How to Fix a Mis-Crossed Cable

Some of you very helpfully pointed out after my last post that not everyone is familiar with the technique for repairing a mistake in knitting without ripping out all the stitches back to the error.  This is referred to as "laddering down", "laddering back", "dropping down", or, in some cases "Holy S@#*! Now what do I do?" 

Herewith, A Tutorial:

Let's imagine that you are knitting a some swell cables that are all supposed to cross in the same direction (in this case, to the right).  Let's imagine that you are watching a movie with subtitles, or lots of action, or a particularly dreamy star *Cough-Game-of-Thrones-Cough*, and you get a little distracted.  And then let's imagine that during a commercial, you proudly spread out your knitting to admire it, only to realize that one of those wee cables has managed to twist in the wrong direction (in this case, to the left).  Or maybe it wasn't even a cable, but a split stitch, or a k2tog that should have been an SSK, or some other horror that Shall Not be Named.  This technique will allow you to fix whatever went wrong a while back in your knitting, without tearing out all the perfectly good knitting around (and since) the mistake.

If you're not already using one, switch to a circular needle with a nice long cable before you start.

First, knit up to the problem stitch (or group of stitches, if they cross/travel over each other) in your established pattern as if nothing had gone wrong, then stop, leaving your working yarn hanging.  In this case, my miss-crossed cable has 4 sts, so that's how many I'm going to ladder down.


Slip the live sts off the needle.  Take a deep breath.


Pull the needles forward on either side of your working area so that the stitches you aren't laddering will stay safely suspended on their cable (now they can't accidentally drop off the points of the main needles).


Using the point of another needle (I like short, small-diameter DPNs best for this job), gently pull out the live sts, one row at a time, all the way back to the mistake.

When you reach the error, pull it out, and then stop.  Exhale.  You're halfway done.

Pick up the live sts on your little DPN.  Don't worry if they twist the wrong way, just get them on the needle.  Once you have them all picked up, re-orient each st so it presents properly (not twisted) for reknitting.


From this point forward, you will reknit each "mini-row" (the laddered sts in each row) using a second DPN and following your pattern, one row at a time.


Use the loose yarn from each ladder rung (frogged sts) to rework each mini-row.  Make sure to check carefully at the beginning of every mini-row that you are using its proper ladder rung, without skipping any.


Here I'm using a cable needle to cross the cable properly on the mini-row where it should have happened the first time.  Not pictured: My expression of smugness and relief.

And now the cable is crossing as it should.  Above you can see the ladder rungs still waiting to be reknit.  Notice how much slack is in each one?  That's what makes this party trick possible.  Thanks, Knitting!


And now we're back to the top of the work again.  Unless you tell them, no one will ever know you jacked it up the first time, and your secret is safe with me.

Carefully slip the reknit sts from your DPN back onto the Left main needle.

Continue in pattern with your working yarn, as if the detour had never happened.  

Sleep soundly, knowing you are the Rock Star you always suspected yourself to be.