5 Basic Rules to Help Avoid Mistakes in Your Knitting

Whether you are a new knitter or a seasoned knitter, we ALL make mistakes in our knitting. No one is perfect, so mistakes are going to happen. But, there are some things you can do to give yourself a leg up and maybe avoid some of those mistakes. I’ve got 5 basic rules that I go by.

Rule #1: Count your stitches often

It’s one of the most basic of knitting rules. Know how many stitches you are supposed to have after each row and count them often! New knitters especially will have a tendency to find some extra stitches when they have forgotten to move the yarn between the needles, switching from purl stitches to knit stitches.

Those pesky slanty stitches (yarnovers) that come out of nowhere!

If you count your stitches after each row, you will be sure to catch those extra stitches before you’ve gotten too far past them.

Rule #2: Admire your work often

Admire my work??? Yes! Stop every now and then, and take a good look at your knitting. Even give it a little tug lengthwise and widthwise. Are the stitches lined up the correct way on your needle (not twisted or backwards)? Does the pattern of stitches look the way the pattern diagram shows you? Do you see any weird loops hanging out of the fabric, meaning you may have dropped a stitch? Or something is there that just doesn’t seem right?

These things will be very evident when you are giving your work those little tugs. Again, finding these things sooner, rather than later will cause you much less angst.

Rule #3: No television!

When you are working on a bit of a challenging project (especially a lace pattern), DO NOT knit in front of the television. I guarantee that you will lose your place and make a mistake.

A perfect example of this is the Felted Clogs pattern I have taught many, many times as a class at The Spinning Room. It is a popular class – the finished slippers are so, so, so comfortable.

At the end of every first day, when they are being sent home with their homework, I say to them, “DO NOT do this homework in front of the tv!” I emphasize it strongly because these particular instructions have short rows which make it very difficult to keep track of where you are. Concentration is of the utmost importance.

Without fail, upon return to the second day of class, when I ask how their homework went, at least one person confesses, “Well, I was watching tv…” This causes them frustration, but now they know not to do it in front of the television! (Rule #3 1/2: Listen to your knitting teacher.)

Rule #4: Know your knitting philosophy

Are you a project knitter or a process knitter? Knowing your knitting philosophy will help you deal with your mistakes.

A project knitter is in it for having a finished project, something to wear/use/play with, at the end.

A process knitter is in it to find out how knitting works and make the best finished product because of the techniques involved.

If you are a project knitter, and you find a mistake – maybe a purl where a knit should be, a few rows back – you may be more likely to just move along knowing it won’t be noticeable in the finished product. (This is ME, by the way. I am completely, without a doubt a project knitter. No surprise there – I’m impatient and never want to have to go back if I don’t have to.)

If you are a process knitter in the same circumstance, you will hate that the mistake is there….

…and most definitely go back to fix it. Even if no one else will notice, you will know it is there and know that the project was not completed as it should have been.

Maybe you are somewhere in the middle of those two, and it depends on the project you are knitting or maybe even if you are giving the item away.

Either way, it helps to know your knitting philosophy. If you are a process knitter and try to talk yourself out of going back to fix a mistake, you won’t be able to stand it a little while later and then have to rip back even more of your work!

Rule #5: Remember that no one is perfect

Go back up to the second sentence of this blog. “No one is perfect…” Remember that! It’s ok if you make mistakes in your knitting. We all do it. The key is: Do you know how to fix it? Or do you know who you can ask to help you fix it? That’s all there is to it.

If you know how to fix it, that’s great! Some of these tips will have helped you find your mistake sooner.

If you don’t know how to fix it, you’ve got a few options:

Option #1: Go to your local yarn shop – many are very willing to take a few minutes to help you out for no charge. If it is a major mistake, you may need to schedule and pay for a private lesson. It would be well worth it though, because then they can teach you how to fix it yourself next time!

Option #2: Find a friend who knits that can help you.

Get it? That’s a “Friends” clip! hahahaha

Option #3: YouTube is a great resource for finding videos for fixing mistakes.

Option #4: Keep an eye on this blog! I’ll be writing some posts with step-by-step pictures and instructions for fixing common mistakes.

Do you have any rules you go by to avoid mistakes in your knitting? Leave a comment down below!

7 thoughts on “5 Basic Rules to Help Avoid Mistakes in Your Knitting

  1. The thing I often do is use 3 x 5 cards to write out row by row some of the directions. This especially works for m if f it’s an area that I think it’s going to be tougher or if I’m going to be watching TV so that I check each row off as I finish.

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