To frog or not to frog?

‘Do you think that bit where I went wrong back there, shows? Would you undo it? ‘

This whether-or-not-to-frog question is as much a question about the knitter as it is about the knitting. For the answer involves reading the person and their feelings about their knitting.

Mistakenly encourage an eager new knitter to rip it back, and she has to slide down the snake, repeat that whole wodge of ribbing, fairisle, or cable twisting all of which runs the risk of robbing her of her already-fragile will to finish. What if she discovers that she just doesn’t have the energy or inclination to try and climb back up again?

Or what if encouraging the perfectionist knitter to ignore that rogue extra stitch, wrongly twisted cable, or screwey motif, places the whole project momentum in jeopardy, as he sees nothing but the flaw each time he looks at his knitting, and can’t bear to work on it anymore?

Perhaps what’s needed here is a computer driven algorithm which can calculate it out. It could score our goal-orientedness, process-drivenness, perfectionism threshold and general home-spun tolerance; process all of that and give us a ripping-back value – which would then be able to tell us, given the mistake, and the amount of rows since making it, whether or not it’s worth ripping back and doing again.

Of course there is no such app. And if there was I doubt it would be any good anyway. I’m sticking with my knitter-reading-specs (those are the ones for reading knitters rather than knitting), and will continue to do my best to work out what course of action is going to get the knitter from here to the end. For there is no greater prize than your finished hat, scarf, sweater..

If ripping back powers the knitter to whizz along splendidly, invigorated by the corrective action, then ripping back it is. If a no-one-will-notice homily is enough to look the other way and carry on regardless, then we’ll leave the stitches where they are and go forth.

This is not a by-any-means-necessary answer because I do want it to be finished by hand and by the knitter who started it but it is a whatever-gets-you-to-the-cast-off answer. U turn if you need to, this knitter is for finishing!

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