How to Fix Twisted Stitches

Have you ever looked at your stockinette stitch and thought it looked a little off? Is your knitting a little more “textured” than expected? Do you routinely use more yarn than the pattern calls for? If you answered yes to these questions, you may have twisted stitches.

Twisted stitches are a common problem among knitters. They occur when the stitches from the previous row get twisted as the new row is worked. Below is an example of twisted stockinette stitch (on the left) compared with regular stockinette stitch (on the right).

twisted stitches

The photos show that twisted stitches can add a lot of unintended texture. If you zoom in on the fabric, you can see the twist mistake in the stitch structure.

twisted stitches

The most common reason stitches become twisted is due to wrapping your yarn the wrong way when purling. If your stockinette stitch in the round is perfectly smooth, but it becomes bumpy when you work back and forth in rows, this may be your problem! When purling, be sure to wrap your yarn over the needle, not under. This results in the yarn sitting correctly on the needle for the next row.

twisted stitches


How can you tell if the yarn is sitting correctly on the needle? Look at how the stitch is sitting on the needle. If the right leg of the stitch is in the front, the stitch is sitting correctly; knit into this stitch normally, and your knitting will look fine. If the right leg of the stitch is in the back, the stitch is sitting backwards. If you knit into the stitch normally, you’ll end up with twisted stitches.

twisted stitches


You have 2 options if your stitches sit backwards. First, you can reset each one so it’s sitting correctly: slip the stitch from back to front to the right needle, and then replace it on the left needle.


I find this method slow and tedious, so tend not to reset my stitches. Instead, I simply knit into the back of the stitch, resulting in normal stockinette stitch. (If you consistently wrap your yarn under then needle when purling and work into the back of the stitch on the knit row, congratulations! You’re knitting in the Eastern uncrossed method.)


Do you have twisted stitches? How do you deal with them?

Happy stitching,


Featured Image: Getty |  James Quinton/WireImage

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One Comment

  1. Mary W at 9:40 am October 9, 2017

    I teach knitting and have several students that twist the stiich when purling and then knit into the back of the stitch on the next row. This works if one is doing only stockinette stitch but then an adjustment is needed for garter stitch; for any more complex knit/purl pattern it becomes unmanageable.
    I say, if you are satisfied being a beginner for the rest of your life, you can continue knitting into the back of the stitch. If not, try another “fix”.

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