Fixing Mistakes

If you look closely at my progress on the High Sierra Shawl in my last post, you’ll see that the edge looks different from other samples.

I read the instructions and intended to follow them, but my fingers did what they wanted. My eyes warned me it wasn’t correct, but I was too excited by the process and couldn’t wait to knit the next section.

Before this, I’d already knit the upper triangle section twice. The first two times I hadn’t paid attention to the stitch count or which was the right/wrong side of the work (perhaps watching Vera while working on it in the evenings wasn’t my best idea).

In any case, I was happy to finally have the number of stitches the pattern called for, so I left the bind-off edge incorrect and continued.

However, this isn’t a project no one will ever see. It is a sample for LGF Suris and definitely needs to look correct.

I didn’t want to fall further behind on a project that’s being worked to deadline. What did I do?

Fixing my mistake

I carefully cut a stitch to create new ends. Then I slowly unpicked and put the stitches on a needle.

Unpicking i-cord bind-off of the Upper Triangle for the High Sierra Shawl.

It took about an hour and a half to unpick the 83 stitches and figure out how to wrangle the extras that are cast on during set-up.

Why? Depending on how I pulled the stitches it would make the next one either easy or challenging to pick up. I was also mindful of where the cats were, they love alpaca and often hover nearby when I’m working.

After I finished and all the stitches were on a new needle, I laid the entire piece out to admire. Without the wrong edge it looked better even in this state!

All stitches back on a needle before reknitting the reverse i-cord bind-off for the High Sierra Shawl.

Then I carefully reknit the edging, with both my brain and fingers following the well-written and clear instructions.

reknitting the reverse i-cord bind-off for the High Sierra Shawl.

It looks much better now! I have extra ends to weave in, but that’s a small price for not correcting my mistake when I first noticed it.

Making mistakes

I’ve heard several comments over the years, the loudest one is that because this is my work, I don’t make mistakes. I do. I make many mistakes. Often. Repeatedly.

What makes what I do different is that I’ve learned not to panic (most of the time) and how to correct issues when they happen.

It didn’t happen overnight. Over many years and countless projects, I learned to read my knitting and fix the mistakes. Learning when I could drop stitches to fix a mistake, when it was better to rip out a section, or to cut a stitch took time.

Learning to fix mistakes

If you want to intentionally practice fixing mistakes, perhaps you can guess what I’ll suggest. It’s my favorite thing to do — create swatches and incorporate the issue you want to learn to fix. Perhaps it’s a tight cast-on row a better buttonhole, or even weaving in ends. Swatch!

Do you want to make something useful and a library of swatches doesn’t excite you? Sew them into a blanket or create washcloths!

I hope this post shows you that it’s ok to make mistakes!

Additional Resources

Here are a few curated links about reading knitting and fixing mistakes. I prefer still images and text over videos.


See also, reference books – knit and crochet

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