To fix, or not to fix...

I've been thinking about mistakes in my knitting. And making a few mistakes in my knitting. And spending a lot of time musing on where the cut-off point is between living with an error, and investing some time in fixing it.

Somehow I did an increase instead of a decrease and now my lovely chevrons have a lump in them!

Somehow I did an increase instead of a decrease and now my lovely chevrons have a lump in them!

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I'd managed to mess up my Briochevron Wrap a few times. The first time I noticed I had gone wrong, I ripped the whole thing back to yarn and started again. Having got a bit further and spotted another error, the project is now marinating while I decide whether to sort it out or keep pushing forward. I'm erring towards leaving it and ploughing onwards. The wrap is for me, and much as I like perfection, I'm more interested in finishing the project and being able to wear it than I am in it being exactly correct. The irritation at the mistake is definitely affecting my desire to work on it though.

I'm currently working on a new design and many rounds later, I've spotted a mistake in the pattern. It's not massively noticeable, but I know it will bug me. I have a few options open...

Rip back
I could rip it back to just below the mistake and correct it. If I take this option, I normally rip back (remove the needles and pull the yarn out) to just above the error. Then I put the stitches back on the needles (usually slipping them to smaller needles to make it easier to pick them up), and using the correct sized needles I tink (un-knit) back to before the mistake. You can of course just rip back to below the problem, but it can be tricky to pick up all the stitches correctly, and tinking the final round ensures that you've caught everything correctly.

Drop and correct
I could drop just the section of stitches that are incorrect, and then work them back up with a crochet hook, or double-pointed needles, to fix the mistake. This is a great way of fixing errors without having to rip everything back, but it's a bit fiddly and certainly not a last-thing at night activity. It's particularly useful for a small mistake in a large piece (for example, a single mis-crossed cable in a sweater). In my case this is going to be extra fiddly as there's quite a bit of detail on top of the error, so a whole panel would need reworking. It still might be faster than ripping though...

Live with it
Depending on the type of mistake you've made, it's more than possible to live with errors. Really it is! If the project on my needles was just for me or a friend I would doubtless just live with it. It's honestly not that noticeable, unless pointed out (why do we do that?!), and it doesn't really affect the finished item at all. As it's a sample for photography, things are a bit different so I probably can't go with this option.

For now, I'm going to pop the project on spare needles and start its pair. I'll knit up the second one, and then see where I am for time. I should have plenty of time to fix the mistake with either drop and correct, or if that doesn't work out, then ripping back, but by getting the other part done, I'll know how much time I have left. If the worst comes to the worst, I might need to live with it.

Fixing mistakes also depends a bit on the type of project you're working on. Some stitch patterns lend themselves more easily to mending errors than others. Part of my problem with the Briochevron Wrap at the top is that brioche stitch doesn't really lend itself to dropping stitches and correcting. It's also easier to squeeze in an extra stitch (if an increase has been omitted) than it is to remove the slack from excess stitches (if a decrease has been omitted, as it has above). Whereas fixing a missed yarnover in lace, or re-crossing a cable is fairly simple.

At knitting group on Tuesday evening, we were chatting with a new knitter about ripping out our knitting. She was really surprised to hear that we still make mistakes in our work, despite our years of experience. My response to these conversations is always the same: I quote the Yarn Harlot, who once said that experienced knitters don't stop making mistakes, they just make bigger mistakes, more quickly! That's definitely how I feel about my knitting these days.

How about you? Do you rip it, fix it or live with it?