Ripping out lace

If you make a mistake in a lace pattern and have to rip out stitches, take your time when picking up the recovered stitches. Yarn overs and decreases can be tricky to catch. (See Chapter 7 for information about ripping out and picking up recovered stitches.)

When you've ripped out as far back as you need to in order to fix the mistake, slowly take out one more row, pulling the yarn gently from each stitch one at a time and inserting the empty needle into the freed stitch before it has a chance to disappear. This method helps you catch all the yarn overs and decreases. Also, if your pattern is purled on all wrong-side rows, try to make the purl row the one you pick up from.

As you go, check that stitches end up in the ready-to-work position. Before starting work on your pattern again, read the last pattern row and compare it with the stitches on your needle to make sure that they're all there and all yarn overs and decreases are in the right place.

Lifelines are truly a lifesaver when ripping out lace, especially if you've caught a mistake that's more than a few rows down. Using a slick, smooth strand that won't rub colored fibers onto your knitting (we like to use embroidery floss or cotton yarn), use a needle to thread the lifeline through the last row of stitches below your mistake. If you accidentally tear out more than you intended, you can put stitches back onto your needle from the lifeline. Some extra-cautious lace knitters make a habit of threading a lifeline into their knitting every 5 to 10 rows (depending on the complexity of the pattern) just in case something goes wrong! If this practice gives you piece of mind, go for it.

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