Missing YO already!

A few blog posts back, we promised that we’d show you how to fix a missing yarn over. It’s very straightforward, and it will save you a lot of ripping back. In this post, we’ll show you both how to deal with the issue both immediately after it happens and when you only realise a couple of rows later what’s happened.

It’s always a good idea to count your stitches when you’ve worked a row with yarn overs – if there’s a stitch or more missing then it’s likely that there’s a yarn over missing in action.

A yarn over is simply a strand of the yarn lying across the needle – when you leave one out, all that’s happened is that the strand hasn’t gone over the needle. It’s still there, and we can capitalise on that to rescue the situation.

In the picture at the top of this post, there should be a yarn over where the knitter’s right finger is pointing. We’re looking at the work from the right side, though if you’re knitting a flat piece of work, the fix usually happens on the wrong side, and this is how we’ll be doing it here.

See the top strand of yarn linking the first stitch on the left hand needle to its neighbour on the right? That’s the bit of yarn that would have been the yarn over, and that’s what’s going to become the yarn over when it’s fixed.

With the tip of the left hand needle, lift the strand from front to back, so that it lies across the needle just like any other yarn over before you work it.

Then just work it like any other yarn over, because that’s what it is (in the picture, we’re purling it):

And that’s it – we’ve replaced the yarn over where it was supposed to be. In truth, we’ve probably pinched a little bit of yarn from each of its neighbouring stitches, but this will make no difference to the final object unless there’s an awful lot of yarn overs to replace on a single row. (If you did leave out lots of them on one row, it would probably be better to tink that row.)

But what if you don’t realise until a couple of rows later that the yarn over was left out? Well, that’s also fixable without ripping out the intervening rows, and here’s how.

The principle is the same – make an afterthought yarn over out of the strand of yarn between two stitches. The only difference is that there’s more strands above it that need to be integrated. In the picture above, we’re targetting a strand of yarn two rows down (see how there’s a horizontal strand of yarn above the one we’re interested in? We’ll come to that one in a minute).

Using the tip of your needle, lift the lower strand up:

Transfer it to your left hand needle…

…and then work the upper horizontal strand through the loop on your left hand needle:

What you’ve done at this point is replace the yarn over, and then work through it the bit of yarn that would have made the stitch above it on the next row – knitting vertically instead of horizontally, if you like.

And when you’ve worked the stitch back up to the level of the current row, your fix will look like this – like any other yarn over a couple of rows further on:

A word of caution, though – the rows above a missing yarn over in the second scenario will all have a little less yarn in them than ideally needed. Working an extra stitch up through lots of them will leave that stitch a little tight all the way up. If you’re working a piece at a very loose tension (like most lace), the unevenness will probably block out. But depending on tension, you may be left with a tight little column of stitches if you have a long way to work up, and you’d be better to rip back.

But most of the time, these tricks will serve you well, and there’s huge satisfaction about having rescued your work. (Ask us how we know….)

2 thoughts on “Missing YO already!

  1. I missed a yarn over fifteen rows back. I’m in denial ripping back because of the number of rows and stitches. Tell me to rip and ill do it :-(
    Thanks. Pam

  2. If you’re going to notice the missing YO, then you’ll be happier if you do a fix. A possibility would be to isolate the bit of yarn that would have made the YO, and work it back up through every row. A few rows of this is rarely visible, but over fifteen rows, it’s likely that there’ll be a tightness at that place all the way up. Blocking will fix it a little but it rarely goes away completely. You could try dropping two stitches, one each side of the YO you’re going to invent and work all three back up, which spreads the tightness a bit. You might be happier with the final result if you ripped, though. You have our sympathy, though!

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