VKC: Quick tip on un-knitting (and my work-in-progress)

Hello, hello! I’m sure you can guess what I’ve been up to lately. Right, more packing. Not an exciting topic of conversation, so let’s move on. I grabbed a few minutes for a mini knitting tip. A tiplet, if you will!

Sometimes you have to un-knit part of your work-in-progress. It’s often called ripping or frogging. Frogging is an onomatopoeia… “rip it…rip it”… get it? It stinks when you have to do it, because it means you’ve screwed something up. But it happens. There are a couple of good, basic, ways to do it…

  • One: Pull your knitting needles out, and rip out the yarn back as far as you need to go. The trick is then you have to insert your needle back into a row, and that can be hard to do without accidentally dropping stitches or losing your place in a pattern stitch or lace.
  • Two: Un-knit each individual stitch in each row. It’s a slooow way to work, but can be helpful if you only have to go back a row or two, or you’re working an in-depth lace pattern and you don’t think there’s any way you can pull your needles out and find your way back again. 

(Full disclosure: okay, so there are other ways to do this… you can insert a knitting needle several rows down and rip back to that, but it’s almost impossible to do in a pattern stitch. If you used a lifeline, you can also rip back to that. But the two above are basic techniques that I think a lot of knitters use.)

I like a combo of both methods! Especially if I’m working in a pattern stitch. It’s loads faster than un-knitting rows of work, and not as difficult as trying to rip a bunch of work and inserting your needle into stitches that are hanging out in space, hoping you can keep the stitches in pattern.

So here’s my tip: Pull your knitting needles out, and rip back to one row before the last row you need to remove. If you need to remove 8 rows total, rip back 7 rows only. I like to count each row as I pull the yarn out so I don’t go too far. Then I simply un-knit the last row using my left-hand needle, stitch by stitch, working left to right. Each un-knit stitch goes back on the left needle.

Once you’ve worked across the row, you have every stitch on the needle, exactly in pattern. Much easier than if you rip back completely and have to pick up those stitches that are hanging out in the air. Then all you need to do is continue knitting. Yep, that’s it. It’s a lot easier than ripping back to the row you need and trying to orient things in a pattern.

A pretty easy way to complete a task we all hate to need to do. 🙂

The pattern I’m working on here is So Neat and Sweet from A Stitch in Time vol. 2. I’m knitting it with Quince and Co. Finch, one of my new favorite yarns. I think this will be a great pullover for spring (which appears to have sprung early!). I’m picturing it with a nice patterned silk scarf tucked in at the neck, similar to the vintage version in the book. Though I’m woefully lacking in the scarf department, I definitely need to work on that!

Somehow in the middle of packing I’ve managed to knit the back and over half the front. It’s a stitch pattern that was easy to memorize, so I don’t have to sit down with a chart like my stranded pullover. I can just dive in. And right now, that’s about all my head can handle.

The colors are a little off in these photos, but it’s a nice buttery yellow. I think it will be a perfect staple pullover. Once we move and I dig out the sewing machine, I’m thinking a lovely 40s or 30s skirt. I believe I have some grayish blue gabardine… what do you think?

Anyone else knitting something from A Stitch in Time right now? I love the first volume, but I’m just adoring the new one!

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Golly, 16 Comments!

  • I’m always so mesmerized by how one, teeny, tiny little row, multiplied by a billion, turns into a gorgeous sweater like the one you’re working on will be someday soon ! Even though I’m poor knitter at best, I really want to check out that Stitch in Time book (how we LOVE historical reprints of anything)…

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  • Yummy knitting! I’m almost done with my beret from A Stitch in Time Vol. 2 (just the bows left to whip up) then I’m going to swatch and cast on the Ribbon Threaded Jumper. I adore this book even if most of the projects are pretty daunting to me! I really want to get vol. 1 too.

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  • I love that colour! :o)

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  • Lovely stitch pattern- I really like the effect of small reapeat patterns like that. I’m currently working on the Sun-Ray Ribbing from vol.1 in deep red. After doing the front about a month ago I finally cast on the back a couple of days ago. Hopefully now I’m back on it I’ll get it finished up quickly!

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  • I went by my local library the other day and on a whim asked if they had Stitch in Time vol 1. They didn’t but sent a request to another library so hopefully I’ll be able to loan it anyway! I have been thinking about buying the book but decided to be cheap and check it out at the library first.
    I am knitting my own Briar Rose at the moment in a lovely pistachio green wool. Your knit along posts are excellent! Thank you!

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  • I’m knitting the Kasha cardigan from Stitch in Time 2, just cast on today so not much progress so far. Isn’t it the most beautiful knitting book in the world? I just adore it 🙂

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  • I love that pattern. I really need to get hold of these two books- I know I would love them 😉
    Right now however, I am knitting a lovely 50’s cardigan (you can see it on my blog) in cotton, and a 50’s slip-over in a gorgeous merino. I think I need to sew myself a 50’s skirt to wear with them 😉

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  • What a gorgeous colour! I can’t believe you have time for knitting as well as packing and moving, well done!!

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  • Wow that looks amazing and such a gorgeous colour! Thanks for the tips and good luck with the packing! XxxX http://thesecondhandrose.blogspot.com/

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  • I really need to buy that book! I love books but I haven’t paid $50+ dollars for a book since college. There are so many great patterns in that book.
    I’ve been meaning to ask you, where do you buy your yarn? Michael’s is great for small projects but I don’t know about making sweater and hats.

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    • You are right, Michael’s and other similar craft stores are not really good places to buy yarn for garments. I do most of my yarn shopping online, actually. There are lots of nice and inexpensive choices at KnitPicks.com, which is a good jumping off point if you want to step up from craft store yarns. 🙂

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    • Thanks for the website. I’ll have to try them out.

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  • I cannot knit. I shall have to sate my desire by drooling over your close ups.

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  • I never knew that was where the term frogging came from!! It makes so much more sense now…

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  • I always seem to miss items in the book until I see someone else has knitted it up! I shall investigate your one now.

    So far I’ve done Cryselle (which I just used a cheapy 4ply on and I LOVE it!) I’ve just done Summery And A New Pattern and I’ve also knitted up Helen and one of the scarves as xmas gifts. I’ve now gone back to Vol 1 at the moment! LOL!

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  • Beautiful colour! It really shows off the stitch pattern. In fact, I have to give that pattern a second look after seeing your version.

    I’m working on Jan from Volume 2 at the moment. It’s a surprisingly quick knit and I can’t wait to wear it. Hopefully it’ll be done before the seasons change and it becomes too cold to wear it!

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