Thursday, August 14, 2014

Lopsided Bunny

I finished my daughter’s birthday present last night. She loves bunnies. Her two favorite stuffed animals are bunnies and she regularly pretends to be a bunny in a warren. Bunnies feature prominently in the various made up stories our family tells at bedtime. I wanted to give her a hand knit toy for her birthday, and so a bunny seemed like the natural choice. I found a pattern from my favorite toy designer and knitting hero Susan Anderson and got to work.

It’s definitely not perfect. I’ve seen Susan Anderson’s model bunny toy in person, when I’ve taken classes from her, and I’m not even close. To my knitter’s eye, the increases and decreases I used in shaping the toy are more visible than I would like. I didn’t have quite enough of the white yarn and so I had to modify the legs from the original pattern quite a bit, resulting in short stubby legs instead of the more elegant dangling legs in the design. The placement of the arms, legs and ears is a little more lopsided than I was hoping for and the head is quite wobbly. I embroidered the face about three different times before I finally got something I thought was okay, and I still feel like it’s missing something.

I could fix all of that. A friend once told me she took a knitting class and she didn’t like it, because they wouldn’t teach her how to fix mistakes. I thought that was strange because fixing mistakes in knitting is really easy. You just unravel all your work down to the point of the mistake and start over from there. Of course, it’s also pretty discouraging to undo all your hard work, especially if you didn’t notice the mistake until you had progressed quite a bit further in your knitting. My mother-in-law views it as bonus knitting; you knitted it twice and therefore obtained more knitting pleasure from the yarn. I like her attitude but I’m not planning to unravel and redo my daughter’s present.

First of all, I just don’t have time to undo and completely re-knit and re-sew all the components before her birthday. I’d rather have an imperfect toy to give her than no toy at all. Second of all, I would have to buy more yarn and since I bought this particular skein on a trip to Seattle last year I am not sure I could match it easily. Thirdly, I am trying really hard not to be a perfectionist. There are some knitting mistakes that I will rip back for because they make a big difference in the final project, but other mistakes are acceptable. The mistakes in this toy fall into the acceptable category. My daughter’s gift looks like a bunny, so she will love it. It’s sturdy enough to stand up to preschool handling and the little flaws give it character and personality. Fourth and finally, I am ready to move on to another project. It’s time to get started on holiday gifts and new patterns are calling me.

I love knitting. I love the feel and look of yarn; the color and the softness and the sensual, tactile delight of beautiful material. I love the process of making something new, of seeing it unfold stitch by stitch. I love feeling clever and creative and accomplished. Beyond my love of it though, I think knitting is good for me. It reminds me to lighten up, to accept imperfection, and to play.