How to Fix a Dropped Stitch at the End of a Row

Don't fret over a dropped stitch in your knitting projects! Learn how to fix a dropped stitch in your knitting projects the right way.

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 finishing my Kayleen Pullover, and last week I had a disaster of epic proportions: My needle slid out of the first stitch, and it raveled down several rows. This type of dropped stitch has never happened to me before, so I wasn’t sure what to do with all of those loops (besides saying “OH BLEEP [fill in your favorite exclamation]!!” really loud).

I was so flummoxed that I missed the “teachable moment” aspect of the problem—I didn’t even take a “before” photo of the chaos—I just focused on fixing it. I forgot about you, dear Interweave 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, with her go-to Knitter’s Companion book, accompanied by her handy video download.

SCENE: Kathleen’s TV room, evening, “Big Bang Theory” on TV. Kathleen picks up her knitting bag and pulls out her Kayleen Pullover sleeve. 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 dropped stitch before it can get into any more trouble.

She walks quickly to her office, grabs her laptop and pulls up the new Knitter’s Companion video (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 into 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’s how I fixed the dropped stitch and brought order to chaos:

dropped stitch

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.

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 knitting blog!

I don’t want you to be caught short when you experience an edge-of-your-seat knitting moment, so downloading The Knitter’s Companion is in your best interest! You’ll have Vicki Square, knitting teacher extraordinaire, waiting in your queue to help you with whatever ails your knitting.


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