A step-by-step tutorial showing how to fix a dropped stitch – no matter if it’s a knit or a purl stitch or if it’s one or several rows below.
Let me guess. You just dropped a stitch on your first knitting project and it unraveled all the way down. Do you need to start all over again? Absolutely not! You can still rescue your knitting. There’s an easy way to fix a dropped stitch and this tutorial is all about it.
The beauty of knitting is that it involves no knots. This means you can basically rework any given section over and over again. All you need is a crochet hook and a minute or two.
And the best part: You can use the same technique to fix knitting mistakes as well by intentionally dropping a stitch. We’ll save that for later but I felt it’s important to mention right at the start that this technique has so many fun and useful applications.
Let’s dive right into it!
Note: I earn a small commission for purchases made through links in this article.
How to fix a dropped stitch
To fix a dropped knit stitch, you will need a crochet hook. Before you go hunting for one, you absolutely need to secure the stitch. Use a stitch marker, a spare needle, an earing - just something that will prevent it from unraveling further.
You should also make sure that you secure the stitches that are still on the needle. Slide them further down the needle or even use a needle stopper. Because often people accidentally drop more stitches while they try to rescue their project. This method will create knit stitches.
- Insert your crochet hook into the dropped stitch. Your work should be facing you on the right side. Make sure you didn't accidentally twist the stitch. The loose strands should all be in the back of the dropped stitch.
- Find the strand that connects the stitches in the row above. Be careful, sometimes the strands twist around a bit. You need to catch the lowest one.
- Grab the strand with your crochet hook and pull the yarn through. This should create another loop around your crochet hook, aka a knit stitch.
- Repeat these steps until you used up all strands and you are back to your current row.
- Slip the stitch back to your left needle. Make sure you don't accidentally twist it as you do.
If you don't have a crochet hook, you can also use a spare knitting needle. If you use your index finger to push the strand through, things should be okay. It will be much faster with a hook. Also, if you use a knitting needle, you have to re-insert your knitting needle through the front after each stitch. Otherwise, you will twist your stitches.
How to fix a dropped purl stitch
The method I showed you above, will be perfect to rescue a knit stitch. But what about fixing a dropped purl stitch? How does that work? Well, almost exactly the same. The only difference is that the strands need to be front and you need to insert your crochet hook coming from behind.
Now, it will be a bit cumbersome to do that. But there’s an easy solution: A knit stitch will appear exactly like a purl stitch from the wrong side and vice versa. So, if you need to fix a column of purl stitches, you can simply use the exact same technique and do it from the backside!
If you are working on a project in garter stitch, you sadly have to do it all from the front and alternate between bringing the strands to the front and the back. Since it’s a bit more complicated I wrote a separate tutorial on fixing a dropped stitching garter stitch.
Reading tip: Here are 10 more essential knitting tips you do not want to miss.
Fixing a stitch without a crochet hook that is one row below
Sometimes you can rescure a dropped stitch right away and it will only unravel one row. In these cases, you can also fix things without a crochet hook quite easily.
Step 1: Pick up the stitch with your left needle. Make sure it isn’t twisted and the strand of yarn in the back of it
Step 2: Insert your right needle into the stitch as you normally would to knit a stitch.
Step 3: Skoop the strand in the back through. You can use the tip of your index finger as support. I find this is often a bit easier. You can go in from below or above – it doesn’t matter. Just pick whatever feels easier to you.
Step 4: Slip the resulting stitch back to the left needle knitwise (this will untwist it).
And if it’s a purl stitch, the strand needs to be in front of it.
Step 2b: Insert your right needle into the stitch purlwise.
Step 3b: And pull the strand through (maye with the support of your index finger).
Tip: You can use the exact same method to fix a mistake. Simply insert your knitting needle into the stitch one row below the one you want to fix and unravel the offending stitch intentionally. And then follow the exact same steps.
You may have to bring the strand to the front/back first by slipping the stitch back and forth between your left and right knitting needle.
7 thoughts on “How to fix a dropped stitch in knitting”
When I fix dropped purl stitches, I just flip my work to the knit side and pick up the dropped stitches knit- wise! I find it much easier and quicker.
ah…i should have added a section on fixing a dropped purl stitch as well. You are absolutely right there! Will add it when I find the time.
I think picking up a dropped stitch when knitting garter stitch is a little more complicated?
yes it is. But I have a tutorial for that on my blog here as well!
there are not enough words to express my gratitude. this saved my day and my project….after hours of fumbling and almost becoming frantic i went to your blog and now it all makes sense to me. i solved the mess i made in less than 3 minutes once i read your post. now i will no longer be so concerned about dropping a stitch! it actually feels so simple now 🙂
Happy to hear that molly. And yeah, it IS simple once you wrapped your head around it!
I’m a beginner knitter. I knew I had a problem with a stitch in a previous row but wasn’t sure if it was even a dropped stitch. I looked at so many tutorials, but I couldn’t see what was going on with any of their knitting. Finally, examining my own knitting and comparing it with your clear visuals was what saved me! Thank you for taking great pictures and using fuzz-free yarn.