Ripping Back questions (sock)

I am making a pair of socks as a gift. I have made a horrible mistake, and need some help figuring the best way to rip back. The thought of ripping back on these teeny tiny sock stitches is paralyzing me.

I am making Lucy Neatby’s Mermaid Socks, with garter stitch short row heel. The heel is knit with the other end of the ball of yarn … once the heel is done, you go back to the main yarn to cointue the round. Here is where the pattern resumes, as well, on the instep.

The pattern is a spiral rib (k2, y0, k2, k2tog). I am off on the instep pattern by one or two stitches. I believe this happened because of a stitch migrating from one of the heel needles to the instep needle. (yeah, I did it when I dropped some stitches, I think).

Trouble is, I didn’t realize it until I was several rows into the foot, as it takes awhile for the pattern to ‘even out’ enough to really see it. Then I was somewhere with nothing to do, so I just kept knitting – I guess I was in denial.

I really need to go back and fix it. I’m not sure how I can pick up all of those little stitches, though. I really really don’t want to frog the heel. When I resumed knitting with the main yarn, I wove in the tail of the heel yarn (placing tail yarn over the needle, knitting the stitch, then removing the tail yarn, knitting next stitch like normal, etc.).

If I frog the main yarn back, do you think that knit-in part would magically stop the unravelling? Failing that, is it possible to put in a lifeline after the fact, with a tapestry needle and some fishing line?

The heel took me 5 hours to do (my first short row, and I’m a slow knitter), so I really really don’t want to rip the heel out.

Pics of the mistake are below. Thank you for helping to save my sock:

Yep, you can do a lifeline now–on the spiral, it will be harder to insert your lifeline into stitches that are all the same row, but you can do it! Good luck…