Every now and again while knitting it is common to come across problems. One of which is the unraveling of stitches, which is frustrating, to say the least. However, there are solutions, and today we’re going to dive into all the ways you can repair unraveled knitting and get back on track with your stitch work.
So how do you repair unraveled knitting? There are several methods we can use to solve this often encountered problem. One of which is a process called tinking, which involves un-knitting what you have done up until that point, in order to start fresh and avoid the unraveling.
Fun fact: the word tink is ‘knit’ backward, which explains the name.
Another method is to make use of your crochet hook, as it will allow you to pick up loose strands and pick up dropped threads without too much difficulty. A crochet hook is an invaluable tool in knitting, and fixing dropped threads is one of the areas where its utility really comes into play.
How To Repair Unraveled Knitting
Whether the unraveling happens as you are working on something, or after the fact, this guide will help you restore your stitch work and get to a place where you’re happy with your work.
Let’s start with the most obvious, and perhaps the most commonly used method for dealing with unraveled knitting. Tinking, as I mentioned in the introduction, is essentially knitting backward. By doing this, it is as if you were to go back in time to a previous point in your stitch work.
This is done either to fix a mistake you notice in the stitches, or as a way to start over, which is useful in the case that your threads are unraveling.
Tinking is easily done, and if you know how to knit, it should be a piece of cake. All you’ll need is the needle you used to knit the fabric in the first place.
The process of tinking is very straightforward, and I’m going to talk you through it now.
- The first thing you’re going to want to do is insert the main needle you were working with into the hole right below and behind the stitch of your other working needle.
- Now, simply push that stitch on your working needle off the needle while also pulling it out.
- Once you have done this, you will have undone the loop, and you are now free to do whatever you want with the thread. Continue to do this as long as you want, until you are at the point at which you are happy to start the process of stitching again.
- So if your stitch work has unraveled, you’ll want to go back to the stitch right before it starts to get messy, then start over, tightening up the stitches and essentially repairing your earlier work.
We love this video by Knit Purl Hunter for you visual learners.
When you find yourself in a tricky spot with your knitting, either because you dropped a stitch, or because the whole piece you’re working on has started to unravel, you can always rely on your crochet hook to help you out.
First of all, dropping stitches and unraveling as a result of this are a common occurrence, especially when first starting out with knitting, so try not to be discouraged if this happens to you.
As to how you can recover such dropped stitches, and essentially re-knit your work, there are a couple of solutions.
The first implies that you have literally dropped a stitch, in which case, all you have to do is pinch directly below said stitch, in order to prevent it from unraveling further. Then, pick it up again by using your needle from the front, and re-work it into your pattern.
The next method is the trickier of the two, but is essential to know, since it will allow you to sew with more confidence in the future. Knowing how to save a seemingly bad situation in sewing is an extremely useful skill, and will save you a large amount of time in the long run.
So, if you’ve noticed that your knitting has unraveled, the first thing you should do is find the loose thread above the last stitch. Re-knit this thread, and then get your crochet hook ready, as you’re going to use this to sort out the dropped stitch.
It’s important to note at this point, that by no means should you pull or stretch the fabric you’re working on, as this will only lead to more unraveling and ultimately, a more stressful situation.
With your crochet hook, you’re going to insert it into the dropped stitch from the front. Then, take hold of the ladder stand, and pull it through the stitch towards you. You’ll want to repeat this for all of the loose ladder strands, re-knitting them until you’re happy with the result.
We love this video by Creatiknit which shows you exactly what we’re talking about.
How To Prevent Your Knitting From Unraveling
Now that we’ve seen some of the ways you can bring back unraveled stitching to its earlier state, and recover your previous hard work, let’s take a quick look at something you can do to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Using A Lifeline
Using a lifeline in knitting refers to the act of placing a row of waste yarn into your work as you go along, so that you can unravel safely. Unraveling safely means that you can unravel your knitting without worrying about it completely coming apart, which can quickly turn into a nightmare.
Say you are knitting something white or even black, you are going to want to use a contrasting color to use as waste yarn, so it stands out, such as yellow or red. This will allow you to carry to knit with what is essentially a safety net below, allowing you to save your progress and go back to that point should you make a mistake.
Waste yarn can easily be acquired either by purchasing some cheap colorful yarn online, or by using leftover yarn from another project that you might have laying around the house.
Using a lifeline is the kind of strategy that can really help you out whatever level you are with your knitting. If you are knitting something complicated, or you think it will be a long undertaking, then I strongly recommend that you use lifelines along the way to hold your place and allow room for error.
The last thing you want is to make a mistake and realize that you will have to unravel the whole thing to fix it, especially if you have just knitted a difficult row in your work.
All you have to do to fix an error when you have the lifeline in place, is slide the needle out from where you are currently working, then tear away the knitting until you reach the lifeline. Then, use your needle to collect the stitches on the lifeline, taking care not to pick up the waste yarn.
In order to insert the lifeline into your knitting in the first place, there are a couple of ways you can do it.
- The first method is threading the waste yarn (preferably cotton to avoid fuzziness) to a small tapestry needle before feeding it through the row of stitches where you want the lifeline to be.
- The second method is to tape the waste yarn to one of your needles, and then knit the desired row in your work. This method can be a bit trickier as the tape can catch on the fabric, but at the same time, makes life easier as you will just be knitting like you usually do but with the lifeline attached. When you reach the end, simply remove the tape, and your lifeline should be securely attached.
How can you avoid common knitting mistakes?
We all make mistakes, especially with something as challenging as knitting can be, but there are some things we can do to make our lives easier. By following these simple tips and tricks, you might find less need to deal with unraveled knitting, as you can avoid it getting to that point in the first place.
Always count your stitches – While this may seem like a painstaking process, it will actually help keep you focussed, as well as help to prevent issues such as having the wrong number of stitches, or dropping stitches.
Practice your grip and technique – Not all stitches are created equal, at least, not if we use different tension to create each one. For that reason, it’s important that you work on using the same tension as you knit, so that the stitches look even and neat when you are finished. This will also prevent you from having to go back, or tink, in order to rectify messy stitches.
Get to grips with your crochet hook – Last but not least, realize that the crochet hook can be your best friend in knitting. As I mentioned earlier, crochet hooks are indispensable when it comes to fixing dropped stitches. Since dropped stitches is such a big problem, especially when starting out, knowing how to use the crochet hook well can prove critical to knitting successfully.