Common Beginner Mistake: Forgetting to Move Your Yarn

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.

Fix Dozens of Beginner Mistakes with the Fearless Knitter

Cover of Fearless KnitterThis video is an excerpt from our Fearless Knitter video class. Fearless Knitter is a class for complete beginners that helps you build a great knitting foundation.

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.

Surprise! Click here to add Fearless Knitter to your cart at 25% off. This week only!

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.

By Liat Gat - Founder
Liat Gat is the founder and video knitting expert at She gets great joy out of supporting and encouraging students through instructive videos and blog posts.

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

  1. 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!!!!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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. :)


  5. 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

  6. 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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