Knitting/Tinking, it’s all the same action

I have recently been obsessed with knitting the Brooklyn Tweed lace shawl Tilt. It is not a difficult pattern to knit (rated 2 out of 5) for difficulty) but it is a knitting marathon. Using about 1160 yards of fingering weight yarn, and with 8 stitch increases every other round, it’s not long before you have over 600 stitches on your needles. And still have a lot more knitting to go.

It’s a fine and even quite pleasant until you make a mistake. Even though this is rated 2/5 for difficulty, it should be rated 5/5 for correcting knitting errors. In most instances when you notice a mistake a few rows back, you can dig down and correct the error. I say that like it is an easy thing to do, and for the most part, it’s quite straightforward. A knit can be turned into a purl, a purl to a knit, a yarn over dropped or created. But it’s not that easy with this shawl.

This pattern, Tilt, does just that — it tilts. Every other row, the knitting pattern moves over a stitch, giving the lovely effect of the tilt. It is quite a gorgeous effect and makes for interesting knitting because you can easily read the pattern. But it is nearly impossible to correct an error that occurred a few rows down.

(This isn’t a photo of an error, it’s to show you the way the pattern tilts — first to the left and now on this second to last section, to the right. If you happen to find an error, keep it to yourself please.)

The other day, while happily knitting on my commute to work, I noticed a section where I reversed the pattern.  I did a yo, k3tog, yo in the place where I should have simply knit three — and I merrily did that a few times.  I know it’s only knitting and it’s just a shawl that I really don’t need anyway, but when I discovered that series of errors, I went through all the stages of grief:

  • Denial– that’s really not an error, I am just reading this wrong. The light on this train is terrible, it’s all really okay. Just to be on the safe side I’ll put it away for now. It’s not a problem, it’s probably not even an error.
  • Anger – WTF! how could I do that? it’s such an easy pattern, what was I thinking! What a stupid pattern – who would try to move things over every row and make it next to impossible hard to fix?
  • Bargaining – I’ll just try digging it back, I’ll put in a safety line, even though I’ve looked my nose down at those things, and I’ll go slowly and I’ll be ever so patient. And it will all be fixed. But first I’ll have a glass of wine. And then I’ll tell the world what a wonderful pattern this is.
  • Depression – I can’t do this. It’s a a bust. I can’t fix this by digging down, I’m making a mess and then I’ll have to unravel the whole darned thing. I don’t know why I want to knit anyway. I hate knitting right now. I hate this shawl. I’m going to bed.
  • Acceptance – Alright. I miss knitting. I can fix this and the best way to do that is to tink (that’s knit backwards) unknit all the way around and around back a few rows until I get to the error. It may take my entire holiday to do that, but it’s the best way to fix it.

And with the new found acceptance and a safe plan, I did just that. I tinked back two and half rounds. At over 600 stitches per round at this stage, it was no small feat. In doing this I discovered a couple of things. Going back like that was a full-proof way to fix the error. I tinked right back to the problem area and then re-knit it the right way. And that felt good. It was fixed, it was fixed right.

The other surprising thing I learned was that knitting or tinking, it’s all the same action. I mostly knit because I like keeping my hands busy, heaven knows I don’t need another shawl or scarf. I just like to knit. And whether it’s going forwards or backwards, it keeps my hands busy and my mind focused.

It wasn’t so bad after all. Really.

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