Our mistakes are our greatest teachers

Until three days ago, I was a die-hard tinker when it came to backing out my work to correct mistakes. Frogging terrified me, because the image I had of it was like the photo below from from the loveknitting blog:


All those hard-won stitches hanging vicariously in the balance. My lack of skill at getting those precious stitches back on the needles kept me from ever trying frogging, even when tinking meant a considerable investment in time and patience.

But as I started tinking the 20 rows I needed to back out of my Swirl sweater due to a rather bone-headed error, I quickly saw the pattern of where to grab the stitches below the row I was pulling out. I first experimented with grabbing several stitches and then pulling out the working yarn across that part of the row. When I found how quick and easy this was, I wondered if there were a way to anchor the stitches just below where I started to go wrong with my pattern so as to rip all those rows out more quickly. That’s when I landed on the “lifeline” approach to frogging.

The image below from Knitty clearly illustrates how to set a lifeline so as to be able to rip out all that error-riddled knitting with abandon and not risk dropping any stitches in the good work:


I’m not sure how this technique would work if your piece contains yarnovers, cables, or other stitch patterns that cause stitches to not be worked in the standard order. I have a feeling it wouldn’t be as straight-forward as with your basic stockinette or reverse stockinette, as I have on my Swirl, but it is nonetheless a really handy technique to have at the ready when it’s needed.

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