Every knitter should have a friend like Chrisâ€”the friend who knows exactly how to balance gentle encouragement with a commitment to pointing out your knitterly failings and forcing you to confront them. Chris is my go-to friend when I find myself staring at a project and wondering “okâ€”can I live with this or is it truly hideous?”
We generally agree about my small mistakes. I’ll point out a spot where I’ve knit a stitch instead of purling, and she’ll say “Nobody’s going to notice that,” which is just what I was thinking myself.
But she’s particularly helpful in speaking the truth when my inner wishful-thinking voices are going on and on about how “this’ll look better after another fifty rows/I turn the heel/I do the irrevocable fancy-pants bind-off.” Part of me knows that those voices lie. Big time. And it doesn’t help that I’m a confirmed non-swatcher. I’ll write up a pattern for a sock or a shawl and just sit down and start knitting with my wishful-thinking voices nattering on about “well, if it doesn’t come out the way you hope, it will come out like something,” and “there’s no such thing as a completely useless knit.” I look at my knitting and listen to those voices and…I want to believe.
It’s in those moments that I go to Chris because I know she will tell me the truth I’m trying not to hear. Sometimes it’s “that’s the wrong yarn for that stitch.” Other times it’s “changing needle sizes five times on a single sock really isn’t practical.”
Yesterday it was “the front of that sock is gorgeous… but the back doesn’t work at all.”
I knew that truth already, but I would have turned the heel and knit the foot and gotten clear down to the toe decreases before I would have admitted it to myself. This evening as I unravel five inches of sock leg and rechart the entire pattern, I will be thinking to myself, “Thank goodness for friends like Chris!”