Common Knitting Mistakes: Tinking Back

One mistake doesn't have to ruin an entire project. Learn how to tink, or knit backwards with these easy to follow steps.

By Susan B. Anderson
September 2016

Cover courtesy Artisan Books

In Susan B. Anderson's Kids' Knitting Workshop (Artisan Books, 2015) the author sends the message that anyone and everyone can knit. The patient and engaging instructions are geared towards children 8-12 but can help anyone of any age learn the basic skills of knitting. This excerpt comes from chapter 5 "Fixing Your Mistakes."


Photo by Fotolia/sianstock

Tinking Back 

Tinking back is a funny expression in knitting. “Tink” is “knit” spelled backward, which makes sense because tinking back means going back one stitch at a time on your needles. You are basically knitting backward to undo your work until you get back to the spot where you’ve made a mistake. Maybe you dropped a stitch off your needle, or split a stitch (accidentally poked the needle through the yarn, making it split), or just noticed something that you need to redo. 

Step 1: Pull the yarn that is coming out of the stitch on the right needle taut. This opens up the hole in the stitch in the row below the stitches you just worked.

 Step 1
Illustration by Alison Kolesar

Step 2: Insert the tip of the left needle into the center of the stitch in the row below the one you just knit on the right needle.

Step 2
Illustration by Alison Kolesar

Step 3: When the stitch is all of the way on the left needle, drop the stitch you just knit off the right needle and pull the yarn out of the stitch. You have now un-knit or tinked back 1 stitch.

Step 3
Illustration by Alison Kolesar

Step 4: Keep repeating Steps 1 to 3 until you get back to your intended spot.

Step 4
Illustration by Alison Kolesar

Tip: When you make a mistake, try to figure out how to fix it on your own first. If you just can’t figure it out, the next best thing is to go to a friend or family member who knits or go to your local yarn shop to get some help. If someone is helping you, make sure she shows you how to fix the mistake and that she doesn’t just fix it herself and hand it back to you. You won’t learn unless you do it yourself! 

More From Susan B. Anderson's Kids' Knitting Workshop:

• Dropped Stitch
• Frogging

Excerpted from Susan B. Anderson's Kids' Knitting Workshop by Susan B. Anderson (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2015. 

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