Tuesday, July 18, 2017

fixing of mistakes

I sat down last evening to knit more on the Hagrid scarf. Got some done (having to switch the channel from "Trauma: Life in the ER" to "The Incredible Dr. Pol" because the ER stories were depressing me and at least on Dr. Pol you get to see stories about a cow having an uncomplicated birth of a healthy calf, or Dr. Pol rescuing a kitten from a well pit, and the kitten being fine).

Then I realized I made an error. I tried dropping and fixing the stitches (it was a knit-for-purl substitution) and then realized I'd fixed them wrong - so I unknitted that row and redid it.

Then I realized I had messed up the garter stitch edging on one side for a few rows - purled where I should have knitted. So I tried dropping and redoing the stitches, but that is really confusing at the end of a row.

I suppose I should back up here for the non-knitters and point out there are three ways you can fix an error in a knitted thing (at least that I know of):

1. You can drop the stitch or stitches in question, "ladder down" and then reknit just those stitches. This is a little tricky but it is the fastest and is good if, for example, you're doing a knit-purl pattern and you purled when you should have knitted, or vice versa. I also think this works best if it's within just a couple rows of where you are (so: look at your knitting periodically) though I have read of people fixing miscrossed cables by dropping down dozens of rows.

2. You can "un-knit" (or as some people say, "tink" - which is "knit," backwards) - painstakingly undoing each stitch in order back to your mistake, and then knitting it back the right way. This is maddeningly slow to do if your mistake is very many rows down but it is also the method I most often employ because it's easier to get it right than the dropping-down method is, and it also tends (I find) to mess with your gauge less.

3. You can do what some people call "frogging" (as in "rip-it, rip-it" - yes, knitters have no shortage of agonizingly cutesy argot). You take the stitches off the needle and pull. This unravels the knitting. If you're good, you can stop it right below your error, put the needles back in, and start all over again. Some knitters use the trick of a "lifeline" (lots of knitters of complex lace do this) where you run a thin thread - dental floss is often used- through your knitting however many rows (15 or 20, in some cases), on the idea that if you have to rip back, (a) the lifeline will stop wholesale destruction - you will not be able to rip past it and (b) you will know right where you have to pick up - with un-knitting, you can reset your row marker or otherwise keep track as you go, but ripping is faster (and often done in anger) and unless you're v. good at "reading" your knitting, you might not know what row you wound up with.

I've...never used a lifeline. I don't think I've ever ripped to fix an error EXCEPT in a case of a project gone very wrong where starting over from the beginning is preferable (e.g., the Cobblestone sweater, where I found out some inches in I really needed to be alternating the balls of the yarn, because it was one of those kettle-dyed-without-dye-lots ones and the different skeins weren't quite all the same purple).

Also, in some cases, ripping is perhaps inadvisable - on a very fluffy yarn where the "fluffs" can tangle, you can get knots. And on a very delicate laceweight, pulling very hard may separate your yarn. The yarn I am using for the Hagrid scarf is mulespun/woolen-spun rather than worsted spun (think: less tightly plied) and I worried a bit about it coming apart when I unknitted it, and I would not want to have ripped it.

But at any rate, I got it fixed. And yeah, it annoys me when I make a mistake and have to go back and fix it (I am that way about ANYTHING; that may be partly why I'm such a perfectionist). Then again: it would be nice if everything in life were that easily fixed when it got messed up - that you could just go back, undo and then redo it, and it's like the mistake never happened.


purlewe said...

I like that about knitting as well. That you have several ways to fix it and one of them will get you back to where you need to be.

CGHill said...

Tinking. Love it. :)