Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fixing Knitting Mistakes WITHOUT Unravelling The Project!

So I know I said that my next blog post would feature the mittens, all finished up and pretty-like. It turns out that this is not entirely the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

The mittens are indeed finished-- or rather, the knitting is done. I still have yet to sew up the sides of Mitten Number Two, and tie in the ends on both One and Two, so their World Wide Web debut will have to wait.

However, I *do* have something to blog about before that time comes... and it *does* have to do with the mittens!

You see, I figured out a way to fix a mistake in my knitting... WITHOUT RIPPING OUT THE ENTIRE PROJECT.

You see, the mittens knit up flat, and I made the careless mistake of purling a stitch when I was supposed to knit it. This caused a bump in the stockinette stitch section of the project. It's clearly visible in this enlarged photo, highlighted just for you:

Now, Standard Knitters' Protocol (SKP for short) says that you have to rip out ALL THE STITCHES until you reach the mistake, then start your knitting all over again. This is called "frogging" or "tinking", but it's better known as a PAIN IN THE @$$. I was also unfortunately at a point in the project where this was not an option-- I had already sewn up the thumbs, and would have had to literally cut the work in order to get to it. My Google-Fu did not yield anything that could help me deal with this issue. I know that I am not the only knitter to ever have this problem, but boy, did I feel alone in my plight!

And THAT, my dear readers, is when I had an epiphany.

I knew I could use a crochet hook to pull dropped stitches back onto the needle.

So all I had to do was (purposefully!) drop ALL the stitches in one column, back to my original mistake.


So here's how it works. You will need your knitting project, and a crochet hook that is large enough to "latch" onto your yarn. Any hook will do; my cheap-o metallic H/8/5.0 mm was what I used for my double-stranded worsted weight project. I recommend that you do this type of fix BETWEEN two rows, so you don't lose your place in your pattern, and that you do this while looking at the "right" side of the work so you can make sure it looks the way it should.

(DISCLAIMER: This probably won't work if there are lots of yarn-overs in the column, and will be much harder to do if you were decreasing stitches. However, as long as all the stitches are knit or purl you will be absolutely fine! This tutorial shows you how to fix a single error in stockinette stitch fabric; if you are trying to fix reverse-stockinette, turn the project so the "wrong side" faces up, and follow the steps from *that* perspective.)

STEP ONE~ Identify the "problem stitch" in a "seek and destroy" mission. Have no mercy, and execute it as an example to the others.   ...Or, alternatively, just look at your work and figure out exactly where you made the mistake. I have to warn you, though-- while this second method is infinitely more effective in producing finished projects, it is much less fun.

STEP TWO~ Follow the stitch "column" up to determine which stitch you will need to mess around with in your current row. Slip all the stitches that come before this stitch onto the other needle. Carefully drop the problematic stitch from the needle, making sure that the stitches that come after it do not "follow the leader". It should look something like the photo below-- the problem stitch in my project can be seen just above my thumb.

STEP THREE~ Using your finger, or a crochet hook, pull the loop out of the top stitch, essentially un-doing your work. Do this for all the stitches in the column, until you have pulled out the problematic stitch. Your work should look like the photo below; notice the unraveled column of stitches, and the loop positioned at the bottom of the photo.

STEP FOUR~ Set up your knitting so the "right side" is facing up. Put your crochet hook through the loop, away from you.

STEP FIVE~ "Grab" the next loose strand in the crook of the crochet hook.

STEP SIX~ Pull the loose yarn strand (the one you "grabbed" in step five) through the loop underneath it.

As you go along, you will need to "tug" on each stitch using your crochet hook. This way, the stitches won't be too "big" when compared to the surrounding stitches! If you look carefully on my example below, you can just barely notice a difference between the Franken-Knitting and the work I did before~ but keep in mind that things like this are much more noticeable when you are the one who is doing the work on it!:

STEP SEVEN~ Repeat the process, taking great care not to skip any threads or attach multiple threads/rows together, as that will alter the appearance of your project! You will eventually end up with no more threads left to connect-- it will look like the photo below. Notice my final loop, underneath my index finger!

STEP EIGHT~  Slip the loop onto either needle, creating the "new" stitch for your current row. I chose to put it on the left one, as you can see below, but really, you can put it on either side!

STEP NINE~ Slip/slide the displaced stitches back to the original needle. Congratulations, you have successfully completed the operation, and saved not only your knitting, but hours of work! <3

Now that I've posted about this... spread the love to all your knitter friends! We no longer must suffer in silence, catching our tears in the unraveled yarn of our past. Comment, and let me know if this technique helps you or one of your friends!


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