OCD and knitting baby socks

I’ll admit it. I don’t have OCD but there are times I act like I do. When I was a kid — and at various times later as an adult — I would have to perform some task of my own imagining. Mostly the activities required counting. I’d have to count the cards as I laid them down for Solitaire. I’d have to count the church spires along a certain highway. I had to count the number of sidewalk tiles from point A to point B.

I managed to convince myself something dire would occur if I didn’t count. Later, I figured if I could convince myself something would happen, then I could bloody well convince myself it wouldn’t. I’ve mostly been able to moderate the behavior.

Knitting is a difficult activity because I have to count. Stitches, rows, sets of pattern all have to be counted. For the most part, I let this satisfy my need to count.

I have not yet found a suitable way to moderate my need for perfection. I see a mistake 30 rows back in an Aran sweater and I must correct it. I don’t care if no one will see the mistake. I will know it’s there.

I now give classes in pulling back stitches instead of ripping back rows. That skill got me a free night at a B&B in Killarney, thereby turning that quest for perfection into a marketable skill!

Luckily, for the most part, this has not translated into my sock knitting. I don’t feel the need to waste yarn in order to get the pattern to come out exactly in a patterned yarn. They don’t have to be close. I have no problem with knitting a pair of socks that are reverse colors.

But now I’m knitting baby socks for some pregnant friends. These things are small. I mean 32 stitches as opposed to the 56 or 60 I normally cast on. I’m altering the adult sock pattern as I go. I’ve done a number of these before and the math works out just fine. I do the Estonian cast-on; then I knit one round, purl one round.

On this current pair, I was down to the heel flap on the second sock. While showing the first sock to a co-worker and holding the second up to the finished first, she was commenting how exactly the two matched! That’s when I saw it. Eight stitches were knit in purl instead of ribbing. Four stitches were wrong. It was in the “purl one row” before the start of the ribbing.

No biggie. No one is going to notice four stitches. Right?

So I ripped it out and started again.

Cue the eye roll.

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