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Fix It or Forget It?

Apr 21, 2014

    
Fixing a miscrossed cable
There seem to be two schools of knitting (with a half of a school in the middle): those who rip out rows to fix mistakes and those who keep on truckin'. I'm in the "middle school," with occasional side trips to the school of keep on truckin'.

Wherever you fall on the spectrum, there's a crucial element involved—evaluating the mistake and deciding whether or not to fix it. Here's some advice that I hope will help you make a decision you're satisfied with.

To Rip or Not to Rip?

First of all, there are no knitting police. You are the boss of your knitting, so you need to make the decision about whether to fix a mistake. We want to love our knitting, both during the knitting process and while wearing it for years afterward, and knowing whether or not to fix a mistake or not is something that will affect our affection for our handknits.

    
Using a lifeline
Here are three guidelines that I use when I find a mistake in my knitting.

Is the mistake going to make the finished piece too big/small/short/long, etc.?

Fix it! I recently started the back of a sweater, and I knit along mindlessly for five inches. One evening when I set down my knitting, I thought, "That looks awfully wide." Yeah. It was 10 inches too wide. You read that right—10 inches! I ripped it out and started over.

Is the mistake something small, like a skipped stitch, a join that might show a tiny bit, or a dropped stitch that you can weave into the wrong side of the piece?

Forget it! And forget any other mistake that aren't going to bother you. And be honest with yourself about this—see the next item.

Is the mistake going to bother you forever or make you not use your handknit item?

Fix it! It doesn't make sense to leave a mistake in your knitting if it's going to drive you crazy. Just rip it out and do it right. (And if your piece is a gift, you should probably fix the mistake.)

Is the mistake going to cause a domino effect in the rest of your pattern?

    
Fixing a mistake in lace
Fix it! If you have the incorrect stitch count and you're working an cable or lace pattern-or any pattern that's based on a certain number of stitches—you'll probably need to restart the project with the correct number of stitches. I have, on occasion, tried to increase or decrease stitches to get to the correct stitch count, and this can work out, but I find it's a better fix for cable patterns than for lace patterns. I've spent hours trying to finagle an added stitch into a lace pattern, only to have to rip it out in the end.

If you want to fix a mistake and you're not sure how to do it, check out Kate Atherley's wonderful video Fixing Knitting Mistakes. She'll show you more than 50 ways to fix just about any mistake that you might make.

Here's to loving our knitting!

Cheers,

P.S. How do you decide whether to fix a mistake? Leave a comment and tell us!


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Comments

dancejunky wrote
on May 10, 2014 2:33 PM

I agree with most of what you say, except I think the alternatives—rip out rows vs. live with the mistake—are misleading. Many mistakes can be fixed by dropping down stitches to the row with the mistake, then knitting back up. Often that means a 2-min. repair vs. hours, depending on what you're knitting. I think more people would opt to fix mistakes if they knew there were alternatives to ripping out rows.

Birdie2011 wrote
on May 10, 2014 12:38 PM

I now see that the date of the article was 4/21/2014 and published after the video special expired.The price has been corrected to $21.95.

Birdie2011 wrote
on May 10, 2014 12:32 PM

I am also not happy about the 5.99 deal being posted after it expired.

Also why do come of the comments appear over and over? They often post 2x but one below has posted 5x.

meowkie wrote
on May 10, 2014 12:03 PM

Fix a mis twist on cable. Pick up the branch stitches at the base. Then knit up the number of rows til the next twist. Join it into place with crochet slip stitch in the direction you need. Left or right. Since you cannot twist behind you will correct by doing the front overlay to have the visual correct. Easy peasy. Gorgeous!

meowkie wrote
on May 10, 2014 11:55 AM

I fix mistakes with Invention. Since I didn't like the available options it fix a double cable mistwist I invented a new fix. Simply pick up the three stitches that should have been twisted front and knit up the three rows. Lay over and Slip stitch crochet style into place. Voila. Perfect. No ripping no unraveling no dropping stitches. I feel great!

ozice173 wrote
on May 9, 2014 5:10 AM

Whilst mistakes such as "the video is on sale for just $5.99 through April 23!" appearing on an email dated May do occur occasionally - it makes me feel that not enough proofreading goes on and as such I will now be very wary about buying products......Fix or rip the writing

Maurorless wrote
on May 8, 2014 3:47 PM

I understand why knitters were disturbed by the change in price for the video.  I'm bothered by reading an article that makes it seem as if the e-book, video, etc. is free.  Instead of writing, "Check out the video......", if it had read something like, "check out the video which may be purchased at....." it would have saved confusion.

I also have to argue that when certain patterns are displayed in free e-books, it would be nice if one could download the pattern for free.  This has happened many times.  I see a pattern included in a free e-book, but it turns out that the photo was just for advertising purposes and if you want the pattern you have to purchase it.

I did enjoy Kathleen's short article about mistakes.  It actually helped me get a 'grip' on wanting to take a pair of scissors to an item I'm knitting when I find an error half way down the item.  I'm talking about minor here.  Now I will just take a very deep breath, leave the scissors and decide if the mistake is really a problem.

Happy knitting to all.

Kkey22850 wrote
on May 8, 2014 10:03 AM

Double disappointment. It appears the comments about the price are being ignored. I even sent an email to CS and got no response.

Come on and address the issue, please. At least, let us know that you hear us.

knitomatic wrote
on May 8, 2014 9:53 AM

Ditto re the $5.99 discount price, think a mistake was made.

conniebc wrote
on May 8, 2014 9:53 AM

Great article! Very helpful tips. I have used a 'lifeline' for years and had never seen it published anywhere. I would not knit many things without using a lifeline anymore. Some patterns with lots of yarn overs are very hard to rip out and then get back on the needles correctly. A lifeline resolves that problem!!

Thanks for the great info!

conniebc wrote
on May 8, 2014 9:53 AM

Great article! Very helpful tips. I have used a 'lifeline' for years and had never seen it published anywhere. I would not knit many things without using a lifeline anymore. Some patterns with lots of yarn overs are very hard to rip out and then get back on the needles correctly. A lifeline resolves that problem!!

Thanks for the great info!

on May 8, 2014 9:05 AM

Like many of the other posts, getting an email on May 7th  saying I can get the video  for 5.99 if I order before April 23, isn't very timely. Very disappointed.

VickiMurray wrote
on May 7, 2014 11:14 PM

This is a great article but posting on Knitting Daily on May 5th with a special good until April 23rd is not inspiring and is frustrating!

Kelli@2 wrote
on May 7, 2014 10:23 PM

Do something wrong once, it's a mistake.  Do it again, and it becomes a "design choice!"  :)

Donna Berger wrote
on May 7, 2014 9:33 PM

Your email stated that the Fixing Mistakes video is 5.99; however the price

is actually 21.95 on the website. What gives?

Donna Berger wrote
on May 7, 2014 9:31 PM

Your email stated that the Fixing Mistakes video is 5.99; however the price

is actually 21.95 on the website. What gives?

JackieW@29 wrote
on May 7, 2014 8:01 PM

I also tried to download the video upon receiving this e-mail . Unfortunately the cost  was 21.95 not 5.99. Not good customer service to make an offer after the expiry date.

JackieW@29

JackieW@29 wrote
on May 7, 2014 8:01 PM

I also tried to download the video upon receiving this e-mail . Unfortunately the cost  was 21.95 not 5.99. Not good customer service to make an offer after the expiry date.

JackieW@29

JackieW@29 wrote
on May 7, 2014 7:52 PM

I also tried to download the video today and price is 21.95. Unfortunately not good customer service to send out an email  with an expired offer.

Jackie

Maryleef wrote
on May 7, 2014 6:47 PM

When doing lace I rip out if I don't have the correct number of stitches.  It usually is a missed yo so them I just create the yo and go from there.  If number of stitches isn't creating a lace pattern  I will  increase or decrease as needed.  I do put  life lines in when knitting lace as well as lots of markers.

csiuta wrote
on May 7, 2014 4:15 PM

I would love to purchase the video for $5.99.  The last day on the email is April 23 but the email was sent today.  Will it be offered for $5.99.  Please let me know.  I would love to down load it!  

csiuta wrote
on May 7, 2014 4:15 PM

I would love to purchase the video for $5.99.  The last day on the email is April 23 but the email was sent today.  Will it be offered for $5.99.  Please let me know.  I would love to down load it!  

csiuta wrote
on May 7, 2014 4:15 PM

I would love to purchase the video for $5.99.  The last day on the email is April 23 but the email was sent today.  Will it be offered for $5.99.  Please let me know.  I would love to down load it!  

csiuta wrote
on May 7, 2014 4:15 PM

I would love to purchase the video for $5.99.  The last day on the email is April 23 but the email was sent today.  Will it be offered for $5.99.  Please let me know.  I would love to down load it!  

csiuta wrote
on May 7, 2014 4:15 PM

I would love to purchase the video for $5.99.  The last day on the email is April 23 but the email was sent today.  Will it be offered for $5.99.  Please let me know.  I would love to down load it!  

poppy8dog wrote
on May 7, 2014 4:14 PM

Like several readers of the Knitting Daily newsletter, I was excited to see, in today's newsletter (May 7, 2014),  that Kate Atherley's video was on sale for $5.99 ... that is until I read the last line and noticed that April 23 was the final date for this great sale.  Kathleen, I suggest you proof-read the content of your newsletters before you submit them to the Net ... as probably this is a repeat and you didn't notice the end date of the offer.  Darn!!

bwengert wrote
on May 7, 2014 3:21 PM

I tried to order Fixing Knitting Mistakes, which you say is currently $5.99, but it came up at the original price of $21.95. Am I missing something? b:)

on May 7, 2014 2:49 PM

I'm trying to discipline myself to fix mistakes as I notice them.   I will see a mistake, decide I can live with it and continue knitting ... I've discovered that I can never live with it and end up ripping back to the mistake.  But I never learn and seem to do this over and over!  I have no discipline!!  YET!

on May 7, 2014 2:49 PM

I'm trying to discipline myself to fix mistakes as I notice them.   I will see a mistake, decide I can live with it and continue knitting ... I've discovered that I can never live with it and end up ripping back to the mistake.  But I never learn and seem to do this over and over!  I have no discipline!!  YET!

on May 7, 2014 1:48 PM

I so agree with the earlier posters - not nice, Interweave! I was ready to jump on this video for $5.99, not so ready at $21.95. And I double checked - yes, my email has today's date.

tdipaolo wrote
on May 7, 2014 1:34 PM

This is what my email said this morning:

If you want to fix a mistake and you're not sure how to do it, check out Kate Atherley's wonderful video Fixing Knitting Mistakes. She'll show you more than 50 ways to fix just about any mistake that you might make. Plus, the video is on sale for just $5.99 through April 23! You can't beat that price.

Do you mean it is on sale until NEXT April 23rd? Because it doesn' t look like it when I tried to buy it...

Kkey22850 wrote
on May 7, 2014 12:48 PM

On the email, it says, "Plus, the video is on sale for just $5.99 through April 23! You can't beat that price."

That is a past date. Is it still on sale? Will you honor the price?

Kkey22850

on May 7, 2014 12:42 PM

I see you fixed the web site page, but we also got emails with a special price that expired a while ago or has not come yet.   hmmm. May 7th email:  " If you want to fix a mistake and you're not sure how to do it, check out Kate Atherley's wonderful video Fixing Knitting Mistakes. She'll show you more than 50 ways to fix just about any mistake that you might make. Plus, the video is on sale for just $5.99 through April 23! You can't beat that price."  

on May 7, 2014 12:35 PM

Over the winter I was recovering from surgery, and to keep myself occupied I knitted as it was too difficult to work on quilting projects. First project was the Koolhaas hat. Make an "oops" and it shows. Next, I did the same little beret in 4 different colors. The first one I didn't work my increases correctly and I had wobbly lines. Rip, rip. After that, I got the idea. Being bored with that pattern, I moved on to a lace and a cable. I think those went together without glitches. I finally stopped with another lace that I keep thinking there is an error, but I can't find it--after I ripped out 4 times. I finally decided that if I am standing in line at the grocery and someone standing behind me says to themselves, "she made a mistake", I can live with it. I think that is hat #10.

on May 7, 2014 12:32 PM

Love this article, and the philosophy.  

- My philosophy is to fix mistakes in items I've made as gifts.  

- Fix errors that will have the domino affect

- Fix noticeable errors

- Ignore errors not noticeable.

- Check my work as I go along so corrections can be caught within a row or two.

lisalou1012 wrote
on May 7, 2014 11:50 AM

Since the email was sent today 5/7 I feel you should honor the video price of $5.99, I was excited to order it until you read that it is that price until 4/23 which has passed.

BeagleFan wrote
on May 7, 2014 11:37 AM

I'm kind of a perfectionist, so errors bother me.  If I'm taking the time to make it by hand, it should be my best effort.  I'm pretty new at knitting, so ripping back just means more well-needed practice. :-)

+1 to the frustration of missing the advertised sale price by two weeks.

DarleneM@11 wrote
on May 7, 2014 11:26 AM

I just got this email and the sale price ended on 4/23???  I agree not nice at all.  Someone should pay attention.

DarleneM@11 wrote
on May 7, 2014 11:25 AM

Really - I got the email today and the sale price was good through 4/23?????   I agree that is just not nice........  Someone should pay more attention.....

SusanN@7 wrote
on May 7, 2014 11:17 AM

Not nice!!!  "she''ll show you more than 50 ways to fix just about any mistake that you might make. Plus, the video is on sale for just $5.99 through April 23! You can't beat that price."  email was sent TODAY -- May 7th!

on May 7, 2014 11:05 AM

How do you get this on sale, as advertised?

on May 7, 2014 11:04 AM

You offered this at a price that has already expired!  Am interested, but....

on May 7, 2014 11:04 AM

You offered this at a price that has already expired!  Am interested, but....

on May 7, 2014 11:04 AM

You offered this at a price that has already expired!  Am interested, but....

on May 7, 2014 11:03 AM

You offered this at a price that has already expired!  Am interested, but....

L.R.Cote wrote
on May 7, 2014 10:28 AM

90% of the time, I'll fix an error. I'm willing to tear it back, pick up a ladder or drop a stitch to fix one on a prior row. I have ripped out rows and rows of afghans to fix a misstep in the pattern, even if I'm the only person who will know. It's pride, right?

I will not fix it if it's in an area that won't be seen when it's worn.

Sometimes, I'll leave a mistake out in the open. Like the photo in my high school yearbook that I put in upside-down, nobody's perfect.

Svitorelo wrote
on May 7, 2014 10:27 AM

I am unable to find the video on sale

Do you have a link?

on May 7, 2014 10:07 AM

Personally, I know I will never be happy with the project with the mistake so I always go back and see it as part of the process.  Over the years I have become better at avoiding the pitfalls, spotting the mistakes sooner, and fixing without unraveling many rows.   I always tell novice knitters that these techniques are all part of the skill set of the independent knitter.

My mother's famous line was "A blind man on a galloping horse would be pleased to see that". Clearly,  she isn't as obsessive as her daughter.

Sincerely, Wendy Leigh-Bell

on May 7, 2014 10:00 AM

I've been knitting since my mother started teaching me at age 7 when I was mainly working on winter scarves. Since that time, as my knitting skills have advanced (many times with the assistance of reading Knitting Daily emails and the magazine) I've learned by trial and error that the very best thing to always do is to rip out and start over. If it's just a stitch that needs to be picked up after dropping it on a past row or two, I usually will use a trusty crochet hook to pick up the stitch and then carefully weave it back up to the row I'm working on, being careful to keep the stitch in the correct pattern. However, I've learned that I would rather make the knitted item perfect rather than sacrifice the look of the garment so I always start over. What should be considered is that this is something you should be proud of, not embarrassed for people to see. So, take this into consideration before making a decision to "keep on trucking".

vagmztp wrote
on May 7, 2014 9:38 AM

I, too, am pretty much a perfectionist and will usually fix any mistakes.  Maybe no one else can see them, but they jump out at me and whine!

vagmztp wrote
on May 7, 2014 9:38 AM

I, too, am pretty much a perfectionist and will usually fix any mistakes.  Maybe no one else can see them, but they jump out at me and whine!

pamelawoods wrote
on May 7, 2014 9:10 AM

Thanks for this article. I recently made a mistake in a cable panel of a sleeve and am still trying to decide what to do. Maybe I'll make the other sleeve first and then decide. It really is a question of how much it bothers the maker - sometimes you've gotta fake it to make it as Mikey from The Crochet Crowd would say!

Kellie_Liz wrote
on May 7, 2014 8:49 AM

I'm a bit of a perfectionist ... I fix just about everything!

on Apr 22, 2014 2:19 PM

Excellent advice!

Don't forget you can also drop a stitch or 10 in the middle of your work *on purpose* to fix a sequence below.  I.e. a cable twisted the wrong direction.  After dropping the stitches down you can rework them up to your current row without ripping out the entire sweater, etc.