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6 Top Knitting Mistakes (and How to Solve Them)

June 12, 2018 4 min read

6 Top Knitting Mistakes (and How to Solve Them)

Knitting, like any skill, can be frustrating. When you first begin, you may feel the need to do every stitch, row, and project perfectly. But knitting mistakes are part and parcel of the craft. We all make them! Once you learn how to fix knitting mistakes, you’ll see them less like disasters and more like opportunities to slow down, take a breath, and do some quick problem-solving. That way, when the project is finished, you can feel proud of your ability to fix knitting mistakes and finish the project despite any small setbacks.

1. Dropped Stitch

darn good yarn top knitting mistakes dropped stitch

This is one of the most common knitting mistakes. A loop can fall off in your bag, or you can simply be distracted while knitting. When this happens to you (and it will), don’t panic. Take a hard look at your work. There will be ladder rungs hanging out on top of your dropped stitch. These come from each row that the stitch missed.

You can use your knitting needles or a crochet hook to go back and “re-knit” that lost loop. You just need to pull it up through each rung of the ladder that has formed above it. You will do this one row at a time, pulling the loop through the lowest ladder rung until you have picked up all the dropped stitches.

To prevent future dropped stitches, always stop knitting when you reach the end of a row. Be sure to keep an accurate count of your stitches at all times. When you focus on the number of stitches, you’ll be less likely to drop a stitch without noticing.

2. Yarn is Too Tight

You may find while knitting that your stitches are too tight, making it difficult to move them up the needles. To put an end to this, be sure to always slide your stitches back to the widest part of your needle. Always hold your yarn loosely, sit comfortably, and most of all—relax! Holding your yarn tension too tight will inevitably cause frustration when you try to knit with loops that are too snug on the needle.

If you’re just getting started with knitting, try working with wider needles made of bamboo or wood. These will help you hold onto the yarn naturally.

3. Uneven and Messy Knitting

There could be a few issues causing this common knitting mistake. If you aren’t holding the tension of your stitches with consistency, you’ll have some stitches loose and others tight. Relax, find a comfortable way to hold your yarn, and practice. After you gain more experience, your projects will smooth themselves out.

Be sure that your needle size matches your yarn. If the needles are too big, you’ll wind up with loose, gaping stitches. Too small, and the stitches will be tight.  

4. Mysterious Holes in Your Project

If you return to your knitting project and find that it has some mystery holes, you probably just created an extra wrap of yarn over the needle. In order to fix this knitting mistake, you’ll need to “unknit” or unravel the yarn back to the beginning of the hole. You do this by inserting the left needle into the 2nd loop (below the top loop) on your right needle. Slip the right needle out of this loop and pull on the yarn. Using this method, unravel the project all the way back to the hole. Then, make sure your yarn is on the correct side, and begin again!

5. Losing Count of Your Rows

This knitting mistake can be extra tricky, but have no fear—there’s a solution! To help yourself slow down and take note, you can use a stitch counter or even a notebook and pen. Just jot down a mark each time you complete a row.

It is helpful to learn how to count your rows in a project. If you’re using stockinette stitch, you can count the “v” formations on the knit side. The other side will have three curves that make a mustache shape. If you’re using a garter switch, you can simply count up the row of ridges on each side of your project and add them together. Ta-da! Once you have the counting process down, you can use a tiny clothespin to mark your last counted row, so you don’t have to endlessly return to the beginning in order to count.

6. I Set Down My Knitting Project…and Now I Don’t Know Where I Left Off!

In the world of knitting mistakes, this is a common one. Most of us don’t live in a heavenly world where we have full days to devote to nothing-but-knit. Fortunately, there are tools to help you keep your place, especially when working on a more complicated project.

Learning to count your rows will help out big-time, as will small safety pins placed at certain marking points in your project. Are your needles and yarn a tangled mess on the couch? It may be time to invest in a yarn bowl. These unique pieces of art double as organizational solutions for even the most harried and messy knitters.