Lion Brand Notebook

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Spring Lace Shawl Knit-Along: Tinking

April 17th, 2014

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KAL_BADGE_2014-300x180Welcome back everybody! I hope you all had a fun week of swatching and getting started. This week I want to focus on something that is inevitable with lace knitting and many of you may have already run into…mistakes. The most common mistake in lace knitting is missing a yarn over. It is such an easy mistake to make that even veteran lace knitters make it from time to time. How do you know if this has happened to you? If you get to the end of a row and don’t have enough stitches to complete the pattern, you have missed a yarn over. Although it may be tempting to just add a stitch and move on this will throw off the whole look of the pattern. To fix it you’ll have to get to the root of the problem. I’m going to give you a couple tricks to help find the offending missed yarn over and fix it.

The first thing you’ll want to make sure of is that you don’t go too far past the mistake. One good thing to do is to count your stitches at the end of each lace row. Being able to “read” your knitting is another helpful skill. This is like retracing your steps to find the spot where things went wrong. Just read through the pattern stitch by stitch and try to recognize those stitches in your row. The yarn overs are the easiest to recognize, just a big hole. If it says YO in the pattern and you don’t see a hole, bingo! You have found it! This can be difficult to do so don’t worry if you can’t see it at first.

Now that you’ve found the spot you have to get back there in order to fix it. So lets meet the lace knitter’s best friend, unknitting or “tinking.” This allows you to go back stitch by stitch rather than just ripping back and having to struggle getting all of those stitches back on the needle. To tink just pull your yarn to the left so you can see a hole below your stitch, put your needle in the hole, transfer the stitch and pull the yarn out. Continue in this way until you get back to the missed yarn over.

Where this gets tricky is with the decreases. For the k2tog, work in the same way. Just make sure you have the needle through both stitches. For the ssk enter the stitches from behind like this:

tink2

Then flip the stitches around so they are mounted like all of the other stitches.

Now for the sk2p, lift the stitch that was passed over back up onto the needle:

tink3

Then undo the k2tog.

Once mastering tinking there will never be a knitting problem that you can’t get yourself out of! I can’t wait to hear about everybody’s progress this week. Post pictures so we can all see and keep the questions coming!

About Grace: Grace DiLorenzo has been knitting for the last 10 years. What started as a hobby quickly grew into a passion. Her favorite things to make are garments and lace. As a teacher at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City she has been able to share her love of yarn crafting teaching beginning through advanced knitting and yarn dyeing classes. She has lead the first four in studio knit alongs and is excited to do it again! grace_200px

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  • Christine Harrison

    Thank you so much for this very helpful article – I have done a bit of lace knitting, but I always dreaded making a mistake (in fact, I was too scared to correct the errors I’d made in my first piece of knitted lace, so the end result was not the best!). This will give me a lot more confidence to try a piece of lace knitting again: there are so many patterns I would love to do!

  • Kit

    Great article on fixing the dreaded mistake in a lace pattern.

    If I make a lot of mistakes when knitting a new pattern or using a new technique, I stop with knitting my project piece, and go make a practice piece with spare yarn, sort of like an extended swatch, so I don’t have to worry about anything but practicing the stitch pattern or new technique until I am not making so many mistakes, and then go back to my “real” knitting once I get the hang of the technique. Doing a practice piece often saves me time on learning a new skill, and then I have to do less “fixing” my “real” knitting.

  • Vicki C

    I’m screwing up everyday and now I think I have done a major screw-up lol I’m trying to fix this but if I can’t I will be back for help. I may need to rip out some of my stitches and start over. Why I’m having issues I don’t know.

    • Grace DiLorenzo

      I think this happens to everybody at some point. Its almost like a rite of passage for a knitter. I once ripped out over half of a sweater, so go ahead rip, rip, rip. You just get to have fun knitting it for a little longer!

  • Vicki C

    I think I have my knitting to where I made my mistake. I seem to end up with 32 stitches instead of 33 so I go back and correct my mistakes. Not sure if it’s yo’s or what. Here is a picture of my knitting so far. Does it look like it’s suppose to?

    • Grace DiLorenzo

      This looks great so far! If you are ending up with 32 stitches then you most likely missed a yarn over on the previous lace row. Try tinking back through that row and see if you end up with 33 then give the row another try.

  • Julie Sparks

    I have made a number of lace or ripple patterned items and found that stitch markers are my best friends. Placing markers at the end of each repeat makes it very easy to spot an error at least by the next row, if not as soon as you finish each repeat, depending on how many stitches there are. Your eye gets used to what it should look like after the first few pattern repeats and almost automatically counts for you without thinking about it.

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