I have recently developed a tool I call the *Personal Mistake Threshold Analyzer, or PMTA, that will revolutionize knitting forever. You may not know it but every knitter has a Personal Mistake Threshold. We all get to the point where we say bad things to our knitting and throw it in a corner. Or want to, if you are more mature than I am. The PMT is the thing that determines whether we go pick it up, fix the mistake and move on or leave it there with the dust bunnies. Now, with the PMTA you can calmly analyze the situation before it gets ugly. Allow me to give you a personal example.
This year I decided to knit my daughter a Christmas present. I asked her if she would like something knitted and what and what color. (For me that is a novel concept. Usually I just knit something and hope that it fits and that the recipient likes it and doesn’t say something like “Why aren’t there any fingers on this glove?”) She wanted a long, loopy cowl. I remembered Kay of Mason-Dixon Knitting had gone on a cowl knitting binge with great results so I searched the archives and found it. And then I got The Honey Cowl. Perfect. I love Madelinetosh yarns and I had two skeins (just what the pattern called for) of Madtosh DK in Tart-a luscious red perfect for my girl. So I started. But not before taking some photos for you.
The red is hard to photograph but this comes close. Rich and warm with that light veil of black that MT does so well.
Wound into a nice little cake and ready to go!
So off I went! Well, first I looked at the pattern. To make that lovely honeycomb pattern you are supposed to work a purl row by purling one and then slipping one with the yarn in front. Now, I am not the world’s fastest purler. I thought I would do better if I reversed the directions and knit one and then slipped one with the yarn in back. ‘Cause that would be faster. And it is. Much. At least for me. It also puts the yarn carry on the back of my work, where I can’t see it. A fact that came back to bite me.
So, I zoomed right along. This is my TV and talking knitting. I take it every where I go and I make lots of progress. Every now and then I goof and knit one, slip two. Or knit two, slip one. Can’t see it until I am several rows along and then…..
Not the greatest photo, but you can see that in the circled areas there is a different texture from the others. And I have these all over the cowl. Yikes! For the first few inched when I noticed this mistake I debated– should I go back or keep on knitting. I went back the two or three rounds necessary to correct it, only to make another one soon after. Discouraging. Then I decided to keep going. There are lots of stitches and time is running out. ( Especially since motherly fairness compels me to try to make something for my son.) No one will be as critical as I am. You won’t see it once she is wearing it around her neck. And she isn’t a knitter, alas, so she won’t notice. In fact, from the front, it is much harder to see.
See? Or rather, you don’t see, do you?
The ones on the left are wrong; on the right they’re fine. The mistakes blend in much more. Right? Or am I just kidding myself? Oh, I almost forgot the most shameful mistake of all. Despite having knit the border back and forth to prevent this, I twisted the stitches when I joined. I know. If this weren’t for a gift and if the holiday wasn’t just around the corner this puppy would be in the frog pond so fast it’s head would swim. (pardon the mixed zoological metaphors)
So there you have the process. That was my Personal Mistake Threshold Analyzer in action. Let me lay it out in scientific terms. There are three components of the PMTA–personality, proficiency, and conditions on the ground. Each component is rated separately on a scale of one to five and then added together. Only if the combined scores reach your PMT do you rip out. Now, I am not a compulsive person in most things. I can let go and relax in a messy house, I kind of like squeeking into the airport gate just as they start boarding, and my preferred method of planning is not to. So I would score low on the personality quotient, lets call it a one. But, I am a pretty good knitter. I am not used to making many mistakes. And when I do, I fix them. So letting these mistakes go is hard and my score on this component is high, maybe even 5. Finally, what are the conditions on the ground? I have knit eight of the required twelve inches of this cowl. I have just under three weeks to Christmas. I have another gift to decide on, purchase material for –you know I won’t be lucky enough to score two stash busters–a blog to feed and Harper and Figg knitting to do. And, the chances of my being significantly better with the new start are debatable. So, the conditions on the ground score is pretty low as well, I’d say a minus two. (I know, I said the scale was 1 to 5. Desperate times call for desperate measures.) That means that the PMT for this project is a four out of fifteen. That is definitely below my PMT so I will knit on.
Now, wasn’t that helpful?