How To (Safely) Rip Back Your Knitting

Ripping back your knitting can sometimes be a stressful activity.  When you’ve spent time working on your piece only to find that something isn’t quite right…perhaps a dropped stitch or a needle slips out, etc.

Before I learned this technique, I used to try carefully slipping my needle out and hoping I could pull out a few rows and slip the needle back in.  Most of the time I would just end up frogging the whole thing!

This tutorial will show you how to insert the needle first and rip back to where the needle is…are you ready?  Let’s all take a deep breath and continue.  I promise it will be stress-free.

This tutorial was made because this happened the other day,

Yup.  Right in half…in the middle of a row too,

My lovely and prized rosewood needles, snap!  Right in half.

A few stitches were dropped in the process, so I though it would be the perfect opportunity to show you this technique.  Note: even if you have no needle to pull out, you can still do this, just be careful not to unravel it at all if possible while working the other needle through all of the stitches.

Begin by inserting the needle into a stitch a few rows down.  Stockinette makes a little “V” shape, be sure you insert the needle into the right side of the “V”  

Next, continue across the row, inserting the right part of each “V”

Go all the way across the entire row.

And now for the moment of truth…pulling that needle out.  

Let’s all take a deep breath…we can do it!

Not so bad, right?  Next, you can start gently pulling.  I think this part is kind of fun.

Pull until reaching the needle.  It will stop when you reach it.  All done!  Hooray!  One more thing I wanted to mention, If you rip back and the working end of the yarn is on the wrong end of the needle, just slip the stitches to another needle so that the yarn will be aligned properly.

Happy knitting!

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9 thoughts on “How To (Safely) Rip Back Your Knitting

  1. Wow, this is sooo helpful! Thank you! I'm quite new to knitting and will definitely be using this in the future! My main craft is crochet so I'm not used to dropped stitches! It must have been awful for your needle to snap like that! Also, I love your yarn, what is it? The colours are gorgeous!

  2. Oh boy, I surely do wish I'd known this years ago … I don't do much knitting because I never knew how to rip back if/when I needed to. Thank you so much for this how-to. It's a shame about your rosewood needles.

  3. This a time saver, I used to redo things when I do it wrong but with this simple trick all I have to do is rip it back and proceed on finishing it.

  4. Hi Jennifer,Thank you for this great tip. I have to rip back a shawl I knitted ages back as it is a little short. Did I mention it is black in color and made with fancy feathery yarn!! I am going to use this tip and hopefully I should complete my shawl this year.
    Happy New Year… filled with health, happiness and lots of crafty goodness.

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