Updated: Oct 30, 2020
It happens to all of us now and then
You look at your knitting and you see that a stitch has come off your needle and has run down some rows. Or.... you see that 10 rows back you spit your yarn and only caught 1 of the 3 plies of the yarn. The best case scenario in this situation is that you see what has happened before you work too far from the mistake. However, even if you are multiple inches away from the mistake, it is not too late to repair your knitting.
If you are working in stockinette stitch, or reverse stockinette stitch the mistakes are pretty easy to fix with a little practice. In fact, fixing these mistakes yourself, teaches you about the construction of the stitch, and knowing how the stitches work is an important step in learning how to "read" your knitting. The act of fixing will help you understand the anatomy of the stitches. More about that later - right now, let's talk about the fixing!
You see something that doesn't look right, and you get that sick feeling.........
You go through all of the steps of knitting grief
I am a bad knitter, I just can't seem to do this right.
I am just going to leave this, no one will see it anyway.
Now that I have seen the mistake, my eyes just go directly to it every time I look.
Crap. I am going to have to take this to fill in the blank to fix it.
I will just rip out the last 10 inches of this sweater that I have worked on for 2 weeks.
Maybe I can fix it myself.
First of all, you are not a bad knitter
We all make mistakes, and we do it just as often even if we have been at this for years and are filled with knitting confidence. With more experience, you get better at spotting mistakes earlier, and the earlier you spot the problem the easier it is to correct it. Don't beat yourself up. The more you knit, the quicker you will be at realizing that something needs to be "adjusted."
You are considering just leaving the mistake
Well, that is always an option, especially if it is not something that is going to cause your knitting to unravel. Maybe you have purled instead of knitted, or you twisted a stitch. My test for leaving a mistake is always " will it bother me?" if the answer is no, it won't bother me, then feel free to leave it. But if it will bother you, then you should fix it.
You think about taking it to your local yarn store or your friend to fix it for you
You can do that, but before you do that, I suggest that you try to fix it yourself. If you mess it up, then you can either take it to someone to fix or rip back. You might as well try. Maybe (probably) you can fix it yourself, and then you can back to working on your project.
I am probably stating the obvious, but stockinette and reverse stockinette are the same fabric
It is just a matter of which side is the public side of the fabric. For fixing mistakes, you want to do this from the stockinette or knit side of the fabric rather than the reverse stockinette or purl side of the fabric. Why? I will tell you why, it is easier, and will get you back to making forward progress on your project sooner.
Tools for fixing
Here are the steps to fix a mistake in stockinette or reverse stockinette
Orient your fabric with the stockinette or knit side of the fabric towards you.
Determine which live stitch is directly above the mistake
Slip that stitch off the needle.
Undo that column of stitches until you reach the mistake.
Insert your needle or hook into the last live stitch that is worked correctly.
Place the hook or needle underneath or behind the next piece of yarn above the live stitch.
With the crochet hook, pull the yarn through the live stitch, or with the needle, pick up the live stitch and pass it up and over the piece of yarn to create a stitch. Either way, you are making a new live stitch by pulling the unworked yarn through the live stitch to create a new live stitch.
Repeat for each row until you have pulled all of the yarns through the live loop and are back to your working needle.
Do you need to see it? Here is the video tutorial:
Now that you see the motions of fixing stockinette stitch mistakes, I hope you can also see that each column of stitches is really just a loop, pulled through a loop, pulled through a loop, over and over, all the way from the cast on edge to the needle. If you pull the loop through the live stitch from the back to the front, it forms a knit stitch. Conversely, if you pull the loop through from the front to the back, then it forms a purl stitch. If you happen to do that backwards while you are fixing, just undo it and pull it through from the back to the front.
I hope that these written instructions and video have helped you become a more confident knitters. Please let me know if this, or any of my tutorials have helped you. I would also love to know what other knitting subjects/techniques/problems you are interested it seeing. I am always adding to my video library. You can see the complete list of videos here.
Need some more inspiration? Check out Lovecrafts.