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I Tink, Therefore I Am

I've explained in an earlier post just how easy it is to fix minor mistakes in knitting by dropping stitches and correcting them--but if you've only just made the mistake (there it is, first one over on the right needle, taunting you) there's no need to wait 'til you've knit back to the spot and then drop it. No, you can fix that impish stitch Right Now This Very Minute by "tinking."

If you haven't heard of tinking, it's the new term for "unknitting" that's gained currency in the past few decades. Derived from "knit" spelled backwards, it's the action of undoing the knitting you just did, and it couldn't be simpler.

Remember what knitting (or purling) is ... sticking your needle through a stitch, pulling a new loop through the stitch, and then sliding the new loop off. That old stitch that you initially stuck your needle through? It's not gone, it's there on the right hand side, hugging your new stitch, either in a V (the knit stich) or as a purl bump.

Here is a chain of knit stitches and purl stitches ... note the Vs and the bumps, depending. (When I first began knitting, I couldn't "read my knitting"* to save my life, probably because I was mostly doing garter stitch (which creates an attractive but confusing fabric, alternating rows of knit with rows of purls), but stockinette (all knits) and reverse stockinette (all purls) are much easier to understand).

So let's say you make a mistake, and you knit when you should have purled, or vice versa. Here you see on the right needle, the brutal, unforgiving evidence of that mistake:

Yes, it's a hideous knit stitch hanging down where there ought to have been a purl. The horror! But that's easy enough to fix. We will tink it.

Okay. Deep breath. Recall again what just happened to us: needle in stitch, pull loop through, slide it off, old stitch hugs new stitch. Cool beans. So all we need to do is get that hugging stitch back on to our left needle, and tug the new loop out (by pulling our working yarn), and we'll be back to before.

Stick your left needle into the hugging stitch, following the direction of the arrow:

You have now safely secured that hugging stitch. Go ahead and pull out the stitch off the right needle. Phew! It's back on the left needle where it started. Give the working yarn a tug, and the new loop disappears. We're ready to re-knit the stitch as desired (maybe you wanted to purl, as above, maybe you were supposed to knit-two-together, who knows? The glory is you can now do it!)

Correcting purls are even easier, as you don't have to worry about which side of the hug to pick up:

There. Nothing to worry about, ever again. You can tink to your heart's content now.

(And you don't have to tink only the mistakes--it's so fast and easy, if you notice a mistake a few stitches back, just tink some perfectly good stitches in order to get to the naughty one, then knit them all back--it's faster than dropping and fixing if there are only a few in the way).

Of course, if you have several rows' worth of problems (or of perfectly good knitting prior to just-noticed problems) you won't want to tink, you'll want to "frog,"* but that's a lesson for another day.

Off The Needles

(I've mentioned these before, but haven't posted pictures).

First, I've blocked my Iris, and am now knitting a cushion cover, with the intention of attaching the Iris to the cushion cover (shocker, I have no particular use for an Iris just on its own--the fun was learning to knit it).

And next, the two sides of my sweater sample (from Jacqueline Fee's Sweater Workshop book). It was a hoot to knit, it's just a chance to practice most of the varied knitting techniques that one might use in a sweater, from beginner stuff like ribbing, to more advanced techniques (this might be the first introduction to stranded knitting for many of us, though not me of course), to things I've never attempted before (an actual iCord ... I've done iCord cast-ons and iCord bind-offs, but never just made an iCord--it's perfect for social knitting, completely mindless).

You can use up, as I did, leftover yarn (since you aren't actually making anything--this is just what's left once you've finished practicing all your techniques). Apparently some people seam up one end and make a pseudo Christmas stocking, and I'm sure I read somewhere of a child who insisted it was a dress for her doll (causing her sister to demand her own dress for her own doll).

On The Needles

(I will mark with a ! those projects that have advanced, and !! those projects that are new to the blog.)

!Sophie's Universe crochet project (Part 8: Round 62)

I'm at the point where I'm supposed to block it now! (There will likely be more blocking in the future, but when you finish Part 7, it calls for immediate blocking).

Here are some pictures from a couple of rounds ago. I still can't believe how well this is going, considering this is my first crochet project. There is a ball of yarn for scale (it's Cascade 220).

It's just so puffy and colourful and intricate, I just love it. The downside is that No Other Crochet Project has interested me half so much. It's like going on your very first date with George Clooney, you're just setting yourself up for constant disappointment on future dates with other men (unless you can keep him. Ask Amal for tips).

!GGN Norwegian Ski Sweater (adding the steek stiches and knitting from eventual armhole to neck, 1/2 way through the final chart of the torso piece)

!Persian Dreams Blanket (row 49 of the third hexagon)

Poison Oak by Natalia Moreva (barely begun, and I think I'll restart it with more confidence)

Lerro, by Lee Meredith (finished the 2nd diamond in Section One)

A Church Mouse sock (4.5" through the 5.5" of the foot prior to decreasing to toe)


*read knitting = being able to look at a project and understand what each stitch is, after the fact. Very good readers can go so far as "Ah, here's the end of a short row using the German method," etc. Folks like me are grateful to be able to see "Ah, here are 32 knit stitches."

*frogging = giving up and ripping out great swaths of knitting.

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