Try Everything

I have big news to share next week, friends! Be sure to come back after we celebrate our Independence to see what it is!

If you have young children in your life, chances are that you've seen Zootopia. The bright, quick-paced, hilarious film won many awards and it's apropos of what's happening in the world today. One of our favorite scenes is when a gazelle (with the voice of Shakira) sings the song "Try Everything." One of the lines goes, "I won't give up, no I won't give in until I reach the end, and I'll start again." This is something I try to drill into my son's brain each day - try everything. It doesn't matter if you fail, it doesn't matter if you're the best in the class - just TRY. This song goes off on my phone each school morning as the 10-minute alarm. When we hear it my son knows it's time to make his bed, get his teeth brushed, find his shoes, and be ready to walk to school. I hope that somewhere deep inside his curious little mind this ear worm song will wiggle itself around during the day, reminding him to give something a try even if it's scary and new.


People are surprised when I would tell them that I don't knit brioche. I've been knitting for over 30 years with books, TV shows, magazines, and having pretty much anything to do with knitting under my belt. Fair Isle - a technique that strikes fear into the hearts of many - is second nature to me. Lace on both sides? Bring it. Cables with multiple cable needles going in different directions as tangled up as Medusa's hair? Sure thing. Mosaic knitting? Charts? Designing? Easy peasy. But brioche was like someone I really wanted to be friends with but they had no interest in being friends with me. I decided this would be the summer that brioche and I become friends. We would enter into some sort of weird courtship and dagnabbit, we would be hanging out and enjoying each other's company by summer's end.

I try to practice what I preach to my kids, and with this in mind, I picked up needles and yarn with this goal of conquering brioche. I've tried this technique over the years without much success. Like many techniques in knitting, it's easier if someone shows you rather than trying to learn off a computer screen. The person who teaches brioche at my LYS usually teaches on the same evenings I do, making taking one of his brioche classes an impossibility. The stars aligned a few weeks ago and I enrolled in his intro class, off and running with brioche. I made my scarf with Freia scraps (because a riot of color is just how I roll), I learned how to fix dropped brioche stitches and ladder down. I learned to let the rhythm and my hands take over, making my brain take a back seat. I watched my Ravelry queue fill up with brioche projects and quickly recognized that reading a brioche pattern made sense now. I'm working on increasing and decreasing and trying to get a handle on brioche charts.


The most important lesson during my quest? I was reminded what it felt like to be sitting on the other side of the table. I'm so used to leading a class full of students and being in complete control. I can look at knitting and instantly see what needs fixing and be able to take care of it. I was nervous when I sat down with my brioche pattern and swatching yarn, unsure of what "brk" and "brp" meant. I felt like all thumbs and my confidence was hovering right around zero. Yes, it's just needles and yarn and frogging back isn't a big deal, unless of course it's a few hard-earned rows on your needles that just a few moments ago you were incredibly proud of.

Next time you're thinking of trying something new and thoughts of "I'm too old for this," or "I know how to knit everything else, why bother learning this," or "it's too scary" flood your mind, remember what it felt like the first time you picked up sticks and string and turned it into something beautiful. The result is incredibly worthwhile. What technique have you been wanting to try but been feeling trepidatious about? Summer is the perfect time to give it a whirl.

Brioche and I? We've been hanging out almost every night getting to know each other better. We're testing boundaries and needle sizes, but I have a feeling this will be a lifelong friendship from here on out. Like the gazelle says, I'll won't give up and I won't give in.