Skip to content


Is it the pattern — or is it me?! What to do if you notice something’s off.

Is it the pattern — or is it me?! What to do if you notice something’s off.

If you watched our most recent Zoom meet-up for The Shift KAL, we had a lively discussion about whether there could be *gasp* a mistake in the pattern. 

Could it be? With 11K Ravelry knitters who’ve already knit The Shift?!!

Here’s what some of us experienced: We get near the end of a row, and we’re off by a stitch or two. Ugh!

What’s a knitter to do? Should you rip it out and start again?

Look at your knitting.

The first step is to take a good look at the row you just finished. 

If it’s one of your slip-stitch rows, are your contrast “blips” of color lining up as they should? (Meaning that they alternate in their position so they’re offset from each other.)

If this is correct, and you can see neat little triangles, that’s great news. In a pattern like The Shift, where the pattern is very visible, this is the number one thing you should look for. 

Sometimes when I review the stitches in the previous row, I notice that I’ve knit two stitches instead of K1, sl1, for example. (Was it when I spaced out for a minute? Or when I took a phone call? Who knows.) In this situation, I will “tink” back to my mistake. (Tinking is KNIT spelled backwards, and describes the process of undoing stitches one at a time.)

Everything in the pattern lines up, but I’m still off in the last few stitches. What then? 

You make it to the last few stitches, you see you’re not lined up properly to finish the row in the pattern, and your stitches in the previous row are lined up like cute little triangle points. 

 Likely you’ve just forgotten an increase or two. No big deal.

In carpentry, the term “cheat” is used to describe the times when you have to make an modification so that something works out in the real world. You’ve measured and cut the board to the right length, but when you go to install it, you need just a tiny bit shaved off one side so that it will be a tight join. (Because there are very few perfect corners or edges in the real world!)

In this situation, you’ll just “cheat” your knitting a little bit. Remember that the edges of your Shift are not the main attraction, and no one will notice if there’s a one- or two-stich increase before your slipped stitches. 

So just go ahead and be brave. See if you can make that pattern work out! You’re a knitter, so we know you’re already a creative problem-solver.

If you’re short a stitch, just stay within the established color pattern and knit into the front and back of a stitch (to make 2 stitches), or do a M1L (“make one left”, if you’re adding a single stitch). Or maybe you have too many stitches at the end and you’ll K2tog (knit two together). 

Look at your knitting and determine what your knitting needs. Read ahead to the start of the next row, to make sure that what you’re doing with your “cheat” helps you get back on track so your pattern works out nicely again.

Need some reassurance? We’ve got you!

Sometimes folks will come into the shop with a knitting question or problem, and then sit down and knit for a bit until they feel sure about what they’re doing. We also have Wednesday Knit Nights, open to all, each week from 4–7 p.m. — it’s a great time to meet other knitters and we have plenty of expertise available (a room full of knitters and extra staff, too!). 

We help our far-away customers on the phone and by email, sending photos back and forth, or chatting through a tricky part of a pattern over the phone. 

You know this already, but The Goat Staff is always here to help. If you’re frustrated or unsure, or ready to throw your knitting in the trash, don’t do it! Get in touch or stop by the shop.

Previous article Bad mood got you down? Craft your way back to happiness.
Next article Choosing colors can be hard — our favorite ways to make it fun!


Jane Merrill - March 17, 2023

I came into the shop on Saturday and Miranda helped me get back on track. I’m happy to say I just started Section 2!

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields

Compare products

{"one"=>"Select 2 or 3 items to compare", "other"=>"{{ count }} of 3 items selected"}

Select first item to compare

Select second item to compare

Select third item to compare