Friday, June 8, 2007

Correcting errors in the rows below, part 2: moving an increase

Just as you may discover with horror that a decrease was put in the wrong spot some rows below (see post of June 5, 2007) so that same misfortune may befall you with an increase. Here is the trick for moving an increase made in the wrong spot without having to rip back your knitting.

1. (Above) The increase SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE between the brown stitch and the purple stitch, but instead the increase (red) was MISTAKENLY MADE between the purple stitch and the blue stitch.

2. (Above) Slip the needles through the work until you have your needles poised over the error (there is more information about slipping in the last note of this post). Between your needles, drop down a runner, turning all the stitches ABOVE the red and purple stitches into the rungs of a ladder. This will free the increase to be moved. Locate the "tail" of yarn (arrow) in the location where the increase should have been in the first place.

3. (Above) The tail marked with an arrow in illustration 2 has been pulled up, and the excess yarn distributed to form a loop where the increase should have been made in the first place. In other words, the increase (red stitch) has been moved from one side of the purple stitch to the other.

4. (Above) Hook the ladder rung above the newly-repositioned red stitch through that stitch, then continue hooking up each ladder rung in this column, turning each rung back into a stitch in its own right. Finish by placing the last stitch in the column on your left needle. (Although this is not illustrated, the easiest way to perform the hooking operation is with a crochet hook.)

5. (Above) Lastly, hook the ladder rung above the purple stitch through, then continue hooking up each ladder rung in this column, turning each rung back into a stitch. Finish by placing the last stitch in the column on your right needle. Your increase has been moved to the correct spot.

The increase illustrated above is a twisted loop increase (also called "make 1" or "M1"). However, this trick works with any kind of increase--just release the stitches in the increase column down far enough until the loop of the increase itself is freed. Once you've relocated the excess yarn for the increase by pulling the excess yarn through to the stitch-tail located where the increase should have been, you make your new increase using the exact same method (twisted loop, knitting into the stitch below, whatever) as you made all your other increases.

As stated in the post on moving decreases--the illustrations above are not to scale--even one released stitch makes a ladder too wide to illustrate properly--the illustration would go off the page. Don't be worried, though, the ladder you create is supposed to be wider than the illustration--that just shows you're doing it right.

Finally, the illustrations show the needles having been slipped through the fabric to the correct spot. The last note in the decrease post explains why.

(You have been reading TECHknitting on: moving increases wrongly positioned in the row below)


marjorie said...

Are there any instances in which you would not correct an error this way--as, for example, if you are using a fuzzy yarn like mohair that would make it hard to see individual stitches. (Of course, these yarns are also hard to frog completely, but when you start over you do know exactly where you are.)

Thanks for telling me that washing and blocking would adjust the stitches. I guess I've never been willing to wait that long.

I usually try to avoid this kind of fixing on something with lots of increases or decreases (lace) by using markers and checking or counting the stitches between the markers after I do a motif. I've not used lifelines, but I might on my next complicated lace project so I could rip back to a particular spot if needed. That still is more tedious than the procedure you've demonstrated here.

--TECHknitter said...

Hi Marjorie--thanks for your comments and questions.

As far as avoiding the problem in the first place, markers and attention are naturally the optimum solution! It is only when this approach fails that the crochet hook gets called out.

The considerations for moving a stitch or ripping back are these: There is always a balance between the damage you are going to do by ripping back or unhooking a fuzzy or delicate yarn like mohair vs. the improvement you will get by moving the stitch. Frankly in fuzzy or novelty yarns, where the increase may be next to impossible to see anyway, it might be best to just let the increase stay where it is. A delicate yarn may get so beat up by ripping or unhooking that it takes on a different texture, and this may call greater attention to the area than the misplaced increase would have. So, if the misplaced increase/decrease is in fuzzy or novelty yarn, and is on a sweater or a hat, it may be best to leave the error alone.

Of course, this is not true for an openwork shawl where the regular pattern of increases and decreases make up the beauty of the work. In that case, the increase or decrease must be moved, or the whole point of the garment is lost.

So, if the error involves moving an increase and/or if the yarn is smooth-ish, and/or if the error is noticible (the increase line along a top-down raglan sweater, an increase pattern in a lace shawl) then this method is a good time saver.

Further, although you'd think ripping back was the gold standard, yet depending on the delicacy of the yarn, moving a few stitches by these methods may be the better choice over ripping back--even in a lace shawl. After all, these methods involve moving only a few stitches, whereas ripping back can involve hundreds and hundreds of stitches, and many yards of valuable and expensive yarn being manhandled--to say nothing of the possible discouragement from loss of all that time and effort.

Final thought: I haven't tried every kind of yarn there is (particularly the newer soy and bamboo yarns) and your results, as they say, may vary. However, In my experience, the repair you get from moving a decrease or an increase in woolen yarns will be unnoticible--unfindable, actually -- after blocking, wearing and washing.

Thanks again for writing. Your questions, as always, illuminate the subject.


beautyredefined said...

Thank you for this (and for your blog in general!)

I've just had to redo a line of increases in a top-down raglan since one of them was off. It took me while to notice, and then to realize that it would bug me enough if I didn't go back and fix it, so I had a number of stitches to pull out. Eventually, I figured out how to do my increase (knit into the stitch below) correctly, and I got all the stitches in their spot.

Unfortunately, I tightened up on the first few stitches by quite a bit, so the last stitches I laddered up are quite loose. Are there any tips and tricks to re-distributing tension? I know that over time it tends to work itself out, but this is quite noticeable at the moment.

Thanks again!

--TECHknitter said...

Hi Beauty:

There are several things you can do to fix tension.

First, and most obviously, you tighten up loose stitches poking at the surrounding stitches with a crochet hook or the tip of your knitting needle, and physically redistributing the yarn over several stitches to the right and left of the loose stitches.

Similarly, you can use a hook or needle tip drag more yarn into the tight stitches.

Another main category of fix is, as you note, to wash and block.

A final sort of fix is not for the fainthearted. A reader of this blog noted in the comments that, to distribute tension, it may be wise to let out a runner which encompasses several columns of stitches, and then to hook these columns all up again. Hooking up several columns means that the tension will be better distributed.