Perfection is the Enemy of Everything
All week, Erika and I have been discussing mistakes. Creative mistakes, judgment mistakes, accidental errors: they get in the way of perfection, that place we all seek so assiduously. It's hard to achieve perfection, because we are not perfect. We say things we regret, we act when we should refrain, we don't act when we should. Hindsight demonstrates our imperfections daily on a continuous reel.
Today I was wearing my third Wiksten Tank. I love this pattern. Have I mentioned how much I love this pattern? Why, yes, yes I have. The first tank was a tale of why in this day and age you should either go online and read other people's reviews of the pattern or make a mockup of muslin - things I know I should do and don't. After I had cut up my beautiful Nani Iro yardage and sewn the entire tank together, including the bias trim around the neck and armholes, I pulled on the tank to discover a gaping neckline with straps falling off my shoulders. Despairing, I pulled it off and went online. Yup, people wrote, the pattern is too big.
The wonderful thing about mistakes is the opportunity to learn. I've never been a fan of messing with the gospel of The Pattern, whether knitting or sewing, but here I was with a dilemma. I could thrust the tank into the back of the project shelf and pretend it never happened, or I could fix it so that I could wear it that night to a party. I do love a new outfit for a party.
After casting about online trying to find a solution, I went with the suggestion made here and picked apart the bias trim around the back of the neck, figured out how much gape I wanted to eliminate with a long gradual dart going down the entire length of the tank, and set to work fixing it. My finished object was far from perfect, but it fit well, looked good to the uninitiated, and gave me the confidence to change the pattern so that Tanks 2 & 3 would not be a problem.
I wore it to the party.
The lesson here is that doing nothing shouldn't be our default option. We should try things that intimidate us, we should experiment with new techniques, and we should be willing to be imperfect. The person that does something perfectly the very first time it's tried is an anomaly. Most of us will have to settle with imperfections initially. That's not to say that working to improve your craft is not a worthy effort, just that perfection shouldn't get in the way of trying.
Now, let me tell you about the mistakes in my knitting....