How to Rescue a Dropped Stitch in Knitting

Video knitting how to pick up a dropped stitch

Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. You’re working on your first knitting project, and suddenly, disaster strikes—a stitch drops, and before you know it, your work is unraveling before your eyes. But fear not! There’s a simple solution to fix a dropped stitch, whether it’s a knit or a purl, regardless of how many rows down it has gone.

a dropped stitch that unraveled to several rows below

Knitting, with its absence of knots, grants us the power to redo any section. All you need is a crochet hook and a minute or two. The best part? This technique isn’t just for fixing mistakes. You can intentionally drop a stitch and use the same method for various creative applications.

securing the dropped stitch with a stitch marker and needle stoppers

How to Fix a Dropped Purl Stitch

Fixing a dropped purl stitch follows almost the same process as fixing a dropped knit stitch, with one slight difference. When rescuing a purl stitch, the strands need to be in the front, and you’ll need to insert your crochet hook from behind.

fixing a purl stitch on the wrong side of a swatch in stockinette stitch

Now, doing this might be a bit cumbersome, but there’s an easy solution. A knit stitch will look 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 same technique but work from the backside.

If you’re working on a project in garter stitch, however, you’ll need to alternate between bringing the strands to the front and the back, doing it all from the front. If this seems a bit more complicated, don’t worry! There’s a separate tutorial dedicated to fixing dropped stitches in garter stitch.

Fixing a Stitch Without a Crochet Hook, One Row Below

Sometimes, luck is on our side, and the dropped stitch only unravels one row. In these cases, you can fix things without a crochet hook quite easily.

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Step 1: Pick up the stitch with your left needle, ensuring it’s not twisted and the strand of yarn is at the back of it.

picking up the dropped stitch with the strand in back

Step 2: Insert your right needle into the stitch as you normally would to knit a stitch.

inserting the right needle into the picked-up stitch coming from below

Step 3: Scoop the strand in the back through. You can use the tip of your index finger for support. It’s often easier to go in from below or above—whichever feels more natural to you.

pulling the yarn through to redo a knit stitch

Step 4: Slip the resulting stitch back to the left needle knitwise, untwisting it in the process.

slipping the fixed stitch back knitwise

And if it’s a purl stitch, make sure the strand is in front of it.

Step 2b: Insert your right needle into the stitch purlwise.

picking up the dropped stitch with the strand in front

Step 3b: Pull the strand through, potentially with the support of your index finger.

pulling the strand in front through, coming from the back

Tip: You can use the same method to fix a mistake. Simply insert your knitting needle into the stitch one row below the one you want to fix and intentionally unravel the offending stitch. Then, follow the same steps. You might need to bring the strand to the front or back by slipping the stitch between your left and right knitting needle.

That’s how you rescue a dropped stitch in knitting. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

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