I Love a Good Do-Over

One of the best things about knitting is that most yarn is very forgiving. If you mess up on a project, you just knit backwards. If it’s really bad, you just take it off the needles and wind it back into yarn.

I’ve even been known to hook a project up to the ball winder and go wild winding. Within a few minutes, the whole thing is made back into yarn. Sadly, a few projects have gotten to undergo that more than once. You’ve heard about that Noro, for example. Frankly, knitting time is too precious to spend on something that makes you crazy so if I don’t see myself wearing or gifting the finished garment, I try to end it quickly and give myself time to find the right pattern or a different inspiration.

But some projects aren’t that bad, they just start off a little wonky. Take the new baby blanket I’m working on, for example. It’s lovely and I really like the pattern, but I should have done a smaller swatch and played around with it a bit before I started away on the blanket, which is 170 stitches wide.

It looked good in the beginning.

The baby blanket, looking like a great start.

Eventually, I started to see how the pattern lined up and at the same time, realize that in previous rows, that didn’t happen the way it was meant to.

Here's where I was when I discovered the error. It stopped me in my tracks, mid-row even.

I thought about tinking (knitting backwards) but it was probably 10 rows at 170 stitches a row. That’s a lot of tinking, not to mention that this thing has yarn-overs and decreases in it, which are hard if not impossible to tink without dropping stitches. Next, I thought about the ball winder, but the first two and a half inches of this are knit one-purl one ribbing and that would be a pain to re-knit (it’s a lot of shifting back and forth). So, I decided to take inspiration from my friend Donna who just takes it off the needles, rips back and picks up the stitches. She’s a lot more accomplished knitter than I am though, so that was kinda scary.

It wasn’t as hard as I had feared. Once off the needles, I handled it pretty carefully because pima cotton is slippery and I didn’t want the stitches to run. I also discovered is that if you go down a needle size, it’s easier to pick up the stitches. With my interchangeable needles, that was quick and easy because all I had to do was switch the tips to the smaller size and then change back when I was done.

Pretty soon, I was back to the ribbing.

Post-ripping. I was pretty pleased with myself because I didn't drop a single stitch.

I’m now cruising along pretty nicely on this. Of course, there are still a few mistakes but now that I know how it’s supposed to line up, I can adjust so no one but me will ever know they are there. And of course, if there were no mistakes, how would people know it was handmade?

I do so love a successful do-over. Redemption at its best.

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