Getting there

This is the story of how a knitter fixed a really annoying mistake and didn’t die.

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Here we see intrepid, mild-mannered local (or occasionally local) knitter Sasha, at the local yarn shop, working away on a colour-work sock project. (This is incidentally my Neptune High sock pattern, but that’s actually less material to the rest of the story, so I’ll keep the self-promotion to a minimum. Except that, um, I like this pattern and think argyle is awesome. Moving on…)

So anyway, we were all at the yarn shop happily chatting away about yarn and television and movies, as one does, and at one point Sasha looks down at her work and realized she had made an unfortunate error, and not only had she made the error but it was at least a full inch back in the work. And this is on fingering weight yarn (Tanis Fiber Arts sock, and Louet Gems fingering weight, in case you’re curious), so that means an inch is 8-10 rounds. In colour-work.

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It’s the sort of thing that is only obvious in colour-work, in the sort of situation when you might, say, be working 1×1 alternating stripes in knit stitches across the sole of a sock. Have a closer look:

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At some point she just goofed and switched the colours, just on those ten stitches or so. And she, in fact, did not panic. Instead she calmly and quickly decided this was not the sort of thing that was worth pulling out the entire last inch worth of work, and did what I would likely have done in her situation too, which was to isolate one stitch at a time, drop it down to the correct stitch, then pick up each stitch in the correct colour with a crochet hook.

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If you’re thinking “gee, that sounds like the exact same way you would pick up a dropped stitch on a regular non-colour-work piece of knitting,” then, well, you would be correct. Because stranded colourwork always involves carrying both working colours along at once, there are floats in both colours behind the work all the time. So in this case, all a person needs to do is drop down just past the offending stitch (so that it is all gone now), then re-pick-up the stitches in the correct colour. Then move on to the next offending stitch and do the same thing. It all took less than 15 minutes, and when the fix was all done you would never have known.

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And everyone lived to tell the tale.

The end.

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24 Comments

Filed under fearless knitting, tutorial

24 responses to “Getting there

  1. Haha! I love this! I’m a new knitter and that all went a little over my head, but already I know the feeling of panic that comes over a you in that awful moment when you realize your mistake was rows ago.

    Ps…I love thos socks! Someday, when I’m a much better knitter than I am now, I think I’ll knit a pair. :)

  2. Susan

    Yea! I fix mistakes that way too, whenever possible.

  3. Lovely common-sense approach. And not something that everyone would think of. Good stuff :)

  4. Love the socks. Working on Fiddlehead Mitts now and so happy to have figured out this technique years ago. This will be so helpful for those starting out or who have abandoned colourwork for these reasons. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Go Sasha!

    (Off to tell the weenies in the Indi D group)

  6. It’s got to be done! Glad you were able to fix it with no tears. Terrific socks!!

  7. christine m. east of toronto

    THAT is impressive! i have been knitting a long time and i’m still not so good at fixing mistakes. and certainly not calmly!

  8. Hey, I saw those socks the other night! They are fantastic, Sasha!

  9. lovey socks , but i really love the way you showed the fix

  10. That story was a nail biter! I’m so glad it had a happy ending.

  11. thank you for the reassurance that going back to fix the mistake does not have to be a huge deal and if you compare the time it takes to fix to the time to make the whole project, it really is very small.

  12. Hooray for Sasha! Well-done. My favorite fix, too. I just did it on a bit of quilted lattice stitch last weekend.

  13. Katinka

    Hey, congrats on your mention in the Spring/Summer Vogue Knitting! :)

  14. Barbara M.

    My daughter teaches a beginning knitting class, and about the 4th session she brings in her current project, announces she has made an error, drops the stitch back 15 rows and has each student fix one or two rows. They are aghast, but learn how to correct an error.

  15. I held my breath while I read this story….it helps if you hold your breath that way you won’t drop a needle/spill coffee/break the yarn or any number of other calamities…and everyone around you knows to stop talking & help by holding their breath too…

    Glad the fix was made, it looks great

  16. Thank you for sharing this. I am knitting some colorwork mittens right now and I am always terrified of making a mistake and having to go all the way back. Now that I realize I can fix mistakes this way (I should have realized that before, huh?) I feel way less nervous.

  17. Hi, just wanted to say I got my Vogue Knitting in the mail today and I enjoyed the shout-out they gave you in a section about Canadian Knitters. Congrats!

  18. Thanks for the info!! I LOVE to knit but mistakes drive me insane!! I want to learn how to fix ALL different types of mistakes because there’s nothing worse than getting 10 rows up and realize you messed something up!! So I’m actually going to take a “Fix Your Mistakes” class at a local yarn store.

  19. what a fun read and good to know we all make mistakes – glad to know there is a way to resolve them more often than not ;-) thanks for posting. brought a smile to my dial.

  20. That is awesome. And your pattern blows my mind. It is totally amazing to me that something like that can come out of a person’s brain….truly impressive.

  21. McAmy

    I am going to remember this. I am.

  22. I’m posting again. I started Rosamund’s Cardigan with cables on each side of the opening, both CF and CB. The repeat is 8 rows over 8 stitches. I just realized I had crossed the cable the wrong way… 8 rows back. To leave it or fix it? I knew no one would notice but me (I think it was even on the underneath side of the cardigan…). I had two choices, to rip back the 8 rows (it’s top down and after the sleeves have been put on holders, but still over 200 stitches/row) or to isolate the 8 stitches, undo the cable, recross in the right direction and pick the stitches back up. Remembering this post (and thinking that if it didn’t work I could always just rip it back…) I chose to isolate the stitches, undo all of them down to the cable, recross and pick them back up to the current row.

    It was harrowing! But worth it. It’s done and it looks good and no one will know but me. Your post here reminded me that I could do it! No photos to show for it… but a good story. Thanks again for this post!

  23. CoCo

    LOVE that pattern! and the colors she chose look so good together too.