Seventh-Inning Stretch: Mood Cardigan

By Kay Gardiner
August 27, 2020
Field Guide No. 15 celebrates open hearts, open minds, and the open stitches of modern lace knitting.

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  • In your case, only two rows back, I would use safety pins to hold the few stitches that need to be undone, turn the piece over and correct with a double pointed needle. I absolutely HATE ripping out rows!

    • Learning how to read your knitting, and just the discipline of learning lace knitting, was and still is so “grown up” to me! It’s the little things that put me in my happy place. And we all need that when the so-called real world gets a little too loud.

    • ooh. what a good idea!

  • This is my first lace project (I completely replicated Kay’s Mood Cardigan in Cooper Circle, so original of me!). As I look back over the first 12″ I’ve noticed a few errors, but they’re so hard to discern that I’ve made the very atypical for me decision to live with imperfection. Very liberating!

  • I feel your pain!
    This is exactly why lace is so intimidating to me!

  • OK, I’m the Philistine here. I’m not a lace fan, and I like to wash my knitted pieces more often than others seem to, so blocking is a PITA. If I WERE a lace fan, I’d have so many lifelines in there, they alone would constitute a pattern.

    As for fixing mistakes – in relatively plain knitting i have little trouble. Where I have issues is when the error is at the selvedge, or one or two stitches in. If it is the edge stitch in something to be seamed, it can often be ignored, since it will be hidden. If it is a visible edge? That’s what makes me rip back, and it makes me angry that I have to.

    • I’m so with you on those edge stitches. No matter how I try to fix them, I just end up with a worse mess and have to undo the rows all the way back. There must be a trick to this, but I haven’t found it.

      • So does anyone have a solution to fixing mistakes on the edge?

  • It’s nice to know that even much more experienced knitters than I go through this! Every time I have to fix something I remind myself I’m gaining experience, or sometimes it’s an exercise in letting go of some unrealistic idea of perfection—if no one can tell where the mistake is, I can leave it and move on. The other day I was working a simple garter stitch and discovered I had an extra stitch. I had no idea where it came from and couldn’t see where it had come from, so I k2tog and moved on. It was liberating!

  • Ah yes, this has become a concentrated knitting project for me. I like the pattern, sometimes I can whiz along with ease, and then sometimes not. I think my mood plays a part, if I’m just not ‘with-it’, I get quickly lost + don’t make that dreaded #3 part (pass the stitch over), so . . . I know when to the quit early on (after trying to fix the mistake) or leave it be for a while.
    This cardigan though is such a delight! I like the idea, the quirkiness, the specific pattern, the whole process makes me think 3D, dimensionally. My brain is getting a workout and that’s just what I need a this moment in 2020.

  • Thank you so much for that incredible video on fixing lace! Wow! So helpful!!

  • Amazing tutorial on fixing lace knitting! Brilliant!

  • When I have to rip out rows (i.e. when I can’t rip back a few stitches and correct an error) I pull out the entire needle, rip out the rows, and when I get to the end of the row where I need to pick up, I take out each stitch one at a time and add to the needle, rather than undoing the whole row and having the live stitches loose for too long. There’s less of a chance I will miss a stitch.

    One time I used this method with fair isle and found I had gone back one row further than I originally planned. I could look at the pattern repeats though and knew which row I was on.

  • I once forgot a series of 8 or more YOs in a complicated circular lace shawl. That meant I had fewer stitches and insufficient yarn to just tweak back. I went back and carefully spit spliced extra yarn into each of the 10 rows above the mistake so that I could fix just that portion. (There about 800 stitches on the needle, ripping back was not an attractive option.)

    • Wow! Good idea!

  • I am such a chicken about ripping back, that I unknit each stitch, until I get to the bad boy. I call it negative knitting.

    • I call it Tinking Which is knitting backwards and I am a pro. My husband says I get so much out a project as I often knit and thik so many times it is like I get twice for my money. Amazingly enough we are still married.

  • You have a way of describing yarn that makes me itch to get my hands on it, Kay!

  • Wow! That was brilliant!

  • Oh gosh, I feel ya. I’m working on a baby blanket for my new goddaughter and I had to rip back TWICE. Putting 156 stitches on the needles three times was not fun.

  • I have learned to love “laddering down” to fix mistakes but, oh man, Jen’s video is laddering on steroids! Her best practices for pinning down the work and color coding the working yarn strands in order are brilliant. Thank you for sharing. I can’t say I’m hoping for a lace mistake that many rows back anytime soon but feeling gutsy to ladder down more aggressively.

    I’m a D.C. girl and such a fan of Neighborhood Fibre Co. Love seeing the Rustic Fingering. Beautiful.

  • It is only an error…if the mistake affects the construction of the project…otherwise I just move on…deb

  • Perfect timing for this tutorial! I am in the process of swatching for this project and am feeling intimidated that maybe I’m just not up to the task of a lace piece. The repeats are simple to learn but, yes, I sometimes get distracted and omit a step and wonder how to fix the mistake without ripping back. I also love the feel of the rustic fingering yarn from Neighborhood Fibre Co and know I will love the finished sweater. It’s such a brilliant design and I think I’ll wear it in the “upside down” orientation.

  • My grandmother showed me this trick: she used crocheting thread #10 and a needle, she threaded every stich . It was her lifeline. She pulled it off every so often depending on her chosen lace pattern and would repeat the process of rethreading. If a mistake was made, she simply went back to that row, all her stiches were ready to be picked up. Throughout t the years I have seen this being used in lace knitting: The Lifeline. Hope this tip helps. It saved my nerves and minimized frustration.

  • I wouldn’t dare take all the stitches off the needles!! I just knit back along to the spot above the mistake and only unravel the offending section then, once fixed, pull the stitches back up with a crochet hook. Mind you I have tinked a 300+ stitch row of lace when I’ve ended up with the wrong stitch count and not been able to work out why! It’s looking gorgeous though Kay.

    • She purposefully made that error so she could show how to fix it. Obviously if the error was made “for real” it would have affected the row.

      • I don’t have to purposefully make errors, they just happen.

  • That was a great comment ,Kay. That was a great fix. Here is my question…how come that mistake did not carry through the whole row? I am trying to knit this pattern. I have restarted it 3 times and I am about to give up. When I make a mistake the pattern is then off for the whole row and I rip back almost the whole piece. Very frustrating. Any comments?

    • The particular mistake that I made (failing to slip one stitch over) doesn’t affect the rest of the row; you only notice it on the next RS row when that repeat has too many stitches.

      I actually prefer the mistakes that mess up the rest of the row because you notice them right away row and don’t have to deal with them after you’ve already knit another row on top of the mistake.

      If you are making mistakes that mess up your ability to work across the row, my advice is to place markers every 2 or 3 repeats. That way if you mess up, you know it when you get to the marker and your stitches are off, and you only have to go back a few stitches to see where you made the mistake, and can correct it.

  • Oh man, I am not the only one to skip that third part of the stitch! Good to know. I am making a To The Point blanket by Rosemary Drysdale and that stitch is used in the corners.
    Sometimes I fix it, sometimes I don’t. I fudge joining the strips together and it mostly blocks out fine for a blanket.
    Happy Knitting everyone.

  • great video! It also helps that the tutor has a melodic soothing voice as she coaxes us to give it a “go.” The first 2 minutes was like a wonderful motivational speech on life!

  • Fabulous tutorial on ” Fixing Mistakes in Lace Knitting”>

  • Ithis VIDEO

  • Kay, please model this when it’s finished! Thank you.