If you have too few stitches, make sure to check out Mistakes Part 1, since that’s the tutorial about disappearing stitches!
I have more stitches than when I started. What did I do?
There is a huge chance you figured out a way to do something wrong that was, up until now, undiscovered by humans. But if you didn’t, you probably made something knitters call a ‘yarn over’. If you did, you have also found the reason you have holes like this in your knitting:
Those holes we will have to fix at the end, but they can be fixed. So don’t worry about them for now. Let’s look at what you did to create them instead. A yarn over is what happens when you wrap the yarn around your needle between stitches, basically creating a new, ‘fake’, stitch. Sometimes patterns call for this, but a lot of times beginning knitters do this by accident.
Now, take a look at the stitches currently on your needle. See how every stitch seems to come from a line of little v’s? When you make a yarn over, the new ‘stitch’ doesn’t have anything like that. It’s just a fake ‘stitch’. Also, the stitch on your needle will look all wonky.
Well, that’s nice and all, but how do I fix it?
In Mistakes Part 1 I explained that to fix a mistake, you have to deliberately make the other mistake. So if you accidentally increase, you have to decrease to fix it and vice versa. If you made stitches that shouldn’t be there, you’ll have to remove some stitches. You’ll do this by ‘knitting two together’.
Knitting two together is something that’s often done on purpose to decrease the amount of stitches. In a pattern, it would look like ‘k2tog’. When reading a pattern, K always means ‘knit’ and P means ‘purl’ (look at the previous entries if you have forgotten what purling is). So ‘k2tog’ means knit two together, see? Patterns may look scary, but they really aren’t.
But how do you do it? Well, just like I said! Instead of sticking your right needle through just one loop, you stick it through two at the same time. If you knit very tight, this may be a bit difficult at first. Just make sure you stick the needle through the actual loop and not through your knitting.
Then you just pretend you only have one loop on your needle and knit just like you always do. And as you’ll see, where you had two loops on the left needle, you will end up with only one on the right. That’s all there is to it! Good job! Just count how many stitches you have too many and knit two together to decrease by one as many times as you have to. However: please note that two stitches knitted together doesn’t look as pretty as a ‘normal’ stitch. But if you think about how many stitches will be in your finished product, you understand you probably won’t ever notice it, don’t you?
If you need to make a lot of stitches disappear and want to make sure it won’t be as noticeable, make sure to space them nicely, maybe put about twenty ‘normal’ stitches between them and you won’t ever notice they’re there.
What you just did is called ‘decreasing’ and of course there are many more methods to do so. If you already know of a different method, feel free to use that! And if you stay with me after you finish your scarf, you’ll learn many more.
But how do I stop those ugly holes from showing up?
We’ll fix the ones you already made when your scarf is ready. However, if you paid attention to the pictures in this entry or to your own work, you’ve seen that a yarn over is a lot bigger/wider than a normal stitch. So when you get to one you made in the previous row, you’ll be able to see it’s different. To fix that, you simply knit in the back of the stitch! Just like I showed you in Mistakes Part 1. Instead of knitting normally and then again in the back of the stitch, only knit in the back of the stitch and your yarn over will not leave a hole.
But I’m very clever and noticed I made a mistake just a few stitches ago! Can’t I go back and fix that mistake instead of adjusting the amount of stitches later?
Of course you can! Just check out Mistakes Part 3: Tinking!
If there is a part of this you just don’t get, very soon there will be a video about all the ‘Mistake entries’. If you don’t want to wait, just send me an email (email@example.com), let me know on twitter (@PurpleProphecy) or use the ‘ask’ funtion on this blog!