Sometimes you make a mistake, and you need to rip back your work. So, you’re unravelling and at some point you need to put your stitches back on the needle.
So, you’re just going to jam them back on your needle, right? Wrong! What are you, a neanderthal? There’s a right way and a wrong way to unravel your work and put it back on the needles. I’ll tell you three ways to do it. When you’re unravelling your yarn and you’re putting stitches back on the needle, it’s really important to make sure your stitches are not twisted. So what does it mean to have a twisted stitch? Let’s take a look here I’m going to take one of my stitches off my needle.
Let’s take a look at the anatomy of a stitch. Let’s make this guy really clear here I’ve taken my stitch off the needle, and you can see here that the stitch is basically a loop. The loop consists of a right side and a left side. For the purpose of this tutorial, I’ll call this the right leg and this side the left leg.
You can think of your stitches like the leg of a cowboy, like a bowlegged cowboy or a cowgirl. So you want to make sure that the right leg of your cowgirl is always on the front of your needle. This is my right leg, my cowgirl’s right leg, and I’m going to make sure that the right leg is on the front.
So when the right leg is in the front of the needle, that means that our stitch is untwisted. It is good to go It is correctly seated on our needle. If our left leg is in the front, then our stitch is twisted. And you can see that it’s not sitting very evenly on my needle.
If I try to knit into it, it’s going to have a bit of resistance. It won’t feel very natural because the stitch is twisted. So don’t get it twisted. Make sure the right leg of your stitch is on the front of the needle. So here we go, let’s put it back on. So that’s our untwisted stitch. So let’s say I wanted to unravel or unknit a couple stitches. I’m not unravelling multiple rows. Let’s say I wanted to go from this stitch over to here, so four stitches or so.
So, how would we unravel those stitches? Well, I would take my left needle and go into the stitch directly below my active stitch. So these stitches are live on my needle, and the stitch right here is right underneath my live stitch. So I’m going to take my left needle and go right into the stitch, from the front to the back, and take that stitch off of my needle. And then pull the working yarn and now that stitch is on my left needle. The right leg is in the front, as you can see, which is exactly what we want.
This is the right leg and it should be in the front, and it just was. Let’s do that again I’ll take my left needle and go directly into the stitch below my active stitch. I’m just kind of stabbing into it from the front to the back, like this.
Take my needle off and then pull my working yarn loose. And that stitch is on my left needle and the right leg is in the front. So we can keep on going for a couple stitches. Here is my stitch below, so I’ll stab into it, take my needle off and undo the yarn.
Here is my stitch below. Stab right into it, take my needle off and unravel. This is a great way to unravel or unknit a couple stitches. So let’s say I want to rip back multiple rows, so I want to rip back to the stockinette stitch portion. This second method is a bit high risk because your stitches are loose and off the needles.
So there’s a risk they could drop and that your stitches will be lost. But if your yarn holds its shape really well and it’s not too slippery, then you could definitely try this method. So what you’d do is literally pull your needle off the knitting, and now our stitches are live. They’re in a dangerous and precarious position. But the stitches are keeping their shape.
They’re not slippery and disappearing. So what I would do is literally unravel it. When I get to the point where I want to pick up my stitches, I’ll take a thinner needle, like this, and then pick up my stitches. I’ll turn my yarn around and just haphazardly pick up my stitches. I just want to rescue them at this point because they’re loose and in the wild, and I don’t want them to unravel.
I’m not trying to make sure that the stitches are untwisted or anything. I’m just concerned with rescuing these stitches and getting them on the needle so that they’re not loose. We’re on a rescue mission and we’re picking up those stitches. Here’s my last stitch Perfect.
So now, my stitches are on a rescue needle, a little lifeboat needle, but they’re definitely twisted. Some of them are twisted, some of them are not I’ll turn my work over, and now we’re going to transfer these rescued stitches onto my needle and make sure that they’re untwisted. So now I’ll transfer my stitches from the safety needle to my regular needle so I can start knitting I can start transferring from my safety needle to my regular needle this way, but because the needle I’m knitting with has a stopper at the end, what will happen if I do it that way is that my working yarn will end up being close to my stopper.
So how am I going to knit with my working yarn like that, right? What I need is for my working yarn to be closer to the tip of my needle. So what I’ll do is start picking up stitches from the back. So I’ll turn my work over so that when I pick up stitches this way, when my stitches have all migrated over to my big needle, my working yarn will be at the tip of my needle, which is what I want If you’re using circular needles or double pointed needles, then it doesn’t really matter. But because I’m using a flat needle with a stopper, the direction that I pick up my stitches in does matter.
Okay, I’m going to get started picking up these stitches. I’m going to make sure my stitches are untwisted as I pick them up. This stitch here is untwisted because the right leg is in the front, so I’ll pick it up like this. This next stitch is also untwisted because the right leg is in the front, same with this third stitch. Doing pretty good so far.
This next stitch right here is twisted, and I can tell because the left leg of the stitch is in the front of the needle. So I’ll untwist it by taking my right needle and going in from the back of the stitch. When I do that, you can see that the right leg is now in the front of my needle. I’m going to go from the back of the stitch and then just pick it off. So pretty easy, right? This next stitch is untwisted, okay, cool, so let’s move it over.
This next stitch is twisted, so I’ll take my right needle, go into the stitch from the back to the front and pick it off. Now you can see that the right leg is in the front of the needle, which is what I want It’s untwisted. This guy is untwisted This guy is twisted.
So I’ll go from the back to the front, and pick it off. Now it’s untwisted Cool If this picking it up from the back to the front is confusing to you, what you can do is manually untwist it. So this next stitch is twisted, so you can literally take that stitch off the needle, turn it around, put it back onto your needle.
Now this stitch is untwisted and I can move it over. So those are two ways you can untwist your stitch. This guy is twisted, so I can manually untwist it, just like that, put it back on my needle. Untwisted, so it moves over.
So now my stitches have moved from my safety needle to my regular needles, and the working yarn is close to the point. My stitches are untwisted and I can continue knitting So this third method for unravelling is also the safest method.
And we’ll take a separate needle that’s a little bit thinner than the needle that you use to knit with. And pick up the right leg of each stitch on a row. Once we’ve picked up those stitches on the row that you want to rip back to, we’ll unravel the yarn and you’ll see that the knitting magically stops at the row where we’ve inserted our needle. That sounds kind of complicated, so let’s get into it and I’ll show you how it works. So let’s say I want to rip back my work down to this row.
What I would do is take my needle and go into the right leg – let’s see Sometimes your eyes get kind of blurry, but let’s see Can I do it? Yes, I can so that’s the right leg, and you can see that the stitch is made up of a V-shape. So I want to go into the right leg of that V-shape.
Here we go If you’re worried that you might not go into the right row, like you might go up a row or down a row, your needle kind of points you to the next stitch over. So here’s the right leg of our stitch, and we’re going straight across. So here we go Just picking up that right leg.
If you ever get confused, or your eyes are blurring, just step back from your knitting for a second, glance outside, and let your eyes unbar I find that helps me a lot. Here’ s my last stitch Cool I’m going to push my needles through.
It looks kind of funny, but you can see that my stitches are held by this little needle here. Now is the moment of truth. This is going to be pretty interesting I’m going to take my big needle off, there we go. Now my stitches are live and I’m going to start unravelling.
Just like this. You will see that my stitches will stop at the brake needle. What’s happening here? Our stitches – I think I’ve put in my needle in the stitch above, so let’s unravel this, and here we go.
It’s always a bit trickier at the edge. So, our brake needle did what it was supposed to do. Now all of our live stitches are on this little needle and they are safe. There was never a moment where my stitches could have gotten lost.
Now I can transfer them back onto the big needle and continue knitting. So this third method is a really nice way to unravel your yarn so that your yarn is untwisted. The right leg is in the front of the needle, and it also keeps your stitches safe. That little needle is holding onto your stitches so that they’re never really loose Lastly, you can be very exact.