How to Fix a Mistake in Knitting

You’re sitting there, gazing proudly at the intricate pattern you’ve been diligently knitting for the past few hours. But wait, something doesn’t look right. Panic sets in as you realize you’ve made a mistake somewhere along the way. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps to fix that pesky mistake in your knitting, so you can get back on track and create the beautiful masterpiece you envisioned.

Identifying Common Mistakes

Dropped Stitches

Dropped stitches are a common mistake in knitting where a stitch is accidentally slipped off the needle and unraveled. To identify a dropped stitch, look for a noticeable gap in your knitting fabric. It’s essential to fix dropped stitches promptly to prevent further unraveling and weakening of the surrounding stitches.

Extra Stitches

Extra stitches occur when you inadvertently create additional loops on your needle, resulting in an increased stitch count. These extra stitches can throw off the pattern and affect the overall appearance of your project. Counting stitches regularly can help you identify and correct any extra stitches you may have unintentionally added.

Twisted Stitches

Twisted stitches are a common mistake when knitting in the round or on circular needles. They occur when the stitch orientation is incorrect, leading to twisted or crossed stitches. Twisted stitches can be visually noticeable and may cause your knitting to look distorted or uneven. Identifying these stitches is necessary to correct them and maintain the desired stitch pattern.

Uneven Tension

Uneven tension refers to inconsistencies in the tightness or looseness of your knitting stitches. This can result in an uneven appearance in the fabric, with some areas looking tighter or looser than others. Identifying uneven tension is crucial to achieve a consistent and professional-looking finished project.

Misplaced Decreases or Increases

Misplaced decreases or increases happen when you incorrectly execute these essential techniques in your knitting project. This can affect the shape and structure of your project, causing it to look distorted or misshapen. Identifying these mistakes allows you to correct them and ensure your knitting follows the intended pattern.

Tools and Materials Needed

Crochet Hook or Darning Needle

A crochet hook or darning needle is essential for fixing various knitting mistakes. A crochet hook is useful for picking up dropped stitches, while a darning needle can be used for weaving in loose ends or fixing other types of errors. These tools allow you to manipulate your knitting stitches and correct any mistakes with ease.

Stitch Markers

Stitch markers are small rings or clips that help you keep track of specific stitches or sections in your knitting. They can be placed on the knitting needle or inserted directly into the stitches to mark important points or pattern repeats. Using stitch markers makes it easier to count stitches accurately and identify any mistakes in your knitting.

Safety Pins

Safety pins are versatile tools that can be used in various ways when fixing knitting mistakes. They can serve as temporary stitch holders or markers, allowing you to set aside sections of your work without unraveling the stitches. Safety pins also come in handy for marking critical points or areas that need attention in your knitting project.


Having a pair of sharp scissors is essential for fixing knitting mistakes. They are useful for cutting yarn when removing stitches or fixing errors. It’s important to use small, sharp scissors specifically designed for crafting to ensure clean and precise cuts without damaging the surrounding stitches.

Fixing Dropped Stitches

Identifying a Dropped Stitch

To identify a dropped stitch, carefully examine your knitting fabric for any noticeable gaps or holes. If you come across a section where the stitches below the gap appear loose or uneven, there’s a high chance that a stitch has been dropped. It’s crucial to identify the precise row where the stitch was dropped to effectively fix the mistake.

Using a Crochet Hook to Pick Up the Dropped Stitch

To fix a dropped stitch, you will need a crochet hook that matches the size of your knitting needles. Insert the crochet hook into the dropped stitch from the front or back, depending on the stitch orientation. Catch the yarn strand beneath the dropped stitch with the hook and pull it through, bringing the dropped stitch back onto the needle. Continue working your way up the column of dropped stitches until you reach the desired row.

Fixing a Dropped Stitch in Stockinette Stitch

In stockinette stitch, fixing a dropped stitch is relatively straightforward. Use a crochet hook to pick up the dropped stitch, ensuring that the left leg of the stitch is in front of the right leg. Gently pull the yarn strand through the stitch and reposition it on the knitting needle. Repeat this process for any additional dropped stitches in the same row.

Fixing a Dropped Stitch in Garter Stitch

Fixing a dropped stitch in garter stitch requires a slightly different approach. Start by identifying the dropped stitch and the horizontal bar of yarn below it. Use a crochet hook to insert it through the bar from back to front, so the bar is now on the hook. Slip this loop off the crochet hook and onto the knitting needle. Repeat the process for any other dropped stitches in garter stitch.

Fixing Extra Stitches

Counting Stitches to Identify Extra Stitches

To identify extra stitches in your knitting, count the number of stitches on your needle regularly. Take note of the stitch count required by the pattern you are following. If your stitch count exceeds the specified number, there are likely extra stitches present. It’s important to identify and correct these additional stitches to maintain the pattern’s integrity.

Knitting Together Extra Stitches

When you discover extra stitches, you can knit them together to eliminate the excess. Insert the right needle through the first two stitches as if you were going to knit them normally. Wrap the yarn around the needle and pull it through both stitches, resulting in a single stitch. Repeat this process until all the extra stitches have been knitted together.

Decreasing Extra Stitches

Another method to resolve extra stitches is by decreasing. Choose a suitable decrease method based on the stitch pattern you are following. Common decrease techniques include knit two together (K2tog) or slip, slip, knit (SSK). Execute the chosen decrease method across the row, working the extra stitches into the decreases until you reach the desired stitch count.

Fixing Twisted Stitches

Identifying Twisted Stitches

Identifying twisted stitches requires a visual inspection of your knitting fabric. Twisted stitches appear crossed or distorted, disrupting the smooth appearance of the stitch pattern. Look for stitches that don’t align consistently, either leaning left or right instead of standing straight. Identifying twisted stitches early allows you to correct them and restore the proper stitch orientation.

Untwisting a Knit Stitch

To untwist a knit stitch, insert the left needle into the front of the twisted stitch from left to right, just as you would normally knit. Then, insert the right needle into the back of the same twisted stitch, also from left to right. With both needles in place, simultaneously slide the twisted stitch off the left needle and onto the right needle. The stitch will now be untwisted and correctly oriented.

Untwisting a Purl Stitch

To untwist a purl stitch, follow a similar process as untwisting a knit stitch. Insert the left needle into the back of the twisted stitch from right to left, as if you were purling. Then, insert the right needle into the front of the same twisted stitch, also from right to left. Slide the twisted stitch off the left needle and onto the right needle to untwist it. Now the stitch will be in the correct purl orientation.

Fixing Uneven Tension

Identifying Uneven Tension

Uneven tension is often visible when certain areas of your knitting appear tighter or looser than others. This can be caused by variations in the tightness of your stitches or variations in your knitting technique. Identifying areas of uneven tension allows you to take the necessary steps to correct it and ensure a more consistent fabric.

Using Blocking Techniques to Fix Uneven Tension

Blocking, a technique that involves wetting or steaming your knitting, can help even out the tension in your fabric. To block your knitting, carefully follow the instructions specific to your yarn and project. Wet blocking involves soaking the knitted piece, gently stretching and shaping it, and allowing it to dry. Steam blocking requires using a steam iron to lightly touch or hover over the knitting, relaxing the fibers and evening out tension.

Adjusting Your Knitting Technique

If you consistently notice areas of uneven tension in your knitting, it may be necessary to adjust your knitting technique. Experiment with holding the yarn and needle differently to achieve a more even tension. Practice knitting with a relaxed grip and consistent pressure to minimize variations in stitch tightness. Taking the time to refine your knitting technique can greatly improve the overall evenness of your stitches.

Fixing Misplaced Decreases or Increases

Identifying Misplaced Decreases or Increases

Misplaced decreases or increases can be detected by comparing your knitting to the pattern instructions or the intended shaping. If you notice that the decreases or increases don’t align with the pattern’s requirements, then they have likely been misplaced. Identifying these mistakes early ensures that the shaping of your project remains accurate.

Laddering Down to Correct the Mistake

If the misplaced decrease or increase is within a few rows, you can ladder down to correct it. Insert a crochet hook or smaller knitting needle into the appropriate stitch below the mistake and gently unravel the stitches above it, one by one. Once you reach the misplaced decrease or increase, fix the mistake by executing the correct decrease or increase method. Then, carefully knit the unraveled stitches back up the ladder until you have reached your current row.

Tinking Back to Correct the Mistake

If the misplaced decrease or increase is several rows below your current work, tinking back is a suitable method. Tinking refers to unraveling your knitting stitch by stitch, working backward. With your knitting needle, carefully insert it into the stitch below the mistake, from left to right. Unravel the stitches above the mistake, and once you reach the misplaced decrease or increase, rework it correctly. Continue tinking back and reknitting until you have reached your current row.

Preventing and Managing Mistakes

Using Stitch Markers to Track Your Progress

Using stitch markers can be a valuable tool for avoiding mistakes and keeping track of your progress. Place stitch markers in key locations, such as the beginning of a round or specific stitch pattern sections. They provide visual cues and help you stay organized while knitting, reducing the likelihood of errors and making it easier to identify and correct mistakes if they do occur.

Using Safety Pins to Mark Critical Points

Safety pins are versatile and can be utilized to mark critical points in your knitting. If you need to set aside part of your work temporarily or mark areas that require additional attention, safety pins can hold stitches securely without unraveling. Additionally, they can act as a reminder of places where mistakes may be prevalent or that need specific adjustments later on.

Developing a System for Checking Your Work Regularly

Developing a system for checking your work at regular intervals is crucial in catching and fixing mistakes promptly. Take short breaks during your knitting session to carefully examine your fabric, ensuring the stitches are consistent and aligned correctly with the pattern. By integrating these periodic checks into your knitting routine, you can catch mistakes early and prevent them from becoming more challenging to fix.

Utilizing Lifelines for Tricky Projects

Lifelines are threads or pieces of yarn that you insert through a row of stitches to serve as a reference point. They are particularly useful for complex or intricate knitting patterns. To use a lifeline, thread a separate strand of yarn onto a darning needle and carefully thread it through the live stitches on your needle, making sure not to pierce the actual stitches. If you make a mistake, you can easily rip back to the lifeline without worrying about losing your progress.

Knowing When to Start Over

Assessing the Severity of the Mistake

Sometimes, a knitting mistake can be minor and easily fixed without unraveling your entire project. However, there are instances where the mistake may be too severe or widespread, making it more practical to start over. Assess the severity of the mistake and consider if the effort required to fix it surpasses the time and resources required to restart. Weigh the benefits of starting fresh and learning from the mistake against investing additional time and effort into correcting it.

Considering the Time and Effort Involved

Consider the time and effort you have already invested in your knitting project when deciding whether to start over. If you have devoted a significant amount of time and effort and the mistake is extensive, starting over may be the most efficient solution. Starting with a clean slate allows you to enjoy the knitting process without the stress of correcting major errors.

Deciding Between Fixing and Starting Over

The decision to fix a mistake or start over ultimately depends on your personal preferences, the complexity of the mistake, and the value you place on your knitting project. Assess the time, effort, and emotional investment required for each option. Remember that making mistakes is a natural part of knitting, and both fixing and starting over can be valuable learning experiences.

Seeking Help and Resources

Joining Knitting Communities and Forums

Joining knitting communities and online forums can provide valuable support and resources when faced with knitting mistakes. Engage with fellow knitters, ask questions, and share your experiences. The collective knowledge and expertise within these communities can offer guidance, suggestions, and even step-by-step instructions for fixing specific mistakes. Knitters are known for their generosity in sharing knowledge and helping others navigate the world of knitting.

Consulting Knitting Books or Websites

Knitting books and websites, including tutorials, guides, and troubleshooting sections, are fantastic resources for understanding and correcting knitting mistakes. Many knitting experts and authors have dedicated resources to help knitters overcome common issues. Consult these references for detailed explanations, illustrations, and tips specific to the mistake you are trying to fix.

Attending Knitting Workshops or Classes

Attending knitting workshops or classes offers a hands-on learning experience for fixing mistakes and refining your knitting skills. Instructors can guide you through common mistakes and provide personalized assistance. These educational settings also foster a supportive community where you can connect with fellow knitters facing similar challenges. Workshops and classes are an excellent investment in your knitting journey and can boost your confidence in handling mistakes.

Remember, making mistakes in your knitting is entirely normal and should not deter you from pursuing this craft. With the right tools, resources, and a positive mindset, you can easily identify and correct common knitting mistakes and continue creating beautiful projects. Embrace the learning process, be patient with yourself, and enjoy the journey of becoming a skilled knitter.