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Common Beginner Mistake: Forgetting to Move Your Yarn

Blog » Beginner Knitting » Common Beginner Mistake: Forgetting to Move Your Yarn

Common Beginner Mistake: Forgetting to Move Your Yarn

Liat Gat - Founder

July 20, 2020

Recently, a beginning knitter wrote me asking about the confusing mess of yarn on her stitches. Simply put, she had forgotten to move the yarn to the front for purling and to the back for knitting.

Recently, a reader wrote me asking about the confusing mess of yarn on her stitches. She wanted to know what exactly what the problem was.

She was knitting a seed stitch project. Here are photos of her mistake:

Seed stitch mistake - extra loop
The reader noticed an extra loop of yarn on the needle.
Seed stitch mistake - funky stitches
She also saw several crammed-up stitches next to each other.

Can you identify this common beginner knitting mistake? The answer:

She forgot to move the yarn to the front for purling and to the back for knitting.

When you forget to move the yarn correctly, you end up with an extra loop of yarn over your needle. This makes a tangly-looking stitch that won’t slide.

Here’s a video showing exactly how it happens and how to correct the problem.

Video: Forgot to Move the Yarn from Front to Back – Ribbing

Ribbing Troubleshooting - Beginner
Ribbing Troubleshooting - Beginner

Cheat Sheet: How to Correctly Move Your Yarn Between Knitting and Purling

  • When you are going to do a knit stitch, put the yarn to the back of the work.
  • When you’re doing a purl stitch, move the yarn between the needle tips and bring it to the front of the work.

This applies whether you’re knitting Continental style or American style.

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In it, you will review the knit stitch and then learn to purl, rib, choose yarn, fix beginner mistakes, read your work, read patterns, increase, decrease, slip stitches, do seed stitch, beginning lace and more.

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Leave a Comment

Have you run into this problem before? Are you successfully able to recognize and fix this beginner knitting mistake? Leave a comment and let me know.

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Stop making these common mistakes and knit with confidence

20 thoughts on “Common Beginner Mistake: Forgetting to Move Your Yarn”

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  1. Hey Liat!
    I just read this email, and I cannot count how many times I have done this very same thing! I have gotten good at reading my knitting, and now I can tell if I have added a stitch this way. If you look at the picture in your email, you can see the added stitch easily because it doesn’t look like the stitch before or the stitch after. All the writer needs to do is to let that added stitch slide off the needle and continue knitting the row. The stitch before and after may need to be tightened up a little but not really tight. If she tinks that row back a few stitches to get past the 2 mistakes, and once that happens just re-knit the stitches correctly so that there is no added stitch.

    This is what I would do anyway.

  2. Oh yes but never could figure out what I I was doing incorrectly!
    You are the best . Being a member of your site helps me so much
    Anne-Louise Sterry

    1. Elias - KnitFreedom Customer Happiness

      Hi Anne-Louise,

      I’m going to be passing your comment along to Liat, but I want to let you know that she is currently on maternity leave (she is expecting her baby very soon) and will be taking up to 1-2 weeks to answer.

      Thanks so much for your patience and understanding!


  3. Hallo! I was looking on your site for a good tip how to keep a good tension in English style knitting. I’m a fairly new knitter and this is the hardest part for me to master, I don’t seem to be able to hold the yarn the proper way and for that reason my stitches are not even not to mention they don’t look nice.I watched so many videos on YouTube and on different knitting sites but can’t get a hang of it. Can you please explain this to me and if you can give me a good advice. Thank you very much for your time and understanding my problem! Magdalena

    1. Skye Jameson - Knitting Expert

      Hi Magdalena,
      Congratulations on beginning to knit! I am super excited for you. I think KnitFreedoms Fearless Knitter course is a perfect place for you to start. It deals with tensioning yarn and other issues that will help you become a confident and happy knitter. Liat also has an excellent video that’s a tension trick of hers that I think will help you. You can find the link to that here: tension trick The Fearless Knitter course is a lot of fun too. Also, remember, if you run into any problems or questions, you can always write us. Good luck and have fun!

      1. Magdalena Stefanovic

        The tension trick is shown in continental knitting,would it be possible to show this tension trick in English style knitting? I would be more then great full for that. Thank you very much! Magdalena

        1. Skye Jameson - Knitting Expert

          Hi Magdalena,
          I am so sorry! yes! KnitFreedom does have videos on knitting tension in English style. Here is a tension video that is part of our FREE learn-to-knit course.

          You can also easily access it by signing up for a free account at
          KnitFreedom will also be publishing a new knitting tension video in the coming weeks. If you sign up for a free account, we can notify you when the new video comes out! Our

          course will teach you American (English)-style tension. It is part of our Knitting Superstar University. You can get it cheaper with a subscription to

          I have included a video from the course that deals with both English and Continental knitting tension ( )which I think will be very helpful.

          I am super excited for you and hope you enjoy these videos as well as find them helpful!
          Thank you for writing,


  4. Thank you for all of your VERY helpful and informative emails. I have made this same mistake “a time or two… or three or….“. Your explanation of what had happened and how to fix it are invaluable. I will NEVER forget the very first time I had made a knitting mistake, recognized it and figured out how to fix it. It was the preverbal lightbulb going off over my head. I was totally filled with joy, happiness, pride, laughter and the realization I had finally become a knitter. Thank you, again, for your guidance and sharing of your talents and knowledge.

    1. Susan, your words leave me speechless. Thank you so much for such a wonderful review and comment. I love what you said… “The realization I had finally become a knitter.” YES!!!!

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve been searching every where about what I did wrong and how to fix that mistake. They don’t show it on any of the videos I’ve seen.

  6. I encourage anyone to take any of these courses! You will come out a confident intermediate to advanced knitter! I bought the premium course and am soooo happy I did. List calms a person and gives them THE pep talk that will convince you that you are a capable special knitter.

  7. Liat, are we supposed to be getting an email each week telling us more about the knit-along or are we supposed to just log into our account at Knit Freedom and see how far things are coming along? I don’t get emails regularly from you and just received one today on “fixing mistakes”. Am I missing out on things? I am not getting emails whereby you explain what was done in the lesson as you commented to someone else that you were doing.

    1. Hi Sue,

      Thank you so much for commenting here about that! Yes, you were supposed to be getting knitalong emails every week and I’m mystified as to why that was not set up correctly for you.

      I added you last night and I checked our mailing list just now and see that you are now correctly receiving the knitalong emails. Yay!

      Thanks again for letting me know about this. Big hugs and a big (tardy) welcome onboard to the knitalong. :)


  8. I used to make this mistake a lot in the beginning. Now by completing the entire stitch this doesn’t happen to me anymore. It was very frustrating in the beginning. Your video’s are really a huge help.
    Thank you

  9. Your videos about fixing mistakes made me brave enough to learn how to fix my mistakes instead of “frogging” everything and starting over and making the same mistakes again. Love you lessons! Thank yoU!

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