Tinking stitches is a great knitting technique to use when you discover that you made a mistake in your knitting. You don't have to unravel all your knitting, just learn how to tink stitches and you'll be fine.
Tink is the word knit spelled backwards, and 'unknitting' is another term knitters use as well.
We all make knitting mistakes. The real trick is being able to fix mistakes without unraveling all your knitting.
When you unknit you are simply unraveling your knitting stitch by stitch to the place where you made the mistake. Then you fix it and carry on with you knitting.
The good thing is unknitting stitches is quite simple to do.
It works really well if you found your mistake on the row that you're knitting on, maybe even the previous row. If you discovered a mistake much further down in your knitting tinking doesn't work so well. There are a couple of reasons:
It is definitely possible. I've done it but it gets really tiring going back stitch by stitch.
In order to know how to tink stitches you need to read your knitting. It'll make it a lot easier.
I'll help you
Have a look at this picture.
I've turned my knitting needle around a bit to show you the main parts here. And I have marked the main characters (ha), the new stitch on the needle, the old stitch (this is the stitch you just knit off of the left needle) and the working yarn.
When you tink a stitch you'll be putting the old stitch back onto the left needle (in order to re-knit it) and undoing (unknitting) the new stitch off the right needle. Does that make sense?
When you unknit a stitch you put your left needle into the old stitch as you gently slide the new stitch off the right needle. You give the working yarn a tug to finish unknitting the new stitch.
Note: See how the new and old stitch are all basically connected by the working yarn? Knitting really is just a series of loops. So neat..
I just noticed that I purled a stitch by mistake. So I will unknit to the spot where the mistake is, tink it and carry on knitting.
In the first photo I am pointing to the stitch just below the stitch on the needle. This is the old stitch. With your left needle push it through the old stitch that is just under the stitch on the needle.
First photo. Slip the stitch off the right needle and gently tug on working yarn to release it. Second photo just keep tugging on working yarn to completely release the stitch from the right needle.
Tinking is done. The old stitch is now on the left needle and you just unknit a stitch.
If you would like to watch how it's done this is an awesome video showing this technique both for knit stitches and purl stitches. Enjoy.