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Knitting Basics: Picking Up a Dropped Stitch

No matter how careful you are when knitting, invariably you’re going to drop a stitch. Sometimes you’ll notice this right away and catch it within a row or two. Other times, you’ll see it hiding several rows below where you’re working. Either way, relax. It is fixable. Here’s how you do it.

Picking Up a Dropped Stitch Down a Row—Knitwise

It always happens—you put down your knitting only to come back to dropped stitches that have loosened back a row or two. Never fear. Here’s how you pick them up again.

Knitting: How to pic up a dropped stitch, Step 1: Insert your left needle through the front of the dropped stitch so it won’t travel any farther.
  1. Insert your left needle through the front of the dropped stitch so it won’t travel any farther.
  2. Knitting: How to pick up a dropped stitch, Step 2: Insert the left needle under the loose strand directly above the dropped stitch.
  3. Insert the left needle under the loose strand directly above the dropped stitch.
  4. Knitting: How to pick up a dropped stitch, Step 3: With the right needle, pull the dropped stitch over the strand and tip of the needle.
  5. With the right needle, pull the dropped stitch over the strand and tip of the needle.
  6. Knitting: How to pick up a dropped stitch, Step 4:Now knit the stitch on the left needle, and cont on.
  7. Now knit the stitch on the left needle, and cont on.

Picking Up a Dropped Stitch Down a Row—Purlwise

Sometimes dropped stitches are more obvious on the purl side in stockinette stitch. It just pops out at you, and you can see the horizontal line from each row very clearly.

Knitting: How to pick up a dropped stitch on the Purl side, Step 1: Insert the left needle into the purl st.
  1. Insert the left needle into the purl st.
  2. Knitting: How to pick up a dropped stitch, Step 2: Insert the left needle under the loose strand. It should now be to the right of the dropped stitch on the left needle.
  3. Insert the left needle under the loose strand. It should now be to the right of the dropped stitch on the left needle.
  4. Knitting: How to pick up a dropped stitch, Step 3: With the right needle, lift the dropped stitch over the strand and the point of the needle.
  5. With the right needle, lift the dropped stitch over the strand and the point of the needle.
  6. Knitting: How to pick up a dropped stitch, Step 4: Pull the strand through the stitch.
  7. Pull the strand through the stitch.
  8. Knitting: How to pick up a dropped stitch, Step 5: Transfer the stitch back to the left needle and purl it.
  9. Transfer the stitch back to the left needle and purl it.

Picking Up Dropped Stitches Several Rows Down

This is where a crochet hook really becomes your best friend. When you notice a dropped stitch several rows down, first things first, stick a crochet hook into the stitch. You want to be sure the stitch doesn’t fall any farther.

Knitting: How to pick up a dropped stitch several rows down, Step 1: Position your work so you’re above and at the same vertical point as the dropped stitch on the knit side of your work. Pull the needles apart very gently, exposing the horizontal lines from each of the rows missing the stitch.
  1. Position your work so you’re above and at the same vertical point as the dropped stitch on the knit side of your work. Pull the needles apart very gently, exposing the horizontal lines from each of the rows missing the stitch.
  2. Look at your work carefully, and assess how many rows the stitch has fallen. The sample shows 4 loose strands, representing 4 rows.
  3. With the crochet hook inserted into the dropped stitch, hook the strand right above the stitch and pull it through.
  4. Knitting: How to pick up a dropped stitch several rows down, Step 2: With the crochet hook inserted into the dropped stitch, hook the strand right above the stitch and pull it through. Knitting: How to pick up a dropped stitch several rows down, Step 3: Pull next strand through, and repeat until all the stitches are picked up from the previous rows.
  5. Pull next strand through, and repeat until all the stitches are picked up from the previous rows.
  6. Knitting: How to pick up a dropped stitch several rows down, Step 4: Pull next strand through, and repeat until all the stitches are picked up from the previous rows.
  7. Repeat this process until you’re at the same row as the needles. Place the last stitch on the left needle, and continue in the stitch pattern.
Knitting: How to pick up a dropped stitch, Step 4: Repeat this process until you’re at the same row as the needles. Place the last stitch on the left needle, and continue in the stitch pattern.

Just remember, any glitch in your knitting project is fixable. Have fun, and happy knitting!

From The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting by Becca Smith