Lessons From the Knitting Chair ~ Sometimes You Just Need to Tink

About eight months into my journey of finally-really-knitting I started thinking about Christmas. Oh the socks I would knit, oh the hats I would create!

So I picked a lace scarf pattern for my sister-in-law and got to work.

Yes, you read that right. A lace pattern. Because I did not have enough time to finish the socks and hats I had already planned. Why not add more?

We've already discussed how lace is not for beginners. Here's the thing: lace is not difficult, per se. It's just that it require focus. As in every stitch focus. You have to know not only what row you are on but which stitch. Or. Else. 

Ever tried to focus with a toddler around?

But I was determined to knit. After a rotten start on the scarf (I seem to recall I had to start from scratch twice) I decided that I had one rule and one rule only.

Don't give up. 

I can assure you that this did not mean don't mess up. Because I did.  A lot. But I didn't give up. And the way I managed to finish that scarf despite all my errors was by tinking.

What is tinking? How do you k-n-i-t backwards? You t-i-n-k!

When I discovered a mistake, I would painstakingly undo each stitch one by one, not by pulling it out, but by knitting (or purling or yarn-overing) backwards. Whenever the pattern looked normal again I would resume knitting normally.

I still tink when it comes to lace, but now I see my mistakes much faster. 

Lace washcloth needing a good tinking

Isn't tinking kind of like life with kids?

We go along and have our little routines, then bump! something is just not working. The pattern is not looking right, but you're not really sure what went wrong.

Usually this is because somebody has grown and changed and needs something different. All of a sudden you're looking at a big hole in your family's life pattern where one does not belong. So you tink. You back out of that misstep and find the thing that works for right now.

All better!

As a homeschooling mom I feel like I get a double dose of this. Not only am I undoing and redoing parenting stuff (oh look, child #2 is old enough to cook... time to change the chore chart!), I am also constantly looking for dropped stitches in each child's educational plan (good grief, this child needs more handwriting practice!)

It's not exactly like tinking, I know, because life's daily pattern is meant to change as time passes. But if the overall goal is a pattern of peace and life-giving in a family, it's not all that different.

All done!

 The bottom line is don't give up.

The scarf that taught me not to give up

Something beautiful is bound to come of it all.


  1. You know I love this post, knitting buddy! I also love the tink/life connection. It is encouraging to think about our need to reorder our lives less as error than as a chance for a "redo". His mercies are new EVERY morning!

    1. Amen! Less as error than as a chance for a "redo". Love it Sandy!

  2. Lovely! Lovely scarf & washcloth, and and even lovelier lesson from it all.

    1. Thank you Jamie, I do love knitting! And thanks for coming by to visit.

  3. Loved this! I ran across your blog from donotdepart. Knitting is my hobby and I was tickled to click and find you were talking about tinking lace (which I find especially challenging) and tinking our plans with our children. That is so true. I always feel that once I finally get my kids figured out and everything is going smoothly - it's time for a change :).


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