Knitting Cables: How to Fix Mistakes

It might seem like a daunting task to fix mistakes when you're knitting cables, but it isn't. Here are two fixes for the most common problems when knitting cables.


    

Which row am I on?

If you've lost track of where you are in a cable repeat, it's easy to count the number of rounds or rows since your last crossing. Pull a cable apart gently to see where the out-of-order stitches of the last crossing are knitted and joined to their new neighbors. Start counting with the second stitch above that slightly stretched stitch, and include the row on the left needle. Compare with your chart or instructions and cable on.

There's a mistake 10 rows back!

If you find a mistake in a cable crossing several rows (or even repeats) down and don't want to live with it, don't rip out all your work to that point! Instead, insert a small double-pointed needle or stitch holder into the stitches in the row just below the incorrect cable.

Work up to the point of the offending crossing and then drop only the involved stitches from your needle. (If the error involves strands that have since separated, this point may be several stitches away from the original crossing point. The stitches in each strand stay with it throughout the knitting, meaning that you must drop from wherever the original strand's stitches have ended up.) Ladder the dropped stitches down until you reach the held stitches.

Rework the pattern correctly, using the ladders as the working yarn. Use a blunt-tipped needle to even the tension in any wonky stitches afterwards.

It sounds crazy, but I've done this, and it works. Just close yourself in a well-lit room and fix that cable!

I love tips and tricks that make knitting easier, and Kathy Zimmerman, a.k.a. The Cable Queen, has so many great ones! Get her video, Classic to Creative Knit Cables, for just 6 bucks! What a deal.

Cheers,

P.S. Have a cable tip to share with us? Leave it in the comments!

Categories

Cable Knitting, Fixing Mistakes, Knitting Daily Blog
Kathleen Cubley

About Kathleen Cubley

Hello daily knitters! I'm the editor of Knitting Daily. I've been obsessed with knitting for about ten years now and my favorite projects are sweaters. I like the occasional smaller project, but there's nothing like yards of stockinette with a well-placed cable or a subtle stitch pattern here and there. I crochet a bit now and then—especially when I need to produce a baby blanket in time for the baby shower. I've been in publishing for 20 years and I'm finally exactly where I want to be: at the crossroads of knitting and communication. I live in Spokane, Washington and when I'm not knitting I enjoy gardening, snuggling with my dogs, swimming, reading, and playing in the snow in the winter. But, really, I'm pretty much always knitting!

15 thoughts on “Knitting Cables: How to Fix Mistakes

  1. You really only have to drop the stitches on one side of the cable. Drop them to the point of the incorrect cross, push the stitches to the front or back of the work as required for the correct cross, then work them back to the needles. (Not my original insight – I learned this in 1995 at the Atlanta Knitting Guild.)

  2. I don’t have a tip at this time. I just wanted to say how much I enjoy Kathleen’s newsletter, updates and tips. Thank you so much for your love of knitting and dedication to sharing with us. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  3. I use this particular technique for every mix up – forgotten raglan increases, transposed fair isle, any kind of pattern – I isolate the stitches and reknit them with double pointed needles.

  4. For Sharon Calgary,
    First off, don’t panic. When the stitches above errors are dropped, the yarn between the rows look like ladders. It is important to make certain you start working with the very bottom yarn (ladder), otherwise your rows end up flipped.
    r.gaebel is right about using a crochet hook… it IS easier! If the stitch to be made is knit, move the yarn (ladder) to the back, insert the hook front to back and pull the bottom yarn (ladder) through. For a purl stitch, move the yarn ladder to the front, insert the hook back to front and pull the bottom yarn (ladder) through. Place the new stitch on a DPN, making certain to mount it correctly. Work the next stitch in the same manner, and so on across the row. REMEMBER to cross stitches for cables as you go.
    I find that correcting the tension across the row repaired is often necessary. Check that before moving onto the next rows.
    Go knit a good sized swatch for practice. Make a couple mistakes purposely early on. Then practice till you get the hang of it. You will soon see it is not so difficult.
    I hope my explanation is clear to you. If you still do not understand, please feel free to contact me at Ducky_711 at yahoo dot com and I will do my best to help you get it.
    Hey, if I can do it, anyone can! It just takes patience, persistence and a few purple words.
    MJ

  5. I consider myself to be an experienced knitter, as I will soon turn 58 y/o, and have been knitting since age 7. Your tip on, “Knitting Cables: How To Fix Mistakes,” is something that even I never knew! You’d think I learned from my mistakes; well, I have; but your tip grabbed my attention. My way was always to tape a marker on each side of the cable. Then, I undo the stitches between the markers; followed by using only the yarn which, is taken off of the needle, to re-knit the cable back up to where the last knitted row is at. I’m not sure if I am making any sense out of this, but it has worked for me. I look forward to trying your tip the next time I get cable stitches mixed up!

  6. For Sharon Calgary,
    First off, don’t panic. When the stitches above errors are dropped, the yarn between the rows look like ladders. It is important to make certain you start working with the very bottom yarn (ladder), otherwise your rows end up flipped.
    r.gaebel is right about using a crochet hook… it IS easier! If the stitch to be made is knit, move the yarn (ladder) to the back, insert the hook front to back and pull the bottom yarn (ladder) through. For a purl stitch, move the yarn ladder to the front, insert the hook back to front and pull the bottom yarn (ladder) through. Place the new stitch on a DPN, making certain to mount it correctly. Work the next stitch in the same manner, and so on across the row. REMEMBER to cross stitches for cables as you go.
    I find that correcting the tension across the row repaired is often necessary. Check that before moving onto the next rows.
    Go knit a good sized swatch for practice. Make a couple mistakes purposely early on. Then practice till you get the hang of it. You will soon see it is not so difficult.
    I hope my explanation is clear to you. If you still do not understand, please feel free to contact me at Ducky_711 at yahoo dot com and I will do my best to help you get it.
    Hey, if I can do it, anyone can! It just takes patience, persistence and a few purple words.
    MJ

  7. On you first question answered, I’ve found It’s much easier to see where you last crossed by turning your work over and looking at the back. The crossovers are completely obvious on the back and easy to count the stitches since the last one. When I tried counting on the front side, I was never sure which exact stitch was the last one before crossover but on the back, it’s easy. Check it out.

  8. Great information that I never knew either, and I’ve done a lot of cable patterns over the years. I’m wondering about the $6 offer too. It comes up as $9.95.
    Thank you, Margie

  9. Dear Kathleen,
    Speaking of cables, about a month ago I think you posted a blog (I can’t remember the topic, and I might have even imagined it!) but I do recall in it there was a photo of a cowl/infinity scarf that featured one large central cable (I think it was ribbed/reversible) with garter stitch panels on both sides. I think it was a light brown colour. Anyway, I seem to have deleted that day’s blog and can’t find the photo or pattern for it any where! Are you able to point me in the right direction?

    Many thanks,

    Rie

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