Screw up? Tink back or frog further

I am writing this post as an act of contrition.

This shawl was at the 18th repeat of twelve rows when I noticed a big hole.

Thursday.... conference on Down Syndrome in Worcester. Two hours of riding shotgun to knit. All day, nearly, to knit during the lectures. I was so excited. I had hoped to finish my Mermaid Boneyard, having it ready for FO Friday. But then, you know what happens if you get the least bit cocky? The knitting gods give you a slap and a pinch and you need to atone for being overconfident.

I sat during the day, with my beautiful knitting in my lap, and I knit away. Eyes focused on Powerpoints and speakers, glancing down only periodically to check my progress. Cuz I can do that now. :P

Well, 18 rows later, rows that were 240+ stitches long, I discovered a mistake. Oh course I said to myself, "Go ahead, you know how to fix this, just ladder back to the problem stitch, fix it and hook the stitches back together as you ladder up again". Not so, not so at all! It was so bad that I asked for help at my LYS during Friday Knit Night.

I did try to fix it, but bowed out deferentially to the EXPERTS. They were able to find my mistake, which was caused by knitting into a split in the yarn. After repairs, there was a huge extra column of empty space left from the yarn in the mistake area. The prognosis was, rip back to that problem row, plain and simple.

Oh. No. Shit.  For the rest of the evening I patiently tinked back (for those of you who aren't knitters.... Tink is Knit spelled backwards, which is exactly the operation I was doing, picking apart stitches as I tried to get back to the row of the mistake).

Ok, you heard me when I said these rows had 240+ stitches right? I was making such sloooow tinking  progress that today, I was inspired by two experts and their descriptions of their transgressions that I bit the bullet and went  All. The. Way. Back.

Now the funny part..... Stephanie Pearl McPhee and Franklin Habit have blogged, publicly to all of us readers, that they too make mistakes and work to repair them.  I am proud to be in such illustrious company!

Franklin's blog, the Panopticon is great reading, funny, inspirational, and informative. Here is his WIP and the story. Please read it, I think you will enjoy his humor. And BTW, the sweater is beautiful!

Newest book by Stephanie Pearl McPhee. Image imported from

Stephanie Pearl McPhee writes The Yarn Harlot. She is a prodigious knitter, designer, teacher, and writer. Lately, she has been traversing the country, doing book talks about Free Range Knitter, her new book. (If you have never read a Yarn Harlot book, you really should give it a go, she writes the things we knitters all think about, but she makes it hilariously funny).

In her blog, Yarn Harlot, she described her challenges with her intended Rhinebeck sweater and the ensuing mishaps, (found at the end of her entry on October 23).

Basically there were two problems, one involved burnt fiber. How did it get burned you ask.?Well it was in the oven of course. Wait, you don't block your sweaters in the oven? You are missing out on that wet dog odor my friend.

The other problem was a mis-crossed cable, that no one would have noticed, but you know how some knitters are, no mistakes will be tolerated. Trust me, if you start reading her posts, you Will Laugh. And yes, she fixed the sweater.

So I have been humbled, I have apologized to the Knitting Gods, and I have found respite in knowing that even the experts are brought to their knees.


Patricia said…
I think knitters have a little bit of OCD in their genetic makeup! If I know there is a mistake, I cannot forget about it. I tell myself no one will notice, but I KNOW IT IS THERE and it haunts me like a stone in my shoe, until I frog back and fix it. Love the colors of the shawl.
grandmastatus said…
I didn't even notice ANY of her mis-crossed cables. But at least she pulled through and got it done. And with no more fire. That's always good...
And uh.
I honestly CAN'T believe you tinked back one 240 stitch row, let alone 18! Wow.
Erin_in_Boston said…
Reply to Grandma status...
I heard a tiny voice in my ear as I began to ladder back, saying don't do it, don't do it. Shoulda listened. I now have knit almost up to where I was before ripping back. I just wish I had let it be. I got cocky thinking "I know how to fix this..."
FoFo said…
I'm so sorry!!! I do it often. I'll drop a stitch or do something wrong and have to tink or frog and it drives me nuts! It's the best thing to fix it though.
Amy said…
Sad face!!! I'm sorry :( perhaps leaving an offering to the knit gods will help?
erin said…
aww haha. a lot of times I try to tell myself something along the lines of - would I rather use the yarn to make something awesome that I'd really love, even if that means frogging and knitting twice? or would I rather finish it as it is and then bury it under a pile of other knitwear, never again to see the light of day, because I'm so ashamed of it?

but guess what - your shawl is going to be beautiful!!
kiwiyarns said…
Oh dear. Poor you! I can sympathise about the ripping back. Did you find it therapeutic? I do. Unless it's bamboo or something nasty and slippy, I find I can pick up the stitches again easily at the point I want to stop at, and at least the act has been done quickly!

The shawl will be gorgeous when it's done. I'm looking forward to seeing it!
Evelyn said…
As you wrote, it happens to the best (and most experienced) of us. But true, it sucks no matter what! Sorry, dear friend....
Inky077 said…
I am as surprised by the fact that I will look at an ENTIRE project and say, yep frog it for something else as I am for even THINKING about not going back to fix an error. You chose wisely! Indiana Jones would be proud ... Peril of the Lost Knitting Day, lol.

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