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Jenna from Massachusetts asked, “This has been so helpful! But could you tell me how to take out a wrong stitch? I’m doing something where mine are so tight that I can’t figure how to pick them out. Is there an easy way?”

Well, I’ve got good news for you and not so good. The good news is that you can take out tatting stitches. The less happy news is that it is time consuming and tedious. Hopefully you won’t have a whole lot to take out. (I’ve got some better news for you too, that I’ll save till the very end.)

Here’s what you’ll need. A handy tool to pick out stitches is a tapestry needle or—and I know many tatters will cringe—I like to use the pointy end of a seam ripper. Gasp. In any case, you’ll need something pointy and small.

Here’s how to do it. Just insert the pointy bit in the last half stitch and pick at it to take it out. Repeat for every half stitch.

Here’s the detailed version. You can only take out one half stitch at a time, that is, the last one:

Taking Tatting Out 1

Stick your pointy thing into the last half stitch:

Taking Tatting Out 2

Pull it up or outward to loosen the thread:

Taking Tatting Out 3

Pull some more to make a space big enough for the shuttle to pass through:

Taking Tatting Out 4

Then pass the shuttle through to undo the stitch:

Taking Tatting Out 5

Whine, wince and repeat for every half stitch you need to remove.

Here’s the better news. Unlike crocheting or knitting, where you can easily take out a whole chunk of work by pulling one thread, or, you know, dropping it, tatting doesn’t come out that easily. Which means that you can drop your tatting mid-stitch, run off and save a child from a burning house, or, you know, attend to boring housework, and return to find your stitches exactly as you left them. The knots act like a built-in fail-safe against dropped stitches! Handy, hunh?

What are your questions? Email them to me or leave them in the comments and I’ll answer them as well as I can.

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