Lion Brand Notebook

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Did You Know…? How to Fix Knitting Without Frogging

September 6th, 2011

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Picture this: you’re knitting merrily along when suddenly you realize that on the previous row, you somehow purled where you should have knitted and knitted where you should have purled. You only did this on two stitches and then straightened yourself out, but you didn’t even notice it until now. Do you have to rip out the whole row you just knitted to go back and fix those two stitches?

Nope! The good news is, it’s actually really easy to fix a mistake like this. It can be a single stitch you got reversed or a whole grouping, but you’re going to work one stitch at a time, and you’re going to do the same thing on each stitch. You can do this with just your knitting needle, but you’ll find it easier with a crochet hook (something close in size to your knitting needle or slightly smaller). Please read all the way through the steps to make sure you understand what’s going to happen before you start. Here we go:

  1. Remove the first stitch to be fixed from the left hand needle.
  2. Slip the top loop out of the next loop down (this is the stitch that’s going the wrong way). This will leave you with a “bar” of yarn, either in front of the next loop down or behind it, depending on what kind of stitch it was.
  3. Move that bar to the opposite side of the loop. If you want the stitch to be a knit, start with the bar in back of the loop; if you want it to be a purl, start with the bar in front of the loop.
  4. Use your crochet hook or the tip of your needle to pull the bar through the loop, creating another loop.
  5. Place the new loop on the left needle and work it as to continue across the current row. (There’s a great visual of steps 4 & 5–which are essentially just picking up a dropped stitch–available in our Learn To Knit center.)

Repeat steps 1-5 for each stitch you need to reverse.

Note that you can do this for multiple rows, even if you have some correct stitches above a mistake stitch. Just drop all the way down to the row below the mistake and then pick up the stitches in the correct orientation. What determines whether to use this method or go ahead and rip back is usually just a comparison of time and effort: which is going to require the least amount of both? For instance, if you’re working on 50 stitches and you somehow screwed up 45 of them three rows back, you’re probably better off just ripping back because it does take some time to drop each stitch down and then bring it back up again. But if you only messed up five of those stitches? Definitely just drop down, fix them, and be on your merry way once again.

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  • Gamma22

    Most of the time I have no problem using a crochet hook to fix a stitch (or even a group of stitches), but I have yet to figure out an easy way to do this when a “pattern row” is involved, especially when it involves yarn-overs and k2togs.  I’m sure there’s a way, but I think I’d just as soon “tink” back and try again.

    • Yarnie One

      :)  That’s why I never knit with a pattern stitch that has more than about four rows.

  • Sbat

    RE:  Gamma22 same for me.  I can do purl and knit stitches but anything else i have to ripp it out.

  • Cwelling85x

    This is such a cool site — I know it’s a promotional (ad) site, but I learn something of value or get a great pattern every week, and this idea on fixing a reversed stitch is typical. Thank you so much.

  • LadyShael

    I feel really silly…I know what FROG MEANS, but I don’t know what the exact words are the initials’ FROG’ stands for.  I have been knitting for 50 years, but never ran across the term before this year.  I have so many patters handed down from grandmothers, mother, mother in law and aunts and even a grandfather!  I just never needed to go to sites for knitting patterns before.  I see a sweater, shawl etc and I can usually take a good long look at it and then go home and do my ‘take’ on it.  I don;t want it to be EXACTLY the same, I want it to be MINE!  a fairly recent move far away from a city with stores and a lot of crafting detail outlets – to a really tiny village, left me yarn and pattern hungry though, so I began to look on line and came across the term FROG, and too embarassed to ask!
    Thank you!

    • June

      Hi – Well, FROG is not an acronym but just the expression for ripping out mistakes, and doesn’t a frog go “rip it, rip it, rip it”?  This is where the FROG comes from, the “rippit” “rippit” “rippit”.  I hope you get the idea from what I’ve written.    June

    • MLM1956

      Don’t feel bad…..I wondered what “Frogging ” meant also. I got my good laugh for the day! :)

  • PMMcDaniel

    I agree with Gamma22 and Sbat, it doesn’t exactly work for lace.

    And LadyShael, it isn’t what the initials FROG stand for, it’s the sound the frog makes:  “ripp-it.” 

  • LadyShael

    PMMcDaniel,
    Thank you so much!  At last I know  LOL That is cute, and I appreciate your kindness in letting me know – AND so quickly! 
    Much Appreciated,
    Mary

  • June

    Sorry, I realized that someone else has already answered your question.

  • Cookie

    Hey, does anyone know what the pattern is on the sweater above it is beautiful and I would love to make it!!!!!!!  Help!!!!!

  • Cookie

    Hey, does anyone know what the pattern is on the sweater above it is beautiful and I would love to make it!!!!!!!  Help!!!!!

  • BikerChicKnits

    Is there a video on knitting fixes for this and other tips?   I’m not sure I follow this but next time I have to fix a mistake I’ll have these instructions in front of me.  Thank you.

    • Zontee

      Hi there, we don’t have a video for this specific skill, but there are many knitting and crochet videos from many different sources on YouTube.com. Try a search for things like “fixing a dropped stitch” to see what videos are out there from yarncrafters like you :-)

  • Mwelsh120

    Thanks for all the information.
    Looking for a knit or crochet pattern for ladies shrug (looks like a scarf with sleeves)

    • Zontee

      Just go to LionBrand.com and type “knit shrug” or “crochet shrug” into the search box and click “go.” You’ll be able to browse all of our shrug options in that craft.

    • Gamma22

      Go to the top of the page and click on “Home”, then from that page look to the top right – there’s a box for searching either products or patterns.  Type in “shrug”, you’ll get 56 results (well, that’s what I got!) and you can choose from there.  Before I choose a pattern I always look at how many people rated it with 4 or 5 stars and I always, ALWAYS look at the reviews – you’d be amazed at how many people will mention any problems they had and how they fixed them.  (Confucius says,  “Learn from the mistakes of others, you won’t have time to make them all yourself.”)  I’m going to be making a shrug or two for this winter so I can turn the thermostat down, so it was a good reminder for me to research my pattern.  So thank YOU for the nudge!

    • Yarnie One

      :)  you could just make a wide scarf or a shawl and seam up the “sleeves” of it.

  • Crispyemma

    Two knitting terms I have never heard before this week are ‘frog’ and ‘tink’.  I am Australian and have never heard either of them until my new-to-knitting friend, Angeline, used them. I believe ‘frog’ is knit-slang for Rip-it-out, but not sure of tinking, although as tink is the word knit backwards, i’m guessing it is the process of un-knitting back to the mistake, a method I prefer to frogging.

    • Karyn

      You are right tinking is unknitting back to a mistake.

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  • Jessica

    I am quite prone to mistakes so I check my knitting and crochet projects after every one or two rows for any slip-ups. Counting that I have the right number of stitches at the end of each row is helpful for realizing a mistake when I still have a chance to redo the row.

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