Weekend Knitting (and How to Unknit, or “Tinking”)

Knitting retreat in Gig Harbor

Knitting retreat in Gig Harbor with Seattle knitting group that discussed how to unknit, aka “tinking,” knitting mistakes.

There’s nothing like spending time with old friends, is there? My Seattle knitting group got together last weekend in Gig Harbor, Washington.

We had such a great time, watching movies (The Proposal and The Hangover; great cinema, not, but good laughs!), eating and drinking, and KNITTING.

Michelle and Koni finished projects and modeled them, which was fun, and Molly and I started new projects. I worked on a pair of socks and Molly started a vest for her husband.

Lisa progressed on a beautiful cabled jacket in a rich chocolate color, and Laurie made progress on a cardigan she’s been working on forever, but her knitting is so perfect you wouldn’t believe it! It looks like it’s coming off the needles blocked and ready to wear.

You can learn how to unknit (tinking) knitting mistakes anywhere! Everyone was working from different pattern booklets and we had a lot of fun looking through each others’ magazines and helping each other with problems and giving advice.

We also spent a lot of time fondling each other’s yarn, too! You know how it is . . .

Oops! Unknitting is Good

During all of this revelry, most of us made a mistake here and there (free advice: Fixing Knitting Mistakes!). I crossed a cable the wrong way in my Heather Hoodie Vest knit along project, so I had to use one of my old standby skills, unknitting, or “tinking.” Seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? We want to build stitches on the needles, not take them off!

Well, we’ve all been merrily knitting along, watching TV (or sharing a belly laugh during a silly movie!), and whoopsie! we see a mistake we made a row or so back. What to do? Lots of people take the work off the needles, which is fine, but what I do is unknit.

I learned how to unknit in an Oops class I took during my first year of knitting, but I learned to do it by taking one stitch at a time off the needles, unwrapping the yarn from each stitch and dropping it as I went, which was a very slow process!

Over the years I’ve perfected the technique and I know how to unknit almost as fast as I can knit. Something cute: Lots of people call this “tinking;” “tink” is “knit” spelled backwards!

Here’s a video tutorial for you. You can use this technique on any piece of knitting; here’s hoping you don’t have to use it too often!

There’s a great book available that teaches you to fix, and avoid, all kinds of knitting mistakes: Knit Fix by Lisa Kartus. I highly recommend this wonderful knitting resource.

Now that you’re armed with a tool for fixing knitting mistakes you make when you’re not paying quite as much attention as you should be, I encourage you to plan a knitting retreat with your knitting friends. Even a day at one of your houses—just an opportunity to be with other knitters to share the joy of each other and of knitting! I had such had a wonderful time reconnecting, relaxing, and knitting with my friends; I know you would, too.


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