A few days ago, I was doing the toe decreases on my first Alternating Rib sock, and I realized it was time to stop and face facts. Every time I'd tried on the sock-in-progress, I could see what was happening, and I could ignore it no longer: I was knitting what would become, after about five minutes of wearing, a slouch sock. And since I haven't actively sought out a pair of slouch socks since about 1985, I knew what I had to do.
I ripped the sock back to about 5 inches of leg and started doing paired decreases (every 5 or 6 rounds) at what would be the back of the sock, so that by the time I got to where I wanted to start the heel flap I had 8 fewer stitches than before. And it was So Worth It. The sock fits better, and the stitch pattern looks better. I think I could have maybe tried harder to make the decreases look better in the back, but I'm happy enough.
I'm not advocating perfection; I'm just saying that sometimes you know you have to rip. And you should. It's only knitting. It's like hair -- it grows back.
More from the "We like free" Department: In case you don't know, the Canadian Living site is a good source of free patterns. At the moment, you can find the Mason-Dixon hand towel pattern (Ravelry link) and a pattern for crocheting a tote bag from old plastic grocery bags. Plus the site archives its patterns -- both patterns that were published in the magazine and those excerpted from books (e.g., the Bountiful Bohus cardigan pattern [Rav link] from More Big Girl Knits).
OK, we're off dark and early tomorrow morning on our holiday to Cuba! See you in a week or so!