We all make mistakes. Mistakes are not the end of the world. We pick up the pieces and we move forward. Some knitting mistakes, however, are more glaring than others. There is nothing more depressing than examining a piece and realizing that something awful happened. Even worse, it happened 6 rows ago. Having spent good money on good yarn, one doesn't want to leave the glaring mistake, nor does one want to rip out 6 rows of hard won knitting.
A run in my stocking one night inspired me to try fixing my knitting. Nylon stockings are knitted, so when they get a hole, the hole runs all the way down the leg. This unfortunate happening in stockings, is the reason knitting mistakes are fixable. One can knit across to the stitch directly above the mistake and create a run down to the mistake without disrupting any stitches to either side. When I discovered this, I began fixing my mistakes with a crochet hook. A crochet hook is great for a single mistake, but when needing to fix more than one stitch at a time, a double-ended crochet hook, called a stitch fixer is best. More on double mistakes later...
To fix the purl stitch above, we knit across to one stitch before the problem, and take the problem stitch off. This is normally the point at which we would scramble to pickup the dropped stitch. We are going to defy all instinct and pull out that stitch. Keep going all the way until you've undone the purl stitch several rows below.
Now insert your crochet hook or stitch fixer into the loop (the last good stitch) from the front (because we need a knit stitch- if we were purling, we'd go in from the back). Take your hook and grab the ladder run just above your hook and pull it through the stitch from back to front (see photo below).
You have just knitted a stitch. Now do it again and again until you've knitted up all rungs of the ladder.
Place your last stitch back on the knitting needle and keep knitting like nothing happened. If your stitches look a little mushed or stretched where you fixed, wiggle the fabric around until everything is back in place. Congratulations! You just fixed your first knitting mistake.
Now, what happens if you have two stitches that need fixing, or what if you need to purl? To fix two stitches, you have options. You can either fix the stitches one at a time using the method we just learned, or you can tackle both at once.
Do the same thing you did before: knit across to just before the problem stitches. Take the problem stitches off, and create a ladder down.
Here is where the double ended hook comes in handy. Put your hook in the two bottom stitches as though it's a knitting needle.
Use the left end to pull the ladder through the left loop from back to front. Leave the new loop on hook. Now do the right side with the right end of the hook, pulling the ladder through from back to front. You have fixed the two stitches. Now go up and do the next rung of the ladder with both stitches. Keep going until both stitches are all fixed and back on the needles.
If you are purling, you will need to put the ladder in front of the work (just as you do with your yarn when you purl normally). Your hook will come from the back of your work and you will pull the ladder through from front to back.
Here is another close up of pulling through the purl stitch from front to back.
You are now an expert stitch fixer. If you wanted to fix cables, you would just pull out the cable stitches and use crochet hook and cable needle until you get back to the top. You are now the master of stitch fixing! Enjoy.