Mischief Managed!

Earlier this week I met up with a couple of lovely knitters.

One of them was interested in my Two Hearts, so I proudly took the first completed piece to show her.  After a cursory glance over the project, she asked “Do you find you often mis-cross the cables?” (or something like that).

“Oh yeah, I’m always worried about that, but I meticulously check as I go, and often take a photo as it helps me spot mistakes that I might not otherwise!  I did mis-cross a couple on this one, but was able to spot them in time.” I proudly replied.  At the back of my mind, I was slightly concerned at the tone in her voice.

We chatted for a minute or two about how awful it was to see mis-crossed cables in other peoples’ work.

“Well, I’m sorry to tell you this, but you do have a mis-crossed cable here. I spotted it immediately.”  (Did I note a tone of impatient triumph in her voice!?) She pointed to the offending cable, and my heart sank all the way down into the toes of my dear hand knitted socks. [here the reader shall mentally picture me thinking a choice expletive.  I might have uttered it out aloud.  I don’t know.  I was in shock.]

Mis-crossed cable

Somehow, I had managed to miss-cross a cable and not notice.  For the first time ever.  I stared in dismay at this thing of horror. [insert more choice expletives].  I may babbled flippant remarks about people not noticing it, or covering it with a button, or something equally as witless.  The sort of thing you say when internally you are freaking out in a very major sort of way and trying desperately to cover one’s embarrassment.

Now, once an error has been pointed out, you can never NOT notice the mistake.  The stupid thing stuck out from my knitting like a great big glaring beacon.


I slunk home with my tail between my legs, both cursing and thanking the knitter for pointing out the stupid mistake.  Once I got home, I looked at the offending cable, and wondered how I was going to fix it and how I never managed to notice it! Despite my earlier nonsense about ignoring it, there was no question of it staying that way!  It was in far-too-prominent a location for that.

I did not care to rip back a week’s worth of knitting, nor was I was I going to drop the stitches from the cast-off point all the way down to the crossed cable!  And I really, really, did not want to try cutting the cable at the point of mistake and re-crossing it.

After some deliberation, in which I wondered if I could just ignore the mistake (no!), I decided that cutting at the point of mistake seemed to be the only option.  It was time to take a step-up challenge!!  I looked up fixing cables on the Internet.

Thank bloody goodness, someone has been thinking laterally.  Here was my solution – set out in an issue of Twist Collective (I went for Method 2, the less scary one).

Fixing the mistake

Picking up the stitches.

Fixing mistake

Knitting extra stitches, then grafting (there may have been several goes at getting this right).

Mistake fixed.

Ta da!  Mischief Managed!!

Because of the properties of this yarn, the extra layer of stitches is not noticeable. You wouldn’t even know there was a mis-crossed cable there.  I shall never fear another mis-crossed cable ever again! What a genius solution!  I sighed a very large and happy sigh.

I think I have just about forgiven the knitter for pointing out my mistake.  After all, it would have been far more embarrassing to be seen wearing that mistake and not know about it!!

29 thoughts on “Mischief Managed!

  1. Oh Wei I can’t imagine that happening, and especially to you! You are such a perfectionist in your knitting, I’m not sure that knitting lady was really that Kind. You did an ingenious repair, that web site is a lifesaver!
    Congratulations to YOU, Happy weekend, now you can rest easy, xoxoRobin

  2. Excellent! I had never thought of that, but what a great solution. I too would have balked at dropping down so many stitches. On the other hand, I would have never mentioned seeing it in the first place. 🙂 Glad you found a solution that kept you sane

  3. I feel you pain. I recently discovered I had mis-crossed a cable on my Dockside by Melissa Thomson… several rows down. I was knitting in a black yarn and I’m sure my heart missed several beats. I finished knitting , waited for a clear sunny day (a feat in itself in Southland) then snipped , popped the 2 lots of sts on threads, pulled then carefully underneath the lower cable (which should have been on top and grafted them together on the inside of the hat.
    I popped a pix up on Rav and no one could guess which cable I corrected 🙂
    Uncorrected I couldnt have worn the hat – it would have driven me nuts.

  4. If it was perfect, it would have been made by a machine. I see every knitting project as practice, each one making me a better knitter and I don’t stress over it being perfect. Love the sweater!

  5. Hmmm. How to tell someone kindly, when you just KNOW they’ll be embarrassed, but even more so if you don’t say and later they find out. That’s a really hard one! I sympathise with you so much here. I too was a knitter who just couldn’t leave a mistake in place. My first lace project cured me of it – straight in to an Orenberg-style shawl, with no pattern, after not knitting anything for eight years. So much tinking and frogging! And still there are mistakes that I just left. What I decided in the end is that I am not a machine. I am a human, I make mistakes, and I knit. So if the mistake is not too glaring, doesn’t affect fit, leave an unwanted hole, or look ugly, than I will accept my human fallibility. In the process I have learned to be fond of the occasional mistake (note that qualification!) A mistake means this is a real, handcrafted object, made by a real, live human. I have learned to embrace my humanity.

  6. Clever solution.
    I had such a hard job seeing your mistake even in the closeup. Guess I’d have failed to point it out to you. I never was any good at the ‘where’s Wally’ books either.

  7. Clever clever! The Yarn Harlot affects a fix on a miscrossed cable another way, both ingenious… but then I haven’t done cable work for going on 30 years (I think)

  8. I totally agree with Linda. I remember feeling devastated as a teenager having knitted my first cabled Aran cardigan for my young sister. Discovering that one of the cables was twisted the wrong way and not knowing how to fix it, I reconciled myself to it and soon came to view it as the unique garment it was. It reminds me too of the story of the imperfection woven into Navajo rugs. I’ve never been attracted by perfectionism and for me a little bit of humility along the way, keeps my pride in check!

  9. My husband maintains that a mistake in your knitting just proves it was knitted with love by a human being not mass-produced on a machine somewhere. I’m very glad you found a solution but I would have left it – obviously I am not the ultimate perfectionist that many other knitters are 🙂

    1. You have a lovely husband. I don’t consider myself an extreme perfectionist. After all, if there is a mistake that can be hidden or not seen, I won’t bother to fix it at all. This one’s fix was so easy it felt criminal not to! 😀

  10. I hope that writing about it was cathartic for you. You made me laugh, so I hope you did too (after the event). I could just imagine the situation. Above all, what a whizz you are, the fix is AMAZING.

  11. I can totally imagine how you must have felt when the other knitter pointed out the mis crossed cable! I would have gone insane, this is such an elegant fix, you can’t see it anymore at all!

  12. I don’t think that knitter was being very nice about it – if she wanted to point it out there’s definitely a more tactful way to go about it (and I am the queen of inadvertent tactlessness). I wouldn’t have noticed it myself.

  13. There are people who just love to point out mistakes!! Persian rugs are purposely made to have one mistake for good luck. Same for knitting. So there! You handled it beautifully though.

    1. That is a fascinating fact about Persian rugs! I think all my knitting will have a tiny error somewhere – this particular one just had to be fixed though!

  14. I have to admit, I got a bit angry reading this posting. Not with you! But there are other ways to say stuff like that. KINDER ways. GRRRR …

    I remember that the Yarn Harlot once had a tutorial on her blog for simply embroding over the wrong stitches so that you didn’t have to knit back – your way was a lot more work, but the sweater will look stunning (and no, I wouldn’t have noticed the cable. Promise)

      1. That is true, of course … It probably falls into the same category as the girl in my French course last week. She speaks/studies(?) Spanish, and we were talking about our coursebook (which definitely has faults, especially in the grammar and the vocabulary section!). I explain to her how annoying I found it to make flashcards with a certain word and then running into the same word a couple of chapters later again, but this time with a different translation.
        And she looks at me and says (as if that was understood): “Oh, I don’t ever learn vocabulary.”

        And I am certainly not stupid, but her comment made me feel that way, because I read into it: “I do not have to learn the words, but if you think it’s necessary to speak and write and understand French, than that’s okay, of course ….”

        That probably wasn’t meant along nasty lines as well. 😉

        I am glad that you could fix that mistake!! 🙂

  15. That was interesting, the fix I mean and NO I could NOT have left it either!!! Someone had made a mistake in a very complicated cable, front of sweater, 14 rows down and 18 stitches wide and could I fix it………..I frogged that section down to the offending area and re knit it up and told her do not EVER do that again 🙂 But that fix on the Twist Collective is right on. Hate to say it but this happened way before internet! Thanks for sharing that with us.

    1. The great thing is that if I did it wrong (surprisingly it did need a couple of goes with the grafting…) all I had to do was pull out the yarn and start again as no cutting of existing garment was needed. I’d call it foolproof fixing!

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