Fixing stitches

When working on a project, sometimes I notice that several inches prior to where I am, I have done a few knit stitches instead of purl stitches. We can just chalk this up to watching TV while knitting. Short of ripping out many, many rows to go fix three or four stitches, is there another way of fixing this? It's not the end of the world, and it's only a scarf, but I am curious if there are ways of fixing this. Any suggestions? Perhaps there is a video about this online?
Thanks in advance, guys.


KenInMaine's picture

Try watching this video...I think it might be what you're looking for.

VIDEO: Correcting a stitch several rows back

She mentions in the video that this method works well for a single incorrect stitch. I'm not sure how well it would work if you had a bunch to fix.

Hope this helps!


Tom Hart's picture

Thanks so much for that, Ken! I've bookmarked it.

aah's picture

You can also use this technique with more stitches, just drop and fix them one stitch at a time. Ofcourse, if it is many stitches, it might be easier to rip out the hole work down to the error. But with a few stitches this works wery well.

AKQGuy's picture

This method works great for one to several stitches. It even works well for more defined patters. I've been known to drop down in lace and/or cabled work as well to fix a glitch I didn't catch. Often its something that others probably wouldn't see. My record rows to drop in this manner to get to an error is 24 rows. The key is to have no distraction for a few minutes while you do it to make sure you pick up all the dropped rows in the correct order, and that you pick them up in the correct manner (I.e.: knit vs purl). I say go for it and try doing it. Worse case scenario is you have to tear back.

Tallguy's picture

Yup, it's easy enough to drop a stitch many rows, and then latch it up. It gets easier the more times you do it -- I'm quite the expert now! With a simple knitting machine (that does not purl), you have to drop your knit stitches and then latch them back up the other way to make ribbing. Not a problem -- that is just the way it is done. Why can't we do it the same with hand knitting?

I once noticed a dropped stitch when working on a sock about an hour after dropping the stitch. I didn't have to drop back down to that row, since there was never a stitch there, but I just latched that lost stitch back up the column where it should have been. The problem was that there wasn't any excess yarn on the last few rows since a stitch was never there. But I forced it in between the other stitches where it should have been -- it was very tight -- and after knitting a few more rows, I couldn't tell where it was. The other stitches all seemed to shift over a bit to let it fit in, and all was well.

I have dropped down several stitches to correct a cable, or a lace pattern. That is a little more involved, and requires concentration and a work area that won't be disturbed. The Harlot has a demonstration of how she corrected a lace stitch -- it looks complicated, but is really not that hard. See and then see All you are doing is ripping only part of a row, and then knitting it back up again! One problem I had was that the first few stitches you work back are looser than the last couple in that row. But if you are aware of this, you can adjust your tension a bit. But I find that once you handle the fabric a bit and when it is finally washed, all the uneven tension evens itself out and you can never tell where you had made the correction.

Don't be afraid of correcting a mistake. Leaving it in will bother you more than the little effort required to fix it. I have experienced it both ways, and I know which I prefer.

twistknit's picture

I find if I have to rip back that it's good to thread some waste yarn through the stitches below the row I'm ripping back to as a safety net. That way you just have to pick up the stitches on the waste yarn and not have the fear of dropping down more stitches.

twistknit's picture

I find if I have to rip back that it's good to thread some waste yarn through the stitches below the row I'm ripping back to as a safety net. That way you just have to pick up the stitches on the waste yarn and not have the fear of dropping down more stitches.

gardenguy42's picture

I had to laugh because just last week I had to drop 4 stitches down about 6 inches and redo a cable that I had done backwards (and there were already about 4 more correctly twisted cables on top of it, making it very glaring) and then a few days later I had to drop down about 10 inches (almost back to the cast-on) to fix doing the wrong leaning decreases over about 6 or 7 stitches all the way up the side of the piece -- the chart I was working from used such a tiny symbol I didn’t see it until I thought “Hey, wait a minute! These aren’t mirroring!”

Things like this drive me nuts and I have to fix them. I agree that you get better at it the more times you do it. I usually use a sock needle, a cable needle, a crochet hook, and whatever else is handy to hold the stitches and just reknit them the correct way all the way back up. Blocking always seems to even out the tension so just go for it (and as Elizabeth Zimmermann might say “Keep calm and keep your wits about you and it will be fine!)

Good luck!

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -- Mahatma Gandhi

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -- Mahatma Gandhi

CLABBERS's picture

Thanks guys...since the scarf error is about 3 feet below where I am now, it will just enjoy a life all its own. I am going to make some sample pieces to just make and fix errors to gain some practice. Thank you all for the excellent advice and the wonderful words of encouragement. Ken, I found the video especially helpful. I knew how to do that for a dropped stitch, so I am actually an expert at doing it that way...I drop more than I care to admit. It's nice to know it's just as easy to go down more and more rows.

bobinthebul's picture

I do this kind of "knitting surgery" all the time when it's a matter of a purl where there should have been a knit. Think of it the same way as you would rescuing a dropped stitch that had managed to zip several rows back.

Of course it does get a little more complex when you're dealing with some intricate pattern, or when it hits a row of increases, SSKs etc. When that happens, I still usually try it - what's the worst that can happen after all? You'll end up f***ing it up and have to rip back, which you would have done anyway. :) It can also be educational, because it forces you to learn more about the structure of your knitting and of how stitches connect and interact in patterns.

And when you've done it and managed to get back up to the working row, it's such a sense of satisfaction!

Knit on. :)

CLABBERS's picture

I like the term "knitting surgery." I guess we would all have our DKS, Doctor of Knitting Surgery after a few years of knitting "practice."