The Value of Ripping & Dumping…

When I teach beginning knitters, I’ll have them practice casting on stitches until their knitting needle is full. When they’re ready to move on to the next step, I’ll tell them to pull all those stitches off their needles and start over. The response I get is typically surprise that I would have them undo “all that work.”

I have my students do this partially for practical reasons, but primarily so they can learn a lesson right away about the importance of “process.” The practical reasons are that there are way too many stitches on the needle, the first several stitches are typically too tight and need to be redone, and a review of casting-on is helpful, since we only cast on at the beginning of each project.

But the real reason I have them do this, I explain, is so they can learn to appreciate the value of the process of knitting. If they just want the finished garment – a hat, scarf, or sweater – they can pick up some very nice ones for far less trouble and often for less cost at a variety of stores. Why learn to knit if you don’t enjoy the process? The lessons learned through trying new ideas can often be the most valuable end product, even if the garment didn’t turn out as planned.

This concept applies to brewing as well. There are fantastic craft-brewed beers available that you can just pick up off the shelf and take home. Why brew your own when so many good beers are readily available? The answer is in the value and enjoyment of the process of brewing.

When someone is faced with the realization that they need to rip out their knitting, either partially or fully, I’ll tell them that’s “more knitting pleasure for no additional cost!” That’s why you should work with yarn you really like. If you have finished a batch of beer that you’re not enjoying or that just plain went bad, it’s okay to dump that batch and start over, because “life’s too short to drink bad beer.”

We usually learn far more from our mistakes and failures than we do from our successes. Learn to appreciate the projects that don’t work out, as much as the ones that do.

-Jenne Hiigel

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