What’s Wrong With This Picture?

This is what comes of trying to do cables while watching TV. (For the nonknitters, the center cable is messed up from about the middle of the picture to the top. ) We’re talking about almost 5 inches’ worth of knitting here. What do you do? (–besides pull your hair and euphemize loudly and emphatically, that is . . .)

Well, you could yank out the needle and frog the whole thing back to before where you messed up, and then very carefully put all the stitches back on the needle, being extra careful not to drop any, but that’s a bit drastic. (And depressing.)

This is where double pointed needles (DPNs) are your friends. First, you isolate the “bad” section and just frog that part back down to just before you messed up. Then you pick up those stitches onto a DPN that is the same needle size as the pattern calls for.

Because they are DPNs, you can reknit all the messed up bit from the right side (knit side) of the knitting (no need to turn your work and purling is kept to a minimum!). Then, use a tapestry needle or a DPN to adjust the stitch tension and redistribute any slack evenly back across the the stitches of the row.

The below pix is from a different project, but I forgot to take a picture of this step in the above process.

If you carefully comb out the frogged portion of yarn out to the side, you easily determine which is the next strand to knit. Because this pattern has cable crosses every 4th row, working up from the bottom, I isolated four consecutive strands inside a stitch marker. That made it much easier to keep track of where I was.

See? All fixed now. Took me about an hour, which is a fourth of the time it would have taken me to reknit that whole length if I’d just frogged the whole thing back to just before the Oops!

Of course, if you hate DPNs and wouldn’t have them in your house, or just don’t happen to have any, you could use a circular needle of the same size but a shorter length, or a straight needle (the long straights will work but are annoyingly unwieldy, FYI), but it might be worth it to invest in some el cheapo wooden or plastic DPNs in the needle sizes you use the most.

You may have to fiddle with the fabric of your knitting to erase all traces of where you fixed the boo-boo, like doing “x” stretches where you stretch the fabric in alternating diagonals, and “+” stretches where you alternately stretch the fabric from top to bottom and from side to side. You will have to use a tapestry needle or the “empty” needle to retension your stitches across each reknitted row either to make enough slack to finish the row or to redistribute slack at the end of the row, which is a little fiddly, but the time and headache you save is worth it. I mean, it’s either that, or completely frog back the whole shebang, which is ghastly and depressing.


Author: WOL

My burrow, "La Maison du Hibou Sous Terre" is located on the flatlands of West Texas where I live with my computer, my books, and a lot of yarn waiting to become something.

3 thoughts on “What’s Wrong With This Picture?”

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