I have finished the Hitofude, and it is beautiful.
I have not modeled it for a photo yet, but I'll get to that a little later. First, let me tell you about the mistakes. So. Many. Mistakes. Starting with the cast on, which I casted on three times...which is a LOT for any project, but especially for a project where you have to cast on almost 300 stitches!
For my first cast on, I didn't do enough stitches. For my second cast on, I did enough stitches, but I messed up row 1, where I had to place almost 30 stitch markers to help me keep track of the lace. But, as they say, the third time's a charm! And it was.
After that, I found that some of my stitch markers were catching my yarn, or "jumping over" the stitches at the edges of the repeats. There was some un-knitting, stitch by stitch (tinking) and there was a bit of mental cursing, until I finally just replaced the offending markers (of the jump-ring variety) with better markers and put in a lifeline.* I have never actually heard of anyone ripping back to a lifeline, but the only time I seem to screw up my lace knitting is when I don't have one. Couple this with the fact that skinny, cotton, crochet thread (which is perfect for lifelines and ridiculously cheap) is something I always have on hand, a lifeline is pretty affordable knitting insurance! The lifeline is that white string...see it?
It is in this pic, too. (Every few repeats, I moved it right up the knitting. If I ever had to use it, I reasoned, I wanted to rip back as few rows as possible...)
After a couple months of knitting, a few tears and much admiration of the project, I realized my biggest mistake yet. On the back of the thing, after the waist, I should have knitted Charts A, B, C, D and E. Now, I had read that the Hitofude was running short on some ladies, especially in the larger sizes, so I had followed the lead of some other knitters and incorporated a few extra pattern repeats among those charts...two here, one there, etc. What I didn't realize I had done, until I was working the final ribbing, was that I had completely skipped chart A along the way, and only knitted charts B-E. Egad! Would it be too short? Would the omission of chart A be noticeable? Did I really want to rip back and start that section over? Could I just add more repeats at the bottom?
What to do, what to do, what to do...
It may have been laziness, or it may have just been eagerness to be finished (I'll never tell!) but I just kept knitting that final ribbing, bound off as instructed and hoped for the best. After the requisite soak and block, which I finished on Thursday, I was delighted to find that it was all ok.
I made mistake after mistake, all along the way, but the sweater was just fine! The fabric laid beautifully after the block, with great drape and a lovely showing of the yarn colors.
It was long enough in the back, and the arms fit well, and I kinda loved it immediately. I might actually call this one stunning after the final finishing touches of weaving in those last two ends!
I wish I had a photo of the sweater on me to show you, but I do not. You see, the last mistake I made on this sweater had nothing to do with knitting. I made a scheduling mistake and did not make it to knit night this week, which is where that photo op had the best chance. But, there will be other knit nights, and there will be sweater wearings. I promise that sweater will show up on me, and in a picture somewhere on the internet, eventually. Until then, may I tell you what else this sweater has taught me? It actually ends up as quite the life lesson this week.
You see, as many mistakes as I have made while knitting this sweater, it still turned out quite lovely. My life is like that, too. I make mistake after mistake...in relationships, with my schedule and budget, in my car...but I am turning out pretty well anyway. I am not perfect, although I try not to make mistakes. I try really hard most of the time. But none of us is perfect, and perfection is not to be obtained in this lifetime. However, with each mistake I have made, I have also learned something. Some of the lessons are small (wear your seat belt...use your signals) and some are big (really, check all your blind spots...twice...before you merge!), but each one is valuable, and has made me a better driver...err, person.
There are some mistakes I can go back and fix, and some that cannot be fixed. There were many mistakes in that sweater that I could have fixed, but I chose not to, and that is true of life as well. But, if I don't fix the mistakes I can, as soon as I can, they just compound to make me more miserable. I do not enjoy being miserable, so fixing those mistakes, when I can, is usually a good idea. But, even if I cannot or choose not to fix a mistake, I always have a lifeline! The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, and His mercies never come to an end. He continues to craft me into His masterpiece, and (for the most part) I think I am coming along nicely. There is work for me to do, and I am on God's payroll as he provides for my every need according to his riches in Christ. (Quoted and/or paraphrased from Lamentations 3:22-23, Ephesians 2:10, and Philippians 4:19.) He's simply not finished with me yet.
You know what else? He's not finished with you yet, either. If you've been in this game of life for more than a few minutes, you may have heard something about that somewhere. It is never too late to ask for His forgiveness, His guidance and His Saving Grace. It is never too late to incorporate even your mistakes (which God can forgive, whether you think you can fix them or not) into the person you were created to be.
Fix your knitting or not, your choice. Either way, thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health.
*In case you don't knit, a lifeline is a plain yarn or thread strung through a finished row of stitches while the work is in progress. If you make a really horrendous mistake that cannot be fixed, you can simply take the needles out and rip back your rows of knitting until you get to the lifeline, replace your needles into the stitches of that row, and you get a "do over" of that section. It is a pretty good idea to use lifelines in large projects, unless you enjoy starting over from the beginning!