Throw Yourself A Lifeline~
My knitting skills are, in my opinion, mediocre. I can cast on, knit, purl, work some cables and some beginning level lace. I’m great, until I notice a mistake – three rows down. Having crocheted for years I know the frustration of ripping a couple of rows out, but that still leaves you with a loop to place your hook. The thought of pulling my needle out of a row of stitches, and giving the yarn a good yank = sudden death for my project. Through trial and error, the internet, and the advice of good friends at the weaving group, I have alternatives.
I’m working on a project that has four panels of cables. If I drop a stitch or make a fatal mistake in one of those panels, it’s going to be nearly impossible to fix. I’ve started using a “lifeline” in my cable pattern. I place one through the last row of my cable repeat, so I can rip out to a point where I can begin my repeat all over. The process of placing it’s easy. Thread a yarn needle with a strong thread and run it through your stitches. Be extra careful not to split your yarn, and run it around the outside of your markers, otherwise they’re stuck on that row. If you need to rip out to a mistake, the lifeline preserves the stitch, so you can replace your needle in the correct position.
There are other ways to correct knitting mistakes. If I find a mistake on the same row I’m working, then I can “Tink” back to the stitch in question and re-work the stitch properly. “Tinking” (or is it “to tink”) is also known as knitting backwards. To “Tink”, simply slip your left needle into the stitch below the one right needle from front to back, slide the stitch off the right needle and pull the yarn to remove the offending stitch. Tink back until you remove the mistake and re-knit. I’ve Tinked back and entire row, and sometimes just past that to the previous row. I hate to do it, but it’s safe.
If I notice the mistake is made several rows back, my usual method of dealing with it was to ignore it, or hide it later with an embellishment. My friends at the weaving group (who are way wiser in the ways of knitting) showed me how to “Frog” back as many rows as I need with no lifeline. By picking up one leg of each stitch below the row I want to rip, I will have the stitches on the needle ready to be worked. No live stitches hanging in outer space. Another way to “Frog” is to simply pull out the needle and rip back to the row you want to continue from, and replace the needle one stitch at a time. If you’re using the right needle, then slip your stitches on from back to front, if you’re using the left needle, then slip the stitches on from front to back. Frankly, this would give me a coronary. This works great for stockinette stitch, but for cables and lace, the lifeline is the way to go. Let’s hope I don’t need it. It’s something I’d rather have and not need, then need and not have.