The learning curve for machine knitting is quite steep, because a lot of things need to be just right in order for the knitting to happen smoothly. When just starting out, we naturally are completely unaware of all of these small things working interdependently to seemingly effortlessly knit a row of stitches with the simple pass of the carriage.
Naturally, this unawareness results in mistakes. Dropped stitches, knitting coming off the machine, all kinds of things can and will go wrong.
The wonderful thing about knitting however, is how forgiving it can be. If you choose sturdy workhorse yarns to learn on, you will generally always have the option to just unravel and start over. As someone who has done a fair amount of sewing, with its mantra of measure twice cut once, this was a game changer to me. I realized that mistakes are inevitable and they help me to learn. The only thing lost is a bit of time, and if you enjoy the journey then that is all that matters. Changing my mindset about making mistakes, not allowing them to frustrate me, is what helped me get through that sharp learning curve.
In the beginning, I had very few skills on how to handle mistakes. These skills include things like being able to spot mistakes (the sooner the better), and knowing how to correct them. Sometimes spotting a mistake can be as early as realizing the machine settings are incorrect even before a carriage pass. Or sometimes it can mean spotting a dropped stitch a few rows down. Either way, with my limited skills, most of the time I would opt to completely frog the piece I was working on and start over. Learning a new skill takes dedicated practice, and there is no better practice than knitting six sleeves for your very first cardigan.
Over time, I have learned how to spot those mistakes sooner, and learned how to fix the mistakes rather than having to starting over. Regardless however, mistakes will continue to happen for various reasons, and so it’s important to have a mindset of accepting that mistakes will happen, simply observing, and just starting over.