Tink, Tink, Tink

July 11th, 2009 | View Comments

So I decided what to knit, though it’s none of the options I presented in my last post. I cast on for the Autumn Arbor stole (first introduced to me by graciechiao) with the Cherry Blossom Silk Lace from Sundara.

And then I brought it to knit night. And then I continued to work on it while attempting to watch soccer coverage in Spanish, which I barely understand but am trying to learn. This is what happened:

Autumn Arbor stole, half a repeat, with error

I was tempted to leave it. If the mistake can’t be spotted from the back of a galloping horse, who cares, right? But you know who could spot a mistake from the back of a galloping horse? An eagle.

Time to tink.

I believe firmly in tinking over frogging for virtually any kind of mistake, no matter how far back it is. Frogging is reserved for whole-project errors, or if I have less than two rows completed. They say in programming that you introduce a new bug for every ten lines of code you write. I believe there’s a similar rule for knitting, that you make a new mistake about every X stitches. Tinking means re-knitting fewer stitches and that means you’re less likely to make a new mistake in the course of your repair.

Of course, proper set-up for tinking makes all the difference. Clear your workspace. Get good light. Banish children, pets, husbands, and liquor to another room. Failure to do so is like being a surgeon at Seattle Grace.

Continued after the jump.

Let’s take another look at that picture:

Autumn Arbor stole, half a repeat, with error

I’ve moved the stitches to be dropped to a US 2 straight needle and capped the ends of the circular with point protectors. Do not forget the point protectors. There is nothing more frustrating than approaching the end of a so-far successful tink only to have the perfectly good stitches fling themselves off the needles like lemmings off a cliff.

I’ve pinned the pattern out and am ready to drop the offending stitches.

Autumn Arbor stole, half a repeat, with error, set to tink

As I dropped the stitches, I carefully separated out all the strands with pins. This helps with figuring out what rows you need to re-knit and also prevents you from re-knitting the strands in the wrong order. The live stitches have been transferred to a US 0, as the US 2s were too fat to pick up the stitches after I dropped them down past the mistakes.

I knew I’d ended on row 20, so I counted off the strands in the big ladder and figured out I should begin re-knitting on row 10.

This is where charts really shine, by the way. Since charts are always written from the right-side perspective, you don’t have to do any mental reversing of the stitches when you tink.

Tink, tink, tink, up we go.

Autumn Arbor stole, half a repeat, with error, set to tink

The pace of tinking is much slower than the pace of knitting, but it’s still much faster to tink three stitches than to re-knit eleven rows of 109 stitches each.

And…done. The before and after:

Autumn Arbor stole, before and after the tink

Since I already had the pattern partially pinned out, I went ahead and pinned out the rest of it so I could get a sense of how well the variegation was behaving in the pattern and how big the finished product might be.

Autumn Arbor stole, half a repeat

Half a repeat is roughly 18 inches wide and 3 inches tall, so I’m thinking ten full repeats will be enough to make a good-sized wrap for my tiny Japanese mother-in-law. Onward!

Tags: , , , ,

CogKnition posted this on July 11th, 2009 @ 4:04pm in Tutorials, Unfinished Objects | Permalink to "Tink, Tink, Tink"


  1. Kelvin Kao says:

    … what? I don’t introduce a bug every ten lines of code. I am totally better than that.

    Although I don’t knit, it was fun to find out where the terms “tink” and “frog” came from.

    • Yvonne says:

      I’m a terrible programmer and I’m pretty sure I don’t do that either. But I remember seeing a thread on Slashdot about putting in easter eggs and about half the participants jumped in and went “DON’T PUT THEM IN! YOU INTRODUCE A NEW BUG EVERY TEN LINES OF CODE!” Makes you wonder how they’re defining “bug” and “line of code”.

  2. Joyce says:

    Brilliant job!

  3. Carmen says:

    Whoa, that’s some intense tinking.

    I’m a ripper, it hurts my brain to go back and figure out where I went wrong, but then again, my kids wouldn’t let me concentrate anyway.

    I really enjoyed this post by the way. :)

  4. Thea says:

    Haha. I like the eagle line. If eagles could knit they would be tinking constantly.

  5. Karen says:

    Tinking is way better than frogging but it’s difficult in lace patterns (doing either is, actually) without messing up. Still, I always fix mistakes. I tell myself that I actually love knitting so doing a little more on any given project’s a GOOD thing. :)