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You Didn't Ruin Your Project: How to Handle Knit and Crochet Mistakes

Dropped StitchI like to say that the first rule of knitting and crochet is that everyone makes mistakes. Then the second rule of knitting and crochet would have to be that making a mistake is not the end of the world. Yarn is wonderfully forgiving, and in most cases mistakes can be fixed with a few tricks and careful fingers. At this time of year there can be a lot of pressure on crafters making knit and crochet gifts to finish projects quickly and perfectly the first time. Here at Lion Brand we wanted to share some of our own stories of making mistakes and how we fixed them.

"I knit my first hat in a beautiful sparkling yarn. Halfway through I realized that my join was twisted, so my hat was unsalvageable. It did make a great cowl, though!" - Jess

Jess used a great, time-honored technique of designers and crafters: a mistake is a design element. She could have ripped back and re-started the project, but instead she embraced that her work would be a horribly flawed hat, but an excellent mobius-style cowl. With a little more yarn, she could even make a hat and cowl set with both the correctly joined had and the twisted cowl.

"I knitted a cowl in garter stitch and realized I missed a stitch and had a little hole; when I was done, I cut off a little piece of yarn and tied the two stitches together to close the hole. I just made sure to wear the cowl so that the knot was on the “wrong” side.  Since I was knitting in garter stitch, the tied pieces blended in perfectly." -Brandyce

Dropped stitches can be one of the most frustrating mistakes in knitting, particularly because they can ruin so much of your hard work. When you realize you've dropped a stitch, the key is to stay calm and handle your project carefully. Lay your project down on a well lit horizontal surface, and survey the damage. Then you can use the tips from our previous post: How to Fix Knitting Without Frogging.

"I am a knitter who loves working in the round.  When I made my first crochet sweater in the round, I was used to working in rounds without stopping.  When I read the crochet pattern, I missed one very important word: "turn."  I didn't really notice my mistake until I divided for the front and back.  At that time I was working back and forth.  I quickly saw that the fabric created by working back and forth (the same effect as working one round, TURNING and working back) looks totally different then the fabric created when you work the crochet in continuous rounds.  Oh well, I thought, RIP.  I've never felt too bad about ripping something and starting again. It just gives me the chance to do it again better!" - Patty

The instructions in a pattern will often have one or two tiny details that make a big difference in the finished project. Missing a little words or phrases like "turn" can trip up even the most experienced crafters. Reading over your pattern a few times before starting can be a helpful trick, and referencing a picture of the finished pattern can help you catch mistakes before they require you to rip out to many of your stitches.

For more tips on fixing, avoiding, and above all staying calm and having fun while you work, see also:

Do you have a great mistake story, or fix-it tip? Share your stories and suggestions by leaving a comment below.