Imperfect Yet Perfect: My Albers Shawl

By Kay Gardiner
May 29, 2018

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  • I am glad to see others make that knitting error. I found it in my work on a tunic blocked recently. I blame it on too many garter stitch log cabin pieces completed lately. My autopilot was malfunctioning! Thanks for the errata notice as well.

  • Well, I embrace imperfections! This fact causes many “discussions” between myself and my husband (he is a staunch perfectionist). However I love the unexpected beauty of a mistake. When I was teaching my children anything and they made an error I always said “it’s ok, I’ll show you how to make that “booboo” go beautiful.” They are grown ups now my two sons are free spirits and my daughter is her dad’s girl, the perfectionist. I love them all …..

    • I firmly believe that imperfections give the FO the authenticity of being truly handmade. Maybe that’s a rationalization, but it’s the small errors that prove the labor of love that goes into a handmade gift.
      That being said, no errors is a victory that doesn’t happen often for me. 😉

  • Gauge is so darned tricky – and skeins can also be wonky. I try to weigh everything in grams to the tenths, and still my calculations can fail me. That all said, your wrap is amazingly beautiful, and one of a kind with it’s modifications : )

  • Mom always said, “Don’t worry about a mistake. It’s how people know it is handmade.” I am almost finished with my first Albers and last night I noticed I had picked up a stitch a couple rows back! Fixed it with a k2tog and the recipient will never know. Love this piece.

    • Your mom’s comment is one I’ve consoled myself with on many occasions 😉

    • Me too!

    • I love this! And I agree with your mom. Even store bought items usually have imperfections after I wear them: I’m like a toddler in my ability to spill.

      • Ha! My family used to say, “A day isn’t finished until Michele has spilled her milk!”

  • I believe that is a design element that many people will copy.

  • Dear Kay, the wrap is elegant, but I am wondering about your daughter’s cardigan. Did you make it, and if so, is the pattern on Ravelry?
    All the best,

    • Sorry to report that it’s a store-bought cardigan on my dear daughter.

  • WOW. ! You know your life is simple when the high point of your day is your morning coffee and the MDK website. Once the coffee is finished, my day begins and life doesn’t slow down. Thanks for a great start !

  • Beautiful! A handknit with a touch of wabi-sabi is a wonderful thing.

    • Tiffanie, I don’t know what “wabi-sabi” means but I luv saying it!!! I’m adopting it to mean errors I make in my knitting. It’s a wonderful whimsical way of reducing my anxiety over mistakes & it makes me smile

      • Yay! glad to share a smile today. 😀 Your interpretation of wabi-sabi is perfect.

  • I also quilt in quilting has been a lesson on imperfection for me. In the beginning it really stressed me out. My daughter consistently tells me that’s how she knows it’s handmade. And anytime she gets anything handmade, for me or anywhere else, she looks for those. She says they comfort her. Her comment comforts me every time I find a mistake. I get a lot of comfort lately.

  • Since my knitting has been giving me fits lately, it is comforting to know that others make mistakes, too.

  • I made a mistake on the color wash scarf and didn’t see it until it hit the water! Arggg, just arggg. Fortunately it was for my daughter who didn’t care as she said it would be lost in the bunching up around her neck.

  • So pretty and airy! I like the relatively low contrast between the two colors you chose: geometry and softness working together. The pairing with your blue dress is sensational!

  • Beautiful! I make that knitting error all the time. Recently when I was picking up dropped stitches I even inserted that error!!

  • I love the pics of the shawl. Where can I find the pattern.

    • Right here in our latest Field Guide:

      (Thank you!)

      • Kay – thank you for sharing the info about the errata on the gauge — with the corrected gauge, is the yardage called for correct then? I’m confused on how much yarn to buy for this project…

        • Yes, if you knit to the correct gauge, you should have plenty of yarn.

  • Flotalicious! And what KnitNellKnit said – those calculations are tricky. And I’ve taken to weighing whole skeins when designing only to discover how much variation there can be in a “50” gram skein.

  • After many years of giving presentations and publishing investment research pieces, I am convinced that there is a universal law of nature that no one ever mentions. Namely, in almost everything published, there is a mistake that is invisible up to the point of publication, no matter how careful the piece is proof-read and verified, but glaring once published. I have found it works nearly every time. Thanks for the errata. The shawl is gorgeous.

  • I may have already commented (although I didn’t see my two cents at a quick glance). Just wanted to say/add what interesting comments I’ve been reading on this unexpectedly uplifting topic. Among which is Sue H-M’s embracng of all her family’s views on perfection, or lack of. And Laura’s observation of the pairing of low color contrast (soft characteristic) and geometry (sharp characteristic). This contrast is what gives your scarf its greatest appeal! And your darling daughter is quite the clothing stylist. (Your secret weapon – although she may have gotten it from you!)

  • I like the “Amish” saying -a mistake is a good reminder that only God is perfect. She likes to remind me a lot 🙂

  • This is a little off topic, but I know a garden full of blooming woad. Did you by chance leave a link or something on how to use it as a dye? I do love the Albers Shawl too!

  • Dear Kay and Ann,
    I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your website and snippets. So helpfu, informative, and welcoming. Love getting your emails.
    For some reason, I am always a step behind. LOL. I have just now fallen in love with the Albers Shawl and am in process of knitting it as a gift for a beloved aunt for her 75th birthday. I think the Shakerag top must be next. Am loving the new field guide #7 as well. Aack! Not enough time for all the knitting.