Creative Knitting Newsletter
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Dixie Stringer Wants to Know
"How does one fix incorrect or missed stitches without having to rip out the entire row and start over? I am a relatively new knitter and have to really concentrate on the stitches while knitting. I don't mind this as I enjoy this art enormously; however, when I make a stitch wrong, (i.e., knit instead of purl or any of the other myriad of mistakes I make, creating a misshapen or messed-up pattern) I don't know how to fix that stitch (or those stitches) without restarting. I dislike having to restart, and it is discouraging to have to rip out several rows to correct a mistake.
"Can you give me some pointers or the name of a how-to book that would show new knitters how to correct mistakes? Thanks for your help." -- Dixie Stringer
Dixie, I recommend that you make a generous-sized swatch and play with it to learn that many mistakes can be corrected easily. Make a light-color swatch about 6 inches wide in stockinette stitch with a nice plain yarn. Purposely make some mistakes; for example, knit where there should be purls and purl where there should be knits. You might even slip in a split stitch, where the yarn does not get all its strands into the stitch. Work this for three or four inches and leave it on your needles.
Now take a look at the swatch from the knit side and evaluate your first error. Knit to the stitch immediately above the error and allow the stitch to drop from the needle and run down to the problem stitch. Take a crochet hook in hand, and insert it from the front of the stitch below the stitch made in error. Above it you'll see little ladders of yarn, which were released when the stitches were dropped.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to hook up these ladders and return them to a knitted state. Simply place the hook under the first ladder, and pull it up and through the stitch on the hook, twisting it slightly to bring it through the loop, but making sure you do not twist the stitches. Continue to do this until you reach the top of the row. Place the last loop on the left needle and knit it; work to the next error and repeat as needed. If you have an adventurous spirit and a good light, before long you can repair miss-crossed cables, splits and all manner of other knitting errors, which might cause some to visit the frog pond (rip it, rip it, rip it).
Note that this method will not work if you have gone far beyond a dropped stitch, as there may not be enough yarn to make new ladders where none existed before. You might also read about this technique in Lily Chin's Knitting Tips & Tricks or any of Sally Melville's wonderful reference books. -- Editor
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