To Rip or Not to Rip: That is the Question!

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Few needleworkers have escaped the agony that presents itself when things don’t quite look the way you expected. I have yet to try any creative process that eliminates the un-doing part of the process. Like many things in life, we find a way to cope and there are many ways to do so. I can’t prescribe a method that will work for everyone. I can only share what works for me. Here are the steps I take.

Give it time. Before you decide to rip it out, step away for a bit. You may want to sleep on it or go for a walk or just go do something else but just give yourself some kind of break. There is probably some physiological explanation but the old adage is true: sometimes things DO look better in the morning.

Take a photo. In this day and age of digital photography, take advantage of the opportunity to grab an image. I am constantly amazed at how different my work looks in a photo … sometimes better and sometimes not. Taking a photo gives a different perspective and allows me to better analyze the problem and often leads to a solution. If nothing else, it gives you a “before” photo if you decide to rip.

Think “bandaid” when ripping is the best option. If you decide to rip it out, just DO IT. Quit agonizing and get it over with. If it’s going to be a long process, sit down to watch a good movie or binge watch one of your favorite shows. After all, ripping is a fairly mindless activity so give yourself something entertaining to do.

Here is a real life examples using one of my needlepoint projects. After stitching the “O” in continental stitch (one of the forms of tent stitch) I proceeded to fill in the area with Scotch stitch, a quick stitch and one that is easy to compensate. I also knew it would fill the ¬†area well since it is 32 threads by 32 threads and the Scotch stitch covers a 4 x 4 space. I took a photo to share on Facebook and that is when I “saw” the problem. The O receded into the background and that is not where I wanted it to be.

The Scotch stitch is one of my favorites but this shot made it quite clear to me that it would over power the monogram. (BTW, the little black smears are errors made when I was marking the letter.)

So, I found the next episode of NCIS in my binge-watching queue and proceeded to rip while Gibbs and his team solved their next mystery. I knew that when the ripping was done that I would have my own mystery to solve: what stitch to use in place of the Scotch.

The mosaic stitch seems to be the better choice.

So this is where I am in the process. I’m liking the mosaic stitch well enough to continue but I think when I have stitched some of the area within the O that I’ll take another photo and see if I love it enough to finish. As painful as the ripping may be, it is a better choice than finding that you’re not proud of your work when you take that final stitch.

I no longer avoid ripping out. I embrace it as a necessary part of the creative process. I don’t even agonize over the time I spend doing it: it is no longer “wasted” time. Instead, I consider that any amount of time I spend stitching to avoid ripping to be the waste of time. If you have ever traveled with someone who continues driving down the wrong road because they refuse to turn around and go back, you’ll understand what I mean.

Stitch. Enjoy. Love.


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