Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Lost Stitches -- Or, how to Avert Panic Mode When you Realize you've Dropped a Stitch

So yep, it happens to all knitters.  

I dropped a stitch this morning. Quite spectacularly, too, I might add.  I couldn't figure out why my stitch-count on my Cable Sweater was one stitch short. 

Lo and behold, I found the offending dropped stitch, seven rows down from where it should be.   I'm just grateful that it was one of the increase stitches in the sleeve, so that it could only unravel so far.  Once it hit the M1 increase(video link),  it had nowhere else to unravel. 

If it had been in a cable, this would have been a lot more complicated.


The first thing you do when you've dropped a stitch is panic.

The second thing you do is secure the offending stitch where it is.  I like to use safety pins.  Especially if you have several dropped stitches, this becomes a necessity so that more stitches don't unravel.

The third thing you do, is you take a crochet hook, stick it in the offending stitch, and work (in this case, from the back, since it's a purl stitch) up the knitted work. If it were a vertical column of knit stitches you'd work from the front.  You can't see it very well on this picture,  but there will be laddered 'bars' of yarn where the stitch unraveled. You hook those with the crochet hook and pass the previous stitch over, until you get to the top of your knitting where you should be.

And the last thing is to rejoice that your knitting didn't need to be unraveled.  I know this picture isn't the best, but it should give you an idea.  The stitch that fell is the second last one on the left, which, as you can now (hopefully) see, is back on the needles without a problem.

Also, in the last picture, you can see that this left some residual tension weirdness (there's still some laddering, you can see my hand showing through).  That happens sometimes.  It should sort itself out as you continue to knit, and if it's a serious issue, blocking the finished piece can also help.  In the absolute worst case-scenario, if you're not willing to frog back to fix the laddering, you can stitch it closed (carefully, or it'll show) with a tail end of yarn, but it's rare that you'll have to do that.

So, I hope that helps at least a few people.  

And I promise I'll get better at photographs as soon as I figure out how have two hands on the knitting while holding the camera at the same time.  :D Maybe I should invest in a camera stand or something. . . 

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