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Help! I dropped a stitch at the end of a row!

Feb 11, 2011

Since I didn't take a photo, I borrowed one from our friend TECHknitter, who calls this phenomenon "a terrifying mess." I agree! (Photo copyright TECHknitter)
I've been working on my knit-along project (the Seaweed Cardigan), and last week I had a disaster of epic proportions: My needle slid out of the first stitch and it dropped down several rows.

This has never happened to me before, so I wasn't sure what to do with all of those loops (besides saying "OH NO!!!" really loud).

I was so flummoxed that I missed the "teachable moment" aspect of the problem, I just focused on fixing it! I didn't even take a "before" photo of the chaos. I forgot about you, dear Knitting Daily readers, and how you would want to be part of my process.

So I'm going to recreate it for you, with photo help from our friend TECHknitter and Vicki Square and her go-to Knitter's Companion book and DVD, filled with basic and advanced knitting techniques.

SCENE: Kathleen's TV room, evening, "Big Bang Theory" on TV. Kathleen picks up her knitting bag and pulls out one of the fronts of the Seaweed Cardigan. She looks down to begin a row and notices that the end stitch has fallen off the needle and dropped down several rows.

Kathleen: "OH NO!!!" really loud.

Kathleen's dog Poppy, awakened from nap on the couch: "What the ... ?"

Kathleen digs out notions bag, finds locking marker, and captures rogue stitch before it can get into any more trouble.

She walks quickly to her office, grabs her laptop and the new Knitter's Companion DVD (because she loves a video and she remembers that Vicki talks about fixing dropped stitches at the end of a row).

She plops back in her chair, finds the segment on fixing dropped stitches, and relaxes to the dulcet tones of Vicki explaining how easy a fix this is.

Kathleen believes Vicki, follows her directions, fixes the stitch, and settles back in to her knitting and TV program.

Poppy heaves a sigh of relief and goes back to sleep.

End scene.

Edge-of-your-seat knitting drama, right?

Here are the steps I followed to bring order to chaos:

From The Knitter's Companion: When an edge stitch drops and ravels, there will be no visible "ladders," but there will be a large loop extending from the edge above a small loop, below which the knitted edge is intact.
1. Insert a crochet hook into the small loop, from front to back, then hold the large loop with some tension as you pull the lower part of the large loop through the loop on the hook to form a stitch.
2. With the hood in the stitch just made, pull the upper part of the large loop through this loop to form another stitch. Repeat steps 1 and 2 as many times as necessary.
3. With the hook in the last stitch made, pull the working yarn through this loop.
4. Place the last stitch on the needle, making sure that the leading leg is in front of the needle.

The illustrations above don't look nearly as daunting as the actual piece of knitting does, but if you gently pull the loops out to the side of the work, you can see which strands to pick up. Watching Vicki's tutorial on the DVD really helps show this.

(TECHknitter has developed a method in which you put the piece of knitting on a blocking surface and pin the loops out straight from the knitting. This secures everything; you unpin as you pick up the loops, so everything is tidy as you go along. Take a look at her blog!)

I don't want you to be caught short when you experience an edge-of-your-seat knitting moment, so please get yourself a copy of The Knitter's Companion DVD. You'll have Vicki Square, knitting teacher extraordinaire, waiting in your DVD collection to help you with whatever ails your knitting.


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charli2shoes wrote
on May 19, 2013 6:06 PM

Thank you so very much! The method of knitting both the top and bottom of the loops worked perfectly. I desperately did not want to rip back 5 or 6 rows of a sweater I'm knitting with mohair.

angellisa wrote
on Apr 12, 2012 7:42 PM

I wish I could post a photo of my mistake.  The demonstration chart is a different type of yarn from what I am using. I am using yarn that looks like ribbon.  It says 97% Nylon and 3% Polyester with a size 17 needle.   I wish I had someone near by to help me with this issue.  I am new to knitting, and I have learned to cast on, knit stitch, and Purl.  I have been knitting for one week, and I want to learn how to fix this mistake. Help!

jammeyechi wrote
on Jul 5, 2011 5:18 PM

Thanks so much! I was unfortunate enough to not notice I'd dropped the edge stitch until the run had worked it's way across 4 stitches and down 4 rows. A lot of patience and this tutorial saved my sanity, and it was worth not having to rip out 4 rows at 233 stitches each! Pinning out the loops on a blocking mat really helped, since I was working four stitches up through each of those messy loops.

SarahY wrote
on Feb 13, 2011 4:52 PM

Whew! Good to know! Thanks!

LindaML wrote
on Feb 13, 2011 1:20 PM


I am a brand new knitter working on my first sweater and this post SAVED my sanity today! I had dropped a stitch and remembered your post. Grabbed the crochet hook and managed to fix the loopy mess. Thanks for the help!

Zoe wrote
on Feb 11, 2011 6:36 PM

When you use a crochet hook to pick up the dropped knitting stitches, it doesn't come out looking like crochet.  It all looks knitted the way it should be.

CGJ wrote
on Feb 11, 2011 1:39 PM

if you slip the first stitch, knit to the end. Slip 1, knit to end, s1 knit to end. Drop the last stitch.  Your edging is 1 stitch for every 2 rows. Your design show crochet every row. This does not work.

bdurst wrote
on Feb 11, 2011 12:51 PM

Got online to order book and DVD and it is out of stock.  Cannot order it!  Any info on availability?

SandraA wrote
on Feb 11, 2011 12:01 PM

More posts like this in the KD newsletter please, actually would've preferred to see this version complete with parenthetical aside at the end re TECHknitter's blog. It's nice to see more of your authentic writing voice, Kathleen, rather than trying to sell us the Knitter's Companion for what feels like the millionth time.

on Feb 11, 2011 11:39 AM

Hi All!

Take a look at Techknitter's blog ( She has a version of the fix which I think replicated a slipped stitch edge.

In the illustrations above, the crochet hook is inserted front to back, I think the shading on the pulled-through loop on Step 1 makes it look a little like the hook is coming from the back, but it's going from front to back as noted in the written instructions below the illustrations.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


JanL wrote
on Feb 11, 2011 10:32 AM

I think that's happened to us all! Thank you for the helpful tips!

sewalaskan wrote
on Feb 11, 2011 9:37 AM

Enjoyed your post - but mostly enjoyed that you also watch Big Bang Theory - one of my favorite shows.

Zoe wrote
on Feb 11, 2011 8:51 AM

Hi peet, yes the stitch looks like you will be twisting it the way the crochet hook is inserted into the stitch.  If you are off setting the purl stitch from the row beneath and this is ok.   What a thought -- you can fix the dropped stitch from the edge.  I would assume that every other row, you will off set the purl stitch from the previous row when you do this.  Knitters are never done learning new/old things!!!

peet wrote
on Feb 11, 2011 8:36 AM


Thanks for this tip.  I have had this problem more than once and didn't realize that I had to work each "loop" twice. One question:  in the diagram for step 1 it looks to me like the crochet hook is going in back to front. Do I believe the picture or the text?

montanaibu wrote
on Feb 11, 2011 8:17 AM

Does the dvd set with Knitter's Companion have captions or subtitles?  I'm deaf and would love to be able to understand it.  Thanks for posting how to do this!

DonnaS@28 wrote
on Feb 11, 2011 7:45 AM

Kathleen, what if the item being knitted has edges that begin with a slipped stitch on each row, and the edge stitches are dropped?  If Vicki Square's book and DVD show how to fix THAT problem I'll order it right away.