emily explains

Emily Explains: What if I can’t find my mistake?

Have you ever been happily knitting away when you look down at your needles and, to your surprise, realize you have the wrong stitch count? Confused, you look over all of your knitting (both right and wrong sides) and can’t seem to find a mistake. What do you do next!?

This happens a lot when I’m knitting, especially when working on the part of a project with little to no shaping to worry about. As I knit, I become familiar with my stitch pattern. I knit with more confidence (usually with a good television drama playing softly in the background) and before I know it, a mistake has been made. When it comes to correcting mistakes in my own knitting, I make my decisions based on how the knitting looks. If you can’t find a mistake, then you can smile and take a deep breath – your piece still looks really nice!

But what do you do about those extra or missing stitches on your needles?  If you’re only missing one or two stitches then you can easily solve this by sneaking a M1 or a Yo near the beginning and the end of the row. Essentially you do the same technique when you find you have one or two extra stitches on your needle. You can solve this by sneaking a K2tog near the beginning and end of each row. Ultimately you can use your best judgment to decide where to place these sneaky knitting techniques into your pattern.

I knit lace, and often I find that I’m missing one or two stitches. By adding an extra Yo here and there I can keep an even stitch count and the extra eyelets that form just add to my lace!  If I have a drastic difference in stitch count, I find the best thing to do is carefully unravel the knitting. I unravel until I reach a row where the stitch count is correct again. I try my best not to fear the unraveling process. Think of it this way, it’s more practice. Your stitching is only going to get better.

There is no right or wrong way to fix knitting mistakes.  Each solution depends on the individual knitter and situation. Everyone has different tolerances for imperfection. Sometimes the best thing to do is make note of where you are in your pattern (so there isn’t more confusion when you return) and walk away from your project for a little while. Take a walk, a shower, have a cup of tea, watch another episode of your television drama, and return to your knitting a little bit later.

I hope this helps you all feel a little more brave when knitting your new pieces! (I’m going to try my best to follow my own advice, too.)

Happy knitting!

11 thoughts on “Emily Explains: What if I can’t find my mistake?

  1. With lace knitting, I have been immeasurably helped by placing lifelines at least every 20 rows. Then if I do have to rip back, I know I’ll only have to go that far!

  2. These words of advice could not have come at a better time. I’m knitting my first lace piece and have had a few extra stitches. I panicked not knowing what to do. I did indeed K2Tog and I feel more confident now with my “quick fix” after reading your article. Thank you! =)

  3. I finally gave in and made the effort to add lifelines! In my knitting,the payoff was pretty much immediate! LOL

  4. I find lifelines in lace knitting are a necessity. The other thing I realized was I needed to really look at the pattern picture to learn the pattern and then look at the work to see if it “looks” right, matching the pattern. I am a bit more brave when it comes to ripping out knitting to do it correctly.

  5. Bit scared of lacy patterns for this reason won’t feel so bad now when I do that. Thought I was the only one.

    1. You are never the only one! Many knitters and crocheters have made mistakes before you, and many more will make more and different mistakes after you. It’s all part of the learning process!

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