That stickiness I get when something goes wrong with a project has been settling in. I have been putting off actually fixing the problem for almost a week, and had prepared myself for lots of undoing. I don’t know which I hate more, the stickiness or the fixing!
If you are at all like me, most little problems get fixed as-I-go, and they aren’t really setbacks. This was a matter of having gotten off count on my pattern, needing to figure out where I was and possibly tink back a couple of rows.
At the moment I put the problem project down I was tired, and focused on leaving town. I ended up laying awake thinking about it, and somehow it went from tink back to major issue, and the stickiness started to settle.
So I worked on a swatch, wound some yarn, and avoided knitting at all for a few days. This is not like me. I started another swatch.
Make a Plan
Then I scolded myself and made myself sit down and figure out where to run a life line so I could rip back and get going again. I had a formulated a plan to get unstuck. I just needed to implement it and move on. Why a plan? Because without one any problem will grow to become greater than it is. Not only do you need the plan, but a plan to implement.
Here’s my plan:
- run a lifeline,
- figure out which row to recommence on (this is a 21-stitch pattern, in 4 multiples, plus 14 extra stitch, plus 8 edge stitches),
- rip back to lifeline (carefully in case I didn’t run it perfectly),
- return all the stitches and markers to needles,
- verify the row to begin working, and
- recommence knitting.
As luck would have it, I didn’t have to do any of that. Once I figured out the seemingly insoluble problem I was able to fixed two pattern multiples, and stickiness gone!
Why a Plan?
There isn’t a good reason to plan for problems before they happen, but that very lack of planning is what bounces us off track. That bounce can hard to come back from. Most of my problems are operator error, but that doesn’t make them any easier to solve.
After putting something down in frustration we will then assume the problem is large and insoluble. While that is possible, the first step back is planning the solution.
Running a Lifeline
I meant to put a lifeline in this project multiple times, but didn’t do it. I have no choice now but to put one in below where I am working. This is something that you can practice doing! Take a swatch or an abandoned project and try it a few times. The worst that will happen is that you have to put stitches back on needles without a lifeline. In some cases you can run the lifeline in a segment, and drop stitches down to it.
Knowing how to do this and knowing that it can be your first step in solving a problem solves the first part of “what now”.
Where Am I?
Figuring out where you are in pattern, whether in a stitch pattern, or just the written/charted pattern can also bring clarity to your issue. A misunderstanding or mis-read is often the real problem. Figure this out before you go backwards while you still have evidence. Even a photo where you are so you can zoom in or share it with someone who can help is better than just going backwards. So many times a problem cannot be addressed when the evidence is gone!
If you find yourself not understanding the instruction, or not getting the result needed from your reading of them, you could message the designer for help, or ask others to help.
Ripping, Tinking, Undoing
Getting to where the fix needs to happen is next. It might be rows. It might be a portion of a row, or even just dropping a stitch or two. Put that lifeline in, rip or drop the offending problem, and either fix or reknit it. If there is a mistake, there is really nothing to do but redo it, so that has to be the next step.
Actual undoing and redoing should be done when you are fresh. This may not be something that you can do sitting in front of TV, or sitting in the car, or after a long day. I like to sit at a desk or the dining room table so nothing is bothering me. If I get impatient, I get up and leave it.
Avoiding UFO Status
I recently cataloged my knitting UFO projects. On almost every project it was put aside because I either didn’t have the pattern written for the upcoming segment, or I didn’t have the numbers I needed. I have a rule that I can’t go forward when I am making decisions on the fly. Click here to be the winner of a free pattern giveaway. Drawing on October 25, at 9:00 am (by Mitch).
I am convinced that a large portion of UFOs achieve that status when the operator runs into some kind of problem or something that needs a different kind of attention than what they have at that moment. Although this may continue to happen, if you write down what brought you up short (oh, and the needles in your project) when you want to return to the project you know what needs to happen.
This is all so much easier than it may seem when you are tired, grumpy, or otherwise not at your knitting best. However, It may save an awesome project from UFO Status. Happy Knitting!