Monday, March 24, 2014

A faster, easier way to tink

Unraveling, tinking, ripping-out, frogging*: these are all names for un-knitting already-knit fabric, and there is a range of methods for doing it, from slow-but-sure to fast-and-bold. Today's post shows a combo method--fast, yet sure.

BACKGROUND:
At the slow end of unraveling, there is tinking. "Tink" ("knit" spelled backwards) means to unpick knitting, working backwards down the row to transfer each stitch from needle to needle, while pulling the running yarn out of each stitch in turn, during the transfer process. Worked over a long stretch, this stitch-by-stitch approach is dull work, yet many knitters do it patiently, preferring to be slow but sure.

At the bold end of unraveling, there are the knitters who slide the work off the needles, yank out arms-lengths of yarn until the target row is reached, then pick the bare naked loops onto a needle. The upside of the bold approach is speed. The downside is the necessity to grab the naked loops without a lot of manipulation so as not to start ladders or draw the yarn out of nearby stitches. In practical terms, this leads to ply-splitting and stitch mis-mounting during the pick-up process.

If correcting split, mismounted stitches on the fly is not a problem for you, just keep on doing as you are doing now, no need to read further, you expert, you! However, if you're a tink-er wishing for more speed, today's post shows a combo method.

COMBO METHOD
It is possible to slide the work off the needles, yank out yarn with abandon, yet slow down as you near the target row and catch the underlying loops perfectly: no ply-splitting, no mis-mounting, and here's how.

  • Slide the work off the needles
  • Unravel by pulling out yarn, as fast as you like
  • STOP one row (or if you are cautious, two rows) short of the target row.
  • take a very thin knitting needle in your active (knitting) hand, and unravel the last row(s) as shown in the below you-tube video. 



Note that you ARE splitting the plies of the EXISTING stitch (the one you're removing).  However, once that stitch has been pulled out, the underlying stitch (the one you want on the needle) is correctly mounted and unsplit.

Using a very thin needle speeds pick of the stitches of the target row. Further, you do not need to slide the stitches onto the original size needle to begin the re-knitting process, you can knit them right off the thin needle.  This is because the stitches you're catching onto the thin needle were originally formed over a needle of the correct size.  The thin needle is simply a holder.  As long as you work the new row with a needle of the correct size, no fabric-distortion will result. For further reading on this subject, here is a link to a whole post about it.

CAVEAT:  As neat as this trick is, I myself wouldn't do it on lace, or on anything knit with silk.

OBLIGATORY update on the color-knitting book I am supposed to be writing: yes, I am working my little tail off, but MAN oh MAN is it S-L-O-W.  Still no target date...

Good knitting! TK

*frogs say "ribbit-ribbit," sounds like "rip-it, rip-it," yeah?

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much! Having to do a lot of tinking these days, so much appreciated.

Glad to hear you're doing well. Keep up the good work (sigh).

March 24, 2014 at 8:22 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Neat trick! If I'm frogging back multiple rows, I use a thinner needle to pick up the stitches on the row to which I wish to get back to, then remove the needle from the top of the fabric and rip back. And hey presto, everything is good to go and ready to get back to the knitting.

March 24, 2014 at 9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so glad you're back, I've missed you!

March 25, 2014 at 12:00 AM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Dan--I used to do it your way (thread needle through fabric before unraveling) but I'd still wind up splitting plies about half the time, which then required me to proceed as shown in the video. Evidently, you are more careful (or have better eyes!)
Thanks for writing, TK

March 25, 2014 at 9:22 AM  
Anonymous Marymath said...

So glad to "see" you again...just love this blog. Can't wait for your book/let...will be worth it, I'm sure!

March 28, 2014 at 8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoy your blog very much, and your illustrations & explanations are the best! I "unvented" this frogging tip for myself several years ago, so I was gratified to see you include it here. This site is a wonderful reference. Thanks.

March 28, 2014 at 2:39 PM  
Blogger Gina Mccoy said...

How timely and APPRECIATED this tip is for me!! I'm about to have to tink and I've been putting it off because I hate doing it. Love this method and will try it today. Thank you!

Gina

March 29, 2014 at 1:21 PM  
Blogger kbsalazar said...

I use this trick with an adjustable circ - the kind that you use with replaceable needle tips. I make a tinking circ that has a small needle at one end, and the size needed for the project at the other.

I rip back with the small end, then knit the rescued stitches off the same needle from the "regulation" end. This eliminates any need to do another transfer prior to working them.

April 11, 2014 at 12:44 AM  
Anonymous patricia said...

Wish I had seen that this morning! I used the rapid pull, pick up slowly method.

April 19, 2014 at 3:19 PM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi KB: Your two-ended needle trick is very clever! Thanks for writing about it. However, even with ordinary unmatching needles, there is no reason to do any transfers off the smaller needle. This is because the stitches being worked off the smaller needle were already formed around a larger needle. The fact of these regulation size stitches being held on a smaller needle in no way affects their final size. In other words, once a stitch is knit, it retains the size at which it was knit, even if it is later placed onto a smaller needle before having the next row inserted into it. (This is also why you can knit directly off a metal stitch holder, or a smaller cable needle). Thanks again for writing. Best, TK

April 30, 2014 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger ahoneybeenamedmillie said...

I just use a yarn needle and a scrap yarn in another color and thread the loops I want onto the string. Then I can just pull out the messed up rows and the yarn stops the stitches from unraveling.

July 1, 2014 at 2:39 PM  

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