The Biggest Mistake I Ever Made

About a month after we moved to Tucson I made the biggest knitting mistake I have thus far made (knock on wood…). I was knitting happily on my very first brioche shawl when I realized I made a mistake.

I wasn’t overly surprised to find that I made one. I had long ago learned that knitting brioche required a life line. I probably knit this cursed shawl four or five times over because I frequently ripped back to my lifeline.

I remember praising myself for using a lifeline and even though I was frustrated at having to rip back again I was close to the end and wanted all my hard work to not have a glaring mistake.

I slid everything off my needles and carefully ripped back to the lifeline, detangling the two color and any knots as I went along. It was at this point that I made the worst knitting decision ever…

I wanted to see how the whole shawl looked opened up. It was gorgeous. All the ripping and re-knitting had paid off. Every stitch was in the right place and for my first brioche project I was impressed with myself and feeling pretty smug. Then my world fell apart…(I know first world problems…).

I noticed that on the two edges of my now gigantic shawl had slipped over and off my lifeline. All of the different loops looked like a mess on both sides and already dropping down in a confusion of color, knit stitches, and yarn overs. I did my very best to save what I could and I panickedly tried to save the unprotected stitches with my needles. Unfortunately, I had to sacrifice one end to save the other. I got the rest of the stitches back on my needles and tried to save what I could on the other side. I managed to save almost a dozen but I had between six and ten that were such a jumbled mess I started to feel real despair about the possibility of ever salvaging this otherwise beautiful shawl.

I am not proud to admit it but I cried…a lot. My sweet husband tried to comfort me but I remember only crying more hysterically. Maybe it was the fact that we had just moved across the country. Maybe it was that I had invested so much of myself into this shawl. Maybe it was that this shawl represented my last link to the robust knitting community in Seattle. More than likely it was a combination of everything that made me so miserable and heartbroken.

For hours I frantically searched YouTube looking for ideas on how to fix brioche. I was on message board after message board on Ravelry searching for answers. Nothing I read gave me a lot of hope. Then, I finally had the idea to contact the designer and the woman who taught me how to brioche knit. I sent her a pitiful email and pictures begging for her help. We Skyped but I couldn’t figure out how to salvage it on my own. I went to Tucson knitting shops and everyone was afraid to touch it for fear of making it worse. In the end, the designer graciously offered to help me fix it if I sent it to her in Seattle.

In my extreme gratitude I spent hours looking for the perfect “Arizona” souvenir I could send her as a thanks. I wrapped it up carefully with my shawl and sent it off.

A few weeks later it arrived back fixed. I finished the repeat of the pattern I was working on and bound off before any other disasters could strike. To this day it is one of my favorite knitted pieces. I will forever be grateful to the designer who helped me. She is one of a kind and I would highly recommend checking out her yarn shop, All Wound Up, in Edmonds, WA if you are ever in the Seattle area.

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