Saturday, January 23, 2010

Correcting Mistakes

I hit a snag in my current project a few days ago, because I misread the pattern and knitted the wrong set of decreases. I didn't realize my mistake right away, and went on to knit another few rows. When I finally noticed what I'd done, I was daunted by the thought of un-knitting those completed rows.
The sweater on the needles, with an error, only a few inches from completion.

So the tiny sweater has been sitting on my table for a few days, staring scornfully at me, daring me to just go on and finish it already. Damn the yoke shaping! So what if it the finished product isn't going to lie properly, it's for a baby, she won't care...
What stinking thinking! Something worth doing is worth doing properly!
Here is a close up of the bungled decrease row. If you knit two stitches and then make one decrease (all the way across the row), you end up with way more stitches on your needles than you would have if you were supposed to knit one stitch and then make a decrease (which in this pattern is a knit 2 together K2tog).
One of my knitting inspirations, the DomiKnitrix, says discipline is very important. I was almost resigned to ripping out several rows of work and trying to fight all the loops back onto the needles in the right direction. Then I remembered a little trick from my failed foray in lace knitting, called a Lifeline.
When you are knitting a complicated lace pattern, sometimes it is useful to run a piece of waste yarn along the length of your needle every so often (like at the end of a pattern repeat), and then leave it there as you knit on. That way, if you make a mistake, you can rip the stitches out back to your saved place and they will all be on that piece of yarn in the right order and everything.
I didn't place a lifeline in my project while I was knitting, but I figured that since I have such a sweet interchangeable needle set, I could take a real skinnny needle tip, pick up my stitches, rip out the bad work, screw the proper size needle tips on to the super sweet interchangeable cord, pick right back up knitting where I left off, and finish this little sweater in no time at all.

Here is where I started the lifeline.

Here is the unraveling. Unraveling is pretty scary, but that lifeline keeps it from unraveling further than I want.

This is what my Harmony Interchangeable needles look like. That little loop ended pin is called a cable key, and it helps me hold the cable still so I can get the needle tips screwed on tightly.
It worked! I unraveled back to my lifeline, changed the needle tips back to the proper size and took off knitting! So you can expect to see a sweater here on this page shortly.


Heidi Ho said...

I want you to make that sweater in grown up size and give it to me!!! It is really lovely! You have a gift. I do not have the patience or attention span for knitting. I wish I did!


Serafina said...

Heidi, you have the patience and attention span to TEACH MY KID MAD SKILLS (not to mention the what, 650 other little lives you enrich every day)! That definitely deserves a hand-knit sweater. Expect to see it finished in about 2015!