident

4172 Posts

Posted - 10/04/2006 :  10:30:00 PM  Show Profile Send lucylocket a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi - What joy to have an empty UFO bin! Sigh! I've actually done some work on mine today in between typing - I'm feeling inspired by your success!!!Good on you! Happy Knitting - Lucylocket
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gallant_duck
Chatty Knitter

United Kingdom
183 Posts

Posted - 10/04/2006 :  11:02:13 PM  Show Profile  Visit gallant_duck's Homepage Send gallant_duck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Elsie, I bow to you.

emmms

http://erqsome.typepad.com
http://meepful.diaryland.com
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fmarrs
Guardian angel

USA
9776 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2006 :  12:02:20 AM  Show Profile Send fmarrs a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Now on to the next, hopefully not fatal, knitter's disease. Yesterday I finished all my UFO's except for the last one but found that I could not work on that one. Nothing wrong with the project (a baby blanket) but it made me so nervous to be working on my "last" project. Today, I cured myself. I cast on for a pair of baby pants to go with the sweater I just finished.

Now why is fran making so many baby clothes??????

fran

http://martianmischief.blogspot.com/
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Janine
Chatty Knitter

USA
218 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2006 :  05:29:35 AM  Show Profile  Visit Janine's Homepage Send Janine a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Karen, thanks for the excellent advice!

If I had a cool signature line like everyone else, this is where it would go. :-)
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Janine
Chatty Knitter

USA
218 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2006 :  05:31:45 AM  Show Profile  Visit Janine's Homepage Send Janine a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Why IS Fran making so many baby clothes? Inquiring minds want to know! :-)

If I had a cool signature line like everyone else, this is where it would go. :-)
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MargieR
New Pal

48 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2006 :  08:15:55 AM  Show Profile Send MargieR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Elsie, I also count myself among recovering perfectionists. Years ago, I finally realized that we love each other BECAUSE of our imperfections, not in spite of them. I believe the same thing applies to handmade gifts. That being said, I will still frog a piece back to the beginning when I am stitches away from finishing, if I don't like the way it looks overall. However, in general, if I can't fix a mistake that doesn't seriously mess with the stitch count or some other BIG problem, I just ignore it and keep going. So far, no one has been less than delighted, that I took the time and care to make them something special, chosen, sized and with colors just for them. (I generally only make gifts for people, whose tastes I am very well aquainted with.)

I suggest, Try to relax, enjoy the process and chose recipients, who value one of a kind gifts (because no matter how many times you make the same pattern, each one is different).
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marjjones@webband.com
New Pal

1 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2006 :  10:55:09 AM  Show Profile Send marjjones@webband.com a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sometimes we just need to 'move on'. I HAD a sweater from Hades - got the yarn on a closeout, didn't get enough, did get some of the same yarn, different dyelot, some color difference, finished the sweater, semi felted it, tried the 'salt bath' to release the fibers, rinsed it in the front loader washing machine, REALLY felted it, cut it apart and now it is a purse. The operative word here is 'had'. Ah, release!
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ArtLady
Warming Up

USA
61 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2006 :  1:55:58 PM  Show Profile  Visit ArtLady's Homepage Send ArtLady a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Elsie,
Not that I want to be an "enabler"...but I too am a bit of a perfectionist. So, I know how you feel! Here is something that helped me create knitted garments that SATISFIED ME: I took a class called "Finishing Techniques"...seaming, blocking, necklines, buttonholes...were among the subjects covered. I have been knitting since 1970, and believe it or not, I learned several techniques that made all the difference in the world. I don't know if such classes exist in your town, but if they do, take the class...if you have not already done so.
QUESTION: you do use the 'mattress' method of seaming, don't you? Might be a dumb question, but believe it or not, I first came to learn of the mattress method of seaming IN THAT CLASS. I guess I mighta seen it in books, but never "got it" until I took that class.
Prior to the class, I too was always displeased with my seaming. UGH.
Now it is the only method I use. Recently I purchased these little do-dads called KnitKlips from www.knitklips.com They were featured in the new FALL ISSUE of Knitters Magazine. They are little do-dads that will hold the two edges of the garment together while you seam up from the bottom! I am very excited to receive them in the mail. They were not expensive. I used little brass safety pins...but they are tedious to put in and take out as you go along. The KnitKlips will speed up the laborious task of seaming. BTW: I knit with natural fibers usually, and I ALWAYS block all pieces of the garment BEFORE SEAMING. It makes all the difference in the professional look of a good seam. I read that in one of my knitting books. The author said: "Why in the world would you take all that time to hand knit, and then skip the most important part: the putting of it together. Blocking all your pieces is one of the biggest factors to a good looking finished garment" So that made sense to me. If working with acrylic yarn, which do not "block", I steam the pieces a little to straighten out the "look" of the fabric.
One other point: when creating the neckline of a pullover garment: after picking up the required number of stitches, I use one size larger needle to knit the neck, AND, to cast off I use two sizes larger needle. I just use my usual tension. The larger size needle gives the 'loose' bind off.
Hope this helps. I am sure your knitted garments are just wonderful in everyone else's eyes...but I do understand that YOU, the creator of the garment, WANT TO BE PLEASED with the garment as well! From one perfectionist to another <G> I think we should both take to heart all the EXCELLENT WORDS from the knitters who participated in this conversation. They were right on. ArtLady.


Art Lady
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