How to pick up a dropped stitch

Have you discovered a long tear in your knitting? Like a yarn ladder? Then you have dropped a stitch.

Dropped stitches are unfortunate but they do happen now and then. I guess you may have lost one recently as you’re here reading this post 🙂

I use a crochet hook to do this as I find it easier than using a needle. If you prefer to use a knitting needle the procedure is the same!

Grab your hook and let’s get to the “knitty gritty” right away before any more stitches get on the run!

Video: How to rescue a runaway stitch

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If you don’t, keep scrolling for a text and image tutorial further down 🙂

Picking up a dropped stitch in stockinette

Rescuing a dropped stitch in stockinette knitting is the easiest and fastest. Let’s take a look at this first.

You will need to catch that running stitch before it goes any further.

Step 1 is to catch the dropped stitch with your hook

1. Catch the runner!

Catch the stitch on a crochet hook. You want to pick up the stitch so that the left leg is in front of the needle. (The stitch will untwist in the next step)

Step 2 is to make new knit stitches by pulling the next yarn strand through the stitch on the crochet hook.

2. Climb back up the ladder

Spread out the other stitches on your needle so that you get a clear view of what you’re doing. Now the stitch needs some help to climb up the ladder of threads again.

Insert your crochet hook (with the stitch on it) behind the first thread and pull that thread through the stitch.

Keep working like this until the stitch is back up by the needle.

Step 3 is to put the last stitch back on the needle. Make sure the right leg is in front of the needle!

3. Put it back where it belongs

When the stitch has climbed all the way up to the knitting needle it’s time to put it back where it belongs.

Insert your left knitting needle into the runaway stitch so that the right leg of the stitch is in front of the needle. (If the left leg is in front the stitch will be twisted.) Jay, we (you) did it and the rescue mission is over!

Rescuing a dropped stitch in garter stitch

To fix a dropped stitch when knitting garter stitch you use the same technique as for stockinette, but you need to alternate working from the front and back of your work.

Step 1 is to look for the purl bump and insert your crochet hook from that side.

1. Look for the purl bump

Look at your knitting to see on which side the stitch you’re about to catch has a purl bump.

Insert your crochet hook in the stitch from this side and pull the next thread through the stitch.

Spread your stitches out on the needle to get a clear view of what you’re doing. Then we need to help the lost stitch climb back up again.

2. Turn your work over

In garter stitch, we need to make the new stitches from the back on every other row.

In the video, you can see that I’m turning the work over for every stitch.

If you’re knitting in the round or have a very large project it can be hard to turn it over for every stitch. In these cases, it’s easier to insert the crochet hook from the back instead.

If your working in the round it may be easier to insert the crochet hook from the back instead of turning your work inside out. Like in the image above.

Step 3 is to put the last stitch back on the needle. Make sure the right leg is in front of the needle!

3. Put it back on the needle

When you have gotten the stitch all the way up to the needle it’s time to put it on your knitting needle with the right leg in front of the needle. Just as in stockinette.

And so you’re ready to go on with your knitting project.

Dropped stitches in knit and purl stitch patterns

You can use the exact same method if you drop a stitch in a knit and purl stitch pattern.

Take your time to figure out if it’s a knit or purl that’s coming next. Make the purl stitches from the back of your work and the knit stitches from the front.

Last words

Now that you know how to pick up dropped stitches you can keep on knitting with a little more confidence. After all, you just learned how to catch and lead your runners back home safely 🙂

Best of luck!

Your next read:
––> How to knit safely with a lifeline
––> Why the crochet hook is the knitter’s best friend
––> The 8 best knitting journals