I really like to knit. I should be much better at it than I am, given how long I have been trying to master the skill. My current project is a Honeycomb Scarf from the book Sock Yarn One-skein Wonders: 101 Patterns That Go Way Beyond Socks!, by Judith Durant. It is a lacy look, created by simple repeats of yarnovers and knit togethers alternating with a knit row. At least it seemed simple until I got started. I ran into problems when I would get momentarily distracted and forget where I was in the repeat. I am not good at fixing things in my knitting, so my plan of attack has been to glare at the mistake, swear at my knitting, and then tear it out and start the whole thing over again. By my estimate, if I added up all the knitting I have done on this scarf, I would have a scarf about 4 miles long.
I learned a lot along the way about this particular pattern, but I was still not having success pulling out the knitting just past the mistake and trying to get it back on the needles. I always ended up with too many or too few stitches and a wonky patch in the scarf. I was about to give up this project entirely (or my family was going to give it up for me), when I had a knitting epiphany. It was all the yarnovers and knit togethers that were giving me fits, but there was a simple knit row every other row. I had the idea of threading a piece of scrap yarn through all the stitches of a knit row and then continuing the pattern. That way, if I made a mistake, I would only have to tear apart the knitting back to the row containing the piece of scrap yarn. When I got to that row, I could simply slip the knitting needle back through the stitches following the scrap yarn like a trail of crumbs.
It worked! I am making real progress now and might actually finish this scarf. I knit about 10 rows, and then I use a large plastic needle to thread a piece of scrap yarn through a knit row and keep on going. I still mess up and somehow end up with an extra stitch at the end of a row, but I no longer have to rip out the whole thing. I just have to swear a little bit and rip out just enough knitting to get me back to a piece of scrap yarn so I can put the scarf back on the needles and keep going. I can easily pull the scrap yarn out after I get past the point of needing it as a security blanket. I have never heard of this strategy so I claim it as my own, but I am willing to allow that another knitter might have come across the method (or even that all experienced knitters in the universe are aware of this method and I was the only ignorant one). It is so satisfying to solve a knitting problem!