It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect

Hi there. Typical Virgo here👋🤓. One of the quintessential Virgo characteristics I relate to most is that of perfectionism, which can come out in my knitting processes from time to time. Over the sixteen years I’ve been knitting, I’ve become a huge fan of fixing mistakes rather than living with them in my FOs. Even if it means ripping back several inches to fix something small, I choose to fix mistakes because I love the satisfaction of completing something I put 100 percent effort into, and I always learn something in the process.

My most recent FO did not get this treatment.

I started knitting the Unified Field Cowl about a year ago, repeatedly put it down for long periods of time, and then picked it back up recently to finish completely. Interweave’s knitting project editor Joni Coniglio designed the cowl and created a two-video tutorial on how to graft it seamlessly after the knitting is complete. The tutorial is very clear, I had no problem understanding the instructions to mimic the movements on my own cowl. However, upon making the final passes with the yarn and tapestry needle to complete the grafting, and then turning over the cowl, I learned that way back at the beginning of the project I somehow messed up my cast-on. My grafting job is not seamless.

unified field cowl

In case you are wondering, no, I have not blocked this yet.

There is no going back and fixing this, unless I were to start the project over. Fortunately, I can hide the seam by doubling the cowl and placing it on the inside back. I realize that the whole point of this project is to create something that you can graft seamlessly and not worry about a seam at all. Ever hear of the phrase “turn lemons into lemonade”? Yeah, that’s what I am doing. And by accepting this FO just as it is, I am staring perfectionism in the face and saying “Hah! You won’t get me, you evil devil! I LOVE my imperfect cowl!”

unified field cowl

Look how happy I am! Woolly goodness is snuggling my neck so good! Photo by Jenn Rein.

Allow this to be a cautionary tale. Know that you don’t have to put up with this if you just start with a swatch. I typically avoid swatching if my gauge doesn’t have to match the pattern gauge exactly. However, this is an instance in which my gauge didn’t matter, but I should have swatched to practice the cast-on and grafting, so I could have seen my mistake at that point, figured out where I went wrong, and then proceeded in the correct way. I can live with this mistake, but now I know how to avoid it in the future. I’m 100 percent happy with how my cowl turned out, and the Woolfolk yarn is so, so soft.

If you’re new to brioche or grafting, but you really want to try, don’t be deterred! Simply taking the time to knit a swatch in a new-to-you stitch pattern can help you mitigate mistakes down the road on an actual project. And if you want to knit the Unified Field Cowl, download the free pattern and check out the amazing instructions from Joni! She’s the best teacher.

Happy grafting,


Learn the ins-and-outs of grafting from Joni!

One Comment

  1. Claudia L at 4:22 am January 30, 2020

    Hey Hannah,

    I perfectly know the grafting issue when I’ve knitted brioche. My solution is just to mask the problem. I use the “knit stitch”-yarn and immitade the “missing” knit stitches after I’ve tried my best to do it right.

    This way only people who take a close look to the details will see that something is wrong.


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