Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Correcting errors in the rows below, part 1: moving a decrease

Let's say you look at your work and discover to your horror, that several rows ago, you made a decrease in the wrong spot. This happened recently to a reader of this blog, who wrote that she was loath to rip back, because her error was made on a circular object, each round contained over 200 stitches, and the error was several rows back.

Not to worry, there was no reason for her to rip back all her work to get at the error. Here's the trick for moving the decrease to the correct spot without ripping out any work at all, even when you are already several rows or rounds past the misplaced decrease. 1. (Above) The decrease SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE with the red stitch and the purple stitch, but instead, was MISTAKENLY MADE with the purple stitch and the blue stitch.

2. (Above) Slip your way through your work until you have your needles poised over the error. (There is more information about slipping in the last note, below). Between your needles, drop down a giant runner, turning all the stitches ABOVE the red, purple, and blue stitches into the rungs of a giant ladder.

3. (Above) Create the decrease on the red and purple stitches, where it should have been in the first place. (You create the decrease by simply drawing one stitch in front of the other, placing whichever stitch in front that will cause this decrease to match your other decreases). Next, hook the ladder rung immediately above the red / purple decrease through both of those stitches. Finish by hooking all the remaining ladder rungs above through, in turn, such that every ladder rung turns back into a stitch in its own right. Finish by placing the last stitch on your left needle. (Although this is not illustrated, the easiest way to perform the hooking operation is with a crochet hook, but if you haven't got one, a spare knitting needle or even a large darning needle will work to pull the rungs through the stitches.)

4. (Above) Lastly, hook the rungs of the ladder remaining above the blue stitch so as to turn them back into stitches in their own right. Finish by replacing the last stitch back onto your right needle. Your decrease has been moved to the proper spot.

Three final notes
  • These illustrations show a decrease which was made only one stitch away from the correct position. However, even if your decrease is misplaced by 3, 4, 5 or more stitches, you can still use this trick--just let down a GIANT runner encompassing all the stitches (those wrongly decreased, those where the decrease SHOULD have been, and all the stitches that lie between). Then, move the decrease, and hook everything back up again, working from left to right, as shown. (True confession: it doesn't actually matter if you work from left to right or from right to left, but pick one method, and stick with it. Being methodical will help you keep track of what you've done, and what remains to be done.)
  • When you first try this, don't be frightened. Even just one released stitch makes a MUCH wider ladder than the illustration shows. The illustration is out of scale because an in-scale illustration would be so wide as to go off the page. Persevere, and you will see that a crochet hook and some concentration will tame all those wide, loose ladders back into knitted fabric.
  • As you can see, in the illustrations, the needles have been worked around to the scene of the action by slipping the stitches. I think there are two reasons why slipping around to the scene of the crime is superior to knitting your way to that spot. First, by slipping, you wind up with the same number of stitches on both sides of the runner, but if you knit around to the scene, you'd have one stitch more on your right needle than your left needle. Second, by slipping around, you don't have to worry about the running yarn getting tangled in the work. Of course, you can knit your way around to within just a few stitches, then slip the rest of the way--as long as just a few stitches on either side of your runner have the same stitch count on left and right needle, this little maneuver will be easier. If you do use the slipping method, then you are done with your repair, just slip back to where you started, and you'll never know there was an error in your work.
(You have been reading TECHknitting on: moving decreases wrongly positioned in the rows below)