There are mistakes that make you feel like a fool, and there are mistakes that make you feel like a fool but teach you something.
I’ve now picked out the rows with the wrong yarn dominance on Mara’s sleeve, and I’m back on track with the sleeve knitting. This was a mistake that made me feel like a fool and taught me nothing. Well, not exactly nothing. It should have taught me to read my notes, but I know this kind of error will persist as long as I can hold a pair of knitting needles. I suppose it is the knitting gods way of keeping me from getting too big for my britches.
There was another mistake a while back that did teach me something about fixing errors in stranded knitting. Despite the care I had taken to check my work each night and the following morning, slapping myself on the back for achieving near perfection, I spotted a stitch that was the wrong color:
How could I have made such a mistake and missed it entirely? How could I have knit so many rows before noticing? I suppose everything I know from watching cop shows on TV is right: Eyewitness accounts aren’t reliable.
This error was in the center back, and so I imagined people staring at it behind my back, where it would act as a beacon attracting their attention. The morning after the discovery, I played the “can-you-find-the-mistake?” game with DH. He responded with a “no-not-again” look on his face, and he said he couldn’t find it—but he always says that. Or what’s worse, he will point to something that is perfectly fine on my knitting and suggest that I rip, just to keep me in practice. DS was also given this test on Mara’s back and he stared blankly at the knitting, unable to figure out what I was so insistent was a glaring mistake.
I appear to have split the plies on the salmon yarn, and knit it instead of the red. I’m guessing that when I measured my work, a few stitches fell off the needle, and I didn’t put them back carefully. But I could not leave this as is.
My first response was to do the knitting equivalent of sweeping it under the rug—duplicate stitch. And this did work to disguise the errant stitch when I tried it. But that didn’t really make me happy because the mistake would always be there. I wondered about dropping down stitches to fix the mistake, just as I would for one color knitting. But this raised the specter of having to tink back dozens of rows should the operation go awry.
I spent some time searching to see if there were any bloggers who fixed dropped stitches in stranded knitting, and there were a few encouraging bits of advice. So I decided to practice on my swatch by deliberately dropping a stitch and then picking it up. If it didn’t work, I’d only have a messed-up swatch.
It turns out that dropping stitches in stranded knitting is not as horrible as it might seem. The yarn is sticky, and you have to pick out the stitches above the mistake with some force. This is what a column of intentionally dropped stitches is like.
After practicing, I marked the row I wanted to drop on Mara’s back.
Using a crochet hook and some care, I was able to knit the stitch in red and then pick up the stitches over the correction.
When blocked, this fix will be invisible. It is only a bit more difficult than duplicate stitch, and it gives a much better result.