Crafting Mistakes (Baby sweater for a friend)

transitive verb

1: to blunder in the choice of
2a: to misunderstand the meaning or intention of
  b: to make a wrong judgment of the character or ability of 
3: to identify wrongly, confuse with another 


None of us wants to make mistakes. I mean, we might give some lip service to the notice of a mistake as a learning experience, but none of us goes into a project thinking, "Boy, I hope I blunder in the choices I make on this one!"

In fact, most of us begin every day of our lives with the desire to get it right across the board - to make the correct judgments, to understand completely, to be infallible. Whether we recognize that as a real possibility is beside the point. We want to be mistake-free. 

And it is, of course, worse for some of us than for others. We perfectionists have a more difficult time. Disorganized, impatient perfectionists like me have it particularly bad. 

Did you know there were disorganized, impatient perfectionists out there? 

We're the folks who never follow the advice "measure twice, cut once" because that takes too freaking long. Yet we expect our projects to turn our perfectly anyway, with no incorrect cuts, no mistakes. 

This turns out to be a major issue for me - this desire to never make a mistake combined with a shortcut work ethic for my hobbies and home projects. The result is often tears or cursing after putting a great deal of work into something that turns out not to be quite right - like this skirt I made a few years ago with not enough fabric (resulting in - shocker! - a too-short skirt).

But then sometimes, on that rarest of occasions, I make a mistake on a project that actually turns out to be in that genre of fairytale mistakes, where I can say it's truly better the mistake was made because the result, surprisingly, is superior to what might have been. 

And this tiny sweater for my friend's new, precious little baby boy is exactly one of those mistakes. 

I spent many hours knitting this cute cardigan (called Felix's Cardigan on Ravelry) only to find myself with one and a half sleeves and no more yarn. No big deal, I thought to myself, as I drove to Creative Habitat, our local craft store, for another skein. Except it had taken me so long to knit the sweater that the store had run out of that particular yarn color since I'd first purchased it. No big deal, I thought to myself, as I drove home to purchase a skein of it online. 

Except that when I got home, I couldn't find the tag that had been wrapped around the yarn, so I didn't know exactly what color it was. I went online and perused all the different possible colors and chose one that looked correct. Of course, when it arrived it was entirely wrong - you can't trust the colors on the screen.

So I put the little sweater aside, frustrated and angry with myself once again for not being more careful when I bought the yarn in the first place (either by buying enough or by at least keeping the tag). And it languished for a month or more.

But then! Glory of glories! My wife randomly found the tag while she was cleaning, and I hopped straight to the web and bought a new skein and wrote the dye lot number into the comments and waited impatiently for the mail. 

When it came, I headed straight for the couch and knitted up that second sleeve. 

Except something wasn't quite right. The color, to be exact, was not quite right. Of course I hadn't checked when the new skein arrived that it did actually have the same dye lot as the old skein (for non yarn crafters, having the same dye lot number ensures that your color will match when you're using multiple skeins of yarn for a project). And they didn't. So the sleeve was partially one color and partially a very similar but slightly different color. My wife swore she couldn't really tell (unless she looked very closely), but I could tell. 

So I angrily set it aside again until my mom came to visit and made the brilliant suggestion that I add some embellishments to the sweater to distract from the slight color variations. I spent some time online figuring out how to add embroidery to my knitting, picked a color, and began embellishing my little heart out. 

And folks, it's a winner. 

Blunder after blunder, and in the end, it might be the cutest thing I've ever made. 

Yep. I fairytaled the sh*t out of that mistake. 

p.s. If you'd like to see other ways I'm a total mess, check out this oldie but goodie from a couple years ago.