Thursday, August 07, 2008

When Knitting Goes Wrong - a Tutorial

Sometimes I'll be chugging along with my knitting thinking "Man, am I hot tonight! Just look how well this is going." and then I'll look down at my work and say "Oh no."

Yes, that's what happened last night. The edges of the wedding shawl are supposed to be seed stitch. That's where you work k,p,k,p on a row all the way across, then turn your work and then do p,k,p,k all the way across.

Sometime in the evening my seed stitch turned into a rib stitch. I don't have a clue how or when. But it affects a ton of rows that I was not willing to pull out and re-knit. So what was I to do? My first instinct was to fix it a row at a time by dropping the stitch down to where it was correct and then take a crochet hook and fix it. Yeah, well, that didn't work so well. The mohair kept grabbing onto anything and everything for dear life, so I had to find a different strategy.

The mohair was still difficult, but this method went much smoother for me:

1. I isolated the problem and gave it a good look over. As you can see from the pic below, the problem is a small square from the first stitch on the left to the marker and then down to the crochet hook. I ran a small crochet hook through one leg of the stitches that were correct, as a lifeline of sorts.

Once the evaluation of the problem was over, I decided to drop all the problem stitches off the needles. Yes, this is scary, but not as scary as taking the whole project off all of the needles and frogging back your lace. I don't like frogging lace. It's far too easy to never find your place again. You can see where I began:

Note that from the hook on down is seed stitch and from the hook on up is ribbing.

2. Continue pulling out the stitches until you get to the live stitches on your hook. You don't have to use a crochet hook for this part, it's just what I had handy. You could use other needles, cables, a stick, whatever is near you. When you get to the live stitches the problem should look like so:

3. Now you need the hook. I put all the live stitches but one on a holder and grabbed the loop with the hook.

4. Moving up, the stitches should alternate between knit and purl. Remember this is seed stitch. (This process works just as well for fixing other problems in stockinette, garter or rib, you just have to know what the next stitch up should look like.)

For the knit stitches, You put your hook through the loop from the front of your work. Then grab the first line of yarn above it and pull it through the loop, basically making a crochet chain.

Note that the lines are all long horizontal loops. Keep these horizontal and in order. You're going to move up from the loop using the lines of yarn as you go.

5. When you get to a stitch that needs to be purled, you have to go through the back of the work (loop) like shown below to grab the next line of yarn and pull it through.

Continue steps 4 and 5 until your loop is back up to your cable. Put it on the cable and then begin the whole process again by taking the next loop off the holder and start at step number 3.

I'm not finished with correcting the problem. I can't get a certain two year old to leave me alone long enough to fix it since he woke up from his nap. It won't take long. If I can just get a good solid 15 minutes I can be back chugging along. I'll have a progress report for you tomorrow.

I hope this mini tutorial will help others who have similar problems!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for that little lesson. I would have been so frustrated that I would have put it in time out, maybe forever.

    You get today's Patience Award!