Oops! Now what?

Being able to fix your mistakes is crucial to advancing beyond beginning knitting. In fact, after a beginning knitting class, I think an "Oops" class is the next step. This is where you'll learn to fix the most common mistakes that beginner knitters (all knitters, in fact!) make a lot.

In case you don't have access to an Oops class, though—I know many of you don't—I'll show you my two best fix-it techniques. A mini-class, if you will!

The first thing to know is how to unknit, or "tink" (which is "knit" spelled backward). Knowing how to unknit allows you to go backwards to fix a mistake so that you don't have to take your knitting off the needles. I use this technique ALL THE TIME. I mean it; I probably do a little unknitting every time I knit, which is every day, so . . .

Here's a video I made a few years ago that shows my way of unknitting, which is a little different from other people's method because I unknit from right to left instead of from left to right. Check it out:

Going from right to left is what allows me to get the tight tension on the unknitted yarn. I can get going pretty fast with this technique!

Unpurling: I use the exact same method to unpurl. With the purl side facing and the working yarn on the left, I put the needle into the purl in the row below, pull the yarn to the right to undo the stitch, and voilà!

Laddering Down to Fix a Mistake

This is a crucial skill to know, too, one that you can use to pick up a dropped stitched far below the row you're working on. Here's how do ladder down to fix a stitch, according to the fabulous book Knit Fix, by Lisa Kartus. (It's part of our amazing Beginner Knitting Kit!)

A Vertical Fix for Stitch Mistakes
While unknitting corrects mistakes horizontally, sometimes it's more efficient to drop
down vertically through multiple rows to fix a single dropped or twisted stitch, or
even to change a knit stitch into a purl and vice versa.
Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3
Trace along the column from the dropped stitch up to your needle. Knit or unknit to the stitch to the right of this stitch. Take the next stitch off of the needle and pull on either side of it to undo the column of stitches down to the location of the dropped stitch (or twisted stitch, etc.). To rescue a knit stitch, push the crochet hook through the front of the hanging stitch. Then pick up the first ladder (the one farthest down from the knitting needle. Position the ladder between the tip of the crochet hook and the hanging stitch. Pull the ladder through the stitch, back to front, and drop the rescued stitch off the end of the hook. Continue this maneuver until you've scooped every ladder through the loop below it, then transfer the stitch to the left needle. All fixed!

Pretty great technique, right? I use this one a bunch, too. You really do need a crochet hook in your notions bag so that you have it on hand to fix dropped stitches. I keep a size D and a size G in my knitting bag. The D works on smaller-gauge projects and the G works on everything from worsted-weight yarn on up to bulky. You can also add a J to your bag if you work on bulky and super-bulky yarn a lot; the G is a little small for super-bulky yarn.

Mastering these techniques will help you for years to come! There are lots more fix-it techniques to learn, so get our Beginner Knitting Kit for beginning knitters, which includes Knit-Fix, two more books, and four videos!


P.S. Did you learn a knit-saving tip when you were a beginner? Share it with us below in the comments!

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