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I have found myself with needles and hooks in my hands much more than ever over the last year. This makes me very happy. It also causes me great frustration at times.

I spent some difficult hours last weekend working a hat. The pattern is straightforward and very well written. I have worked it several times. It wasn’t the pattern that was the problem, it was me. I want to share what I learned and tips on what you can do to make your project go smoothly. Knitting and crocheting should always be enjoyable!

No matter how many times you have knit or crocheted a pattern, no matter how many times you have done that repeat, it is always possible to make a mistake. There is nothing worse than getting through 100 + stitches only to find that you missed a yarn over, did not Knit 2 together or misunderstood something in your pattern.

The hat that I was knitting is done with a very fine yarn, making it a lacy open fabric. On the final row of the ribbing I needed to increase 8 stitches. I increased the 8 stitches and began working the pattern. When I got to the end I found my count was off. Too many stitches for the remaining pattern. I counted my stitches and verified that I had the number needed. What did I do wrong?

– Make notations in your pattern before you begin.

In this case I had made a mistake reading my pattern causing me to increase the wrong number of stitches. My pattern has 2 sizes, I was working the larger. When I read the bracket for the increase I mistakenly used the larger number (in my head it made sense, my hat is the larger size therefore I need a larger increase right ?? ). Any pattern I have used that has multiple sizes has the smallest size written first, then in brackets it shows any changes to be made due to size differences, generally these changes will be in a different color. Before you start, go though your pattern and circle or highlight the appropriate numbers or instructions that pertain to the size you are making. I recommend making a copy of your pattern by scanning or copying with your printer, that way if you need to reuse your pattern it will be unaltered.

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– Don’t be afraid to rip back

I began the design part of my hat. Many times I found I had too few stitches or not enough. This required me to take out a row or two of stitches. I use “tinking” to go back through my knitting and remove stitches until I get to the source of the problem. Tinking or unknitting, is great if you have only a few stitches to go back. If you have rows or have to perform a correction several times, this can become nerve wracking.

There are many ways to safely rip back your knitting so that you don’t lose your hard work. I have always been afraid of frogging (ripping back) because I never had very good results from it, therefore I always stuck to removing one stitch at a time or ripping everything out and starting again. Hence my frustration.

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I have learned alot about ripping back or “frogging” from doing research on a number of sites. I plan to use what I have learned in the future when I have made a mistake and need to go back and fix it.

Cynthia Spencer has a video on Youtube that speaks to many common knitting mistakes and how to fix them. She also demonstrates ripping back. I highly recommend taking a look! You can find her site here.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, everyone does which is why there is so much information available on fixing them.

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