How to Repair Knitting Mistakes
Whether you’ve dropped a stitch or found a hole in your knitting, don’t panic! There are ways to repair these mistakes without taking your project off the needles and starting from scratch.
The first step is identifying where the mistake is located. If it is in the current row or just a few rows back, you can “unknit” until you find the correct stitch.
1. Unknit stitch by stitch
Whether you have added an extra stitch to your row or dropped a stitch in your previous work, these mistakes can be fixed by unknitting one stitch at a time. Seasoned knitters often call this process tinking (knit spelled backwards).
The first step in fixing any knitting mistake is to stop knitting and mark where the problem occurred. You can use a locking stitch marker or a safety pin for this, especially if you’re a beginner.
Next, locate the stitch where the mistake is. Insert your left needle into the wrongly placed stitch and slip it off the right-hand needle, ensuring that the live stitch from the row or round above stays on the needle. This can be a little tricky, but it’s not as hard as you might think! Using this technique, you can unknit knit stitches, purl stitches, and even advanced stitches that combine these functions. The process of tinking is the same for all these different types of stitches.
2. Drop your stitches
A stitch that is dropped can be quite a pain, especially when it occurs several rows back. Luckily, it’s also relatively easy to fix.
To pick up a dropped stitch, insert your repair crochet hook into the last visible stitch on your needle (this is usually going to be at the bottom of what looks like a ladder of working yarn from all the rows that came out of it). Then, use your hook to work that stitch back up through the ladder rungs and then onto your knitting needle.
Adding extra stitches to your work can be another common mistake, which is often caused by inadvertently wrapping the working yarn purl-wise around the needle (this is one of the mistakes that’s easier to catch with regular checking of your stitch count). To correct this error, you need to unknit stitch by stitch until you reach the stitch where you added an extra stitch. Then, slip that stitch off your needle and re-knit it correctly.
3. Unravel your work
If your mistake was only a few stitches back or in the same row, one of the best ways to fix it is by unknitting. Also known as tinking, this technique undoes your work one stitch at a time while the rest of the stitches stay safely on the needles.
The most common way to lose a stitch is by stuffing your knitting in your project bag or misplacing it as you work. It happens to everyone! This is why it’s important to check your work regularly and keep track of your stitch count.
Another way to lose a stitch is by dropping it. This is harder to catch, but it’s still a common error that can make your project look ugly. You can fix this by unravel your work, row by row, until you find the dropped stitch and then working it back up through the ladder rungs (the rows of knitted stitches that appear on top of the original stitch). Also known as frogging, this method is slow and tedious but it does the job.
4. Frog your work
Even the best knitters make mistakes sometimes. When you do, there are a few tricks to fix it without undoing all your work.
Depending on the nature of your error, the solution will vary. If you slipped a stitch, for example, you can unknit your work row by row to find the mistake and correct it.
Twisted stitches are common mistakes that can happen when you’re knitting through the back of the stitch, or picking it up wrong. They can also occur when the left “leg” of a stitch is on the needle when it should be on the right side.
Frogging, or ripping out your work, can be a frightening prospect. However, it’s often better than living with a glaring error in your project. Use your best judgement when deciding whether or not to frog your work, and remember that learning how to fix mistakes as you go can help you become a more confident crocheter.