My first advice is to stop frequently to admire what you just made – and at the same time, to check that everything looks OK.
I’d like to provide a few ideas to help you on the way to finding your mistakes.
Sometimes, the consistency of a stitch pattern is a good indicator of whether it has been well executed. In the stitch pattern shown here, with clusters of dc2tog, I can quickly see (if I look for it!) that I have made a mistake. The single dc at the arrow should have been a dc2tog.
In other situations, a mistake may be less apparent. I have a couple of ideas on this, too.
1) Look at the top of your row.
Turn the work towards you and look at the top of the row.
Are you seeing lots of V’s on their side (the tops of your stitches) following each other in a regular manner like they do here? Or is there a stitch somewhere that looks very different from the others? In the second case, you know where to look more closely at what you’ve done.
To look at the top of the row is also the best way to count your stitches accurately.
2) Look at your feet.
Well, not your own feet, but the feet of your stitches.
The foot of a stitch is found at its very base and looks like a V standing up.
When you can identify the foot of a stitch, you can more easily check that it’s in the right place – and also that you haven’t by mistake made, for example, two stitches in one (instead of one)…
… or skipped a stitch.
There are situations when it’s a bit harder to see what’s happening. This can be the case when you are working a row of sc in a starting chain.
When you look back at your row (do this before finishing it if it’s very long!), two signs can indicate a mistake:
Looking more closely, you will see that there is not only one but two feet in the same chain stitch. You have inadvertently worked twice in the same stitch.
The opposite of a bump – it’s the base chain folding up a little because you have skipped a stitch.
Knowing how to “read” your work in crochet is a skill that you acquire over time by observing your mistakes over and over again. Don’t give up if you don’t succeed immediately – little by little it will get easier.
The “adapted” chart in the Rhombique pattern has been corrected and updated. Now the pattern contains two charts, one in the “universal”, Barbara Walkerish style, and one with clear indications of the dc placement in the mosaic pattern.
Your heart is beating fast, a cold hand seems to compress your chest, you have a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach… You’ve just realized that you’ve made a mistake in your crochet (or knitting) project.
A mistake can have so many reasons. You’re tired, you’re distracted, you didn’t read or understand well…
Sometimes it’s just a mistake that needs correcting, with no other consequence. You undo a few stitches or a couple of rows, you pull out your mistake and redo it correctly – end of story.
But often, this mistake can teach you something (more than that you made a mistake).
Is it time for you to put down your project and go to bed? Do you simply need to concentrate a bit more on the chart? Do you need to get more information about the technique you’re using, asking a friend or Google?
In any case, we’d prefer not to make any mistakes – but everyone makes them, all the time… (yes, me too, all the time!)
I have four strategies against mistakes to suggest.
1) Learn to “read” your work.
I think this is one of the most important skills for any crocheter or knitter. I will get back to this in more detail, but for now, I’ll simply suggest that you frequently take the time to stop and admire what you’ve just made!
2) Ask yourself if it’s really important.
If there’s a wonky or missing stitch somewhere, will it really show when you or someone else wears or uses the finished object? Can you conceal it in a simple way?
But let’s agree on the fact that, if you’ve done 20 decreases too many, it’s probably best to correct that.
3) Learn to correct the most common mistakes. (I’ll have more to say about that, too – but in the meantime, Google and YouTube are your friends!)
4) Don’t be afraid to make mistakes!
First of all, if you are stressed over the idea of making a mistake, you will considerably increase your chances of doing something wrong.
And learning how to discover your mistakes and how to correct them will make you a much, much better crocheter or knitter. I honestly think that the best way to learn something new is to do it the wrong way first and understand why it happened before you do it correctly. You will remember how to do it much better than if your first try was perfect.
And I repeat myself: it might not be important at all. Once is a mistake, twice is a problem, three times is a new design!
At least once a week, I check the crisper drawer in my fridge to see what’s left over – a lonely leek, a couple of carrots that start to get a bit dry, the remaining part of a butternut squash, a piece of celeriac.
I take them out and cut them in roughly equally big pieces, I mix them with a dash of olive oil and some salt and pepper – and I roast them in the oven. To get the mix of vegetables right, I just try to get a blend of shapes and colours. My sad little leftovers become a colourful and tasty dish!
This week when I cut up my vegetables, I thought that I should really do the same with my leftover yarns. Check what I have on a regular basis, blend the partial balls and lonely skeins according to colour and weight, and do something with them.
But what? A blanket, a pair of fingerless mittens, something completely different? What do you do with you leftover yarns? Tell me in the comments!