Top 10 Common Knitting Mistakes

Knowing how to recognize and fix these mistakes will make you a fearless knitter.
Here’s how to fix them!

Counting down from the #1 most common and feared mistake…

#1 – Dropped Knit Stitch

A dropped knit stitch is very common. Here’s how to recognize it, and two ways to fix it.


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Top 10 Knitting Mistakes #1 - Fix a Dropped Knit Stitch
Top 10 Knitting Mistakes #1 - Fix a Dropped Knit Stitch - vimeo Video

#2 – Dropped Purl Stitch

Luckily, a dropped purl stitch is just a dropped knit stitch viewed from the other side. Again, here are two ways to fix it.


#3 – Knitting Too Tight

Knitting too tight can plague even the most accomplished knitters.

Though some will attest that they are used to it and that it doesn’t bother them, I see their hunched shoulders and white knuckles as they try to knit into stitches that barely fit around their needles.

This video demonstrates two of the most common reasons knitters knit too tight, for both Continental- and American-style knitters.

Knitting too tight can plague even the most accomplished knitters.

Though some will attest that they are used to it, and that it doesn’t bother them, I see their hunched shoulders and white knuckles as they try to knit into stitches that barely fit around their needles.

I hope this video helps you begin to break this habit!


#4 – Twisting Your Stitches When Purling

While working at my LYS, I never made any friends by doing this, but I couldn’t help pointing out to people that (in addition to whatever mistake they had come to ask me about) they were accidentally twisting their stitches.

Most people don’t even realize they are doing this!

Twisted stitches usually happen when you wrap the yarn the wrong way around your needle when you are purling. I show you how to do it the right way, both American and Continental style.

Twisted stitches usually happen when you wrap the yarn the wrong way around your needle when you are purling. I show you how to do it the right way, both American and Continental style.


#5 – Putting Stitches Back on the Needle the Wrong Way

Taking out stitches to undo a mistake is great. But what if you put them back on your needle facing the wrong way? Here I show you the right way to put stitches back on your needle, and also that it really doesn’t matter – here’s a fast way to turn them around if you’ve got them wrong.

Taking out stitches to undo a mistake is great!

But what if you put them back on your needle facing the wrong way?

Here I show you the right way to put stitches back on your needle, and also that it really doesn’t matter – here’s a fast way to turn them around if you’ve got them wrong.


#6 – Loop That Didn’t Get Pulled Through the Stitch

If you ever find something that looks really funny, it might be a loop that didn’t get pulled through all the way.

It’s a funny-looking double-stitch where there should be just one and it almost always happens when your loop of yarn doesn’t get pulled all the way through the stitch. Here’s how to tell.

Sometimes, you may find a funny-looking double-stitch where there should be just one. It may be because your loop of yarn didn’t get pulled all the way through your stitch. Here’s how to tell.


#7 – Getting Turned Around

Sometimes you’ve got to stop knitting in the middle of a row.
 
But when you come back to your knitting, how do you know which direction to go in? And how do you know if you’ve gone the wrong way? 
 
Answer: The yarn goes on the right-hand needle always.

Sometimes you’ve got to stop knitting in the middle of a row.

But when you come back to your knitting, how do you know which direction to go in? And how do you know if you’ve gone the wrong way? Watch and learn.


#8 – Wrong Gauge Makes Your Project Too Big or Too Small

Make a swatch (a small square of knitting at least 3 inches wide), block it, and then check your gauge. If your stitches are too small, use a needle one size bigger. If your stitches are too big, use a needle one size smaller.

You don’t always have to check your gauge (I know, you won’t anyway), but please do it on projects that you really need to fit a certain size. Watch the video to see how it’s done.

Gauge is the number of knit stitches and rows that fit into a specified unit of measurement, usually one inch (2.5 cm). It’s important because if your stitches are too big or too small, your project will be too big or too small.

Checking your gauge is as easy as knitting a small sample square, called a swatch, and placing a ruler or a gauge-checker over the fabric, and counting how many stitches there are in a few inches, and then dividing by the number of inches to get the average number of stitches per inch.

Here are my tips for knitting a swatch and checking your gauge.

Sadly, this is one mistake that may take a whole sweater to discover if you’re not careful. If your gauge is off by even half a stitch per inch, over a whole sweater, this could translate easily into three or four inches too big or too small.

Make a swatch (a small square of knitting at least 3 inches wide), block it, and then check your gauge before you begin. If your gauge is too small, use a needle one size bigger. If your gauge is too big, use a needle one size smaller. You don’t always have to do this (I know, you won’t anyway), but do it on projects that you really need to fit a certain size.


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KNITFreedom - How To Measure or Check Your Gauge in Knitting
KNITFreedom - How To Measure or Check Your Gauge in Knitting - youtube Video

To Do the Gauge – How to Check Your Gauge on Flat Knitting:

  1. Knit a Stockinette-stitch swatch at least 2 inches x 2 inches. Block if blocking finished piece.
  2. Lay a ruler over the stitches. Count how many stitches (columns of Vs) in one inch. That is your gauge.

More Info:

Checking Your Gauge in the Round

To check your gauge in the round, knit a small tube (CO ~20 sts) on Magic Loop and lay your gauge-checker over the stitches to check.

If you will be knitting your project in the round, it’s important to check your gauge in the round. Your stitches may not be the same size when you are knitting every round as opposed to flat knitting, where you purl every other row.

#9 – Mistakes in Ribbing

Knitting where you should purl and purling where you should knit makes a really obvious-looking mistake in ribbing.

Learning to recognize knit and purl stitches can help you fix this problem.

Also, forgetting to move your yarn to the front or back when ribbing American-style can result in an accidental yarnover on your needle.

Here’s how to fix both problems.

Knitting where you should purl and purling where you should knit makes a really obvious-looking mistake in ribbing. Learning to recognize knit and purl stitches can help you fix this problem.

Also, forgetting to move your yarn to the front or back when ribbing American-style can result in some funny criss-crossing over your needle. Here’s how to fix both problems.


#10 – Casting On and Binding Off Too Tight

A too-tight cast-on can, at best, make your project look a little funny. At worst, you won’t be able to put the garment on.

Socks with a too-tight cast on will not go on your feet, and this usually isn’t something that blocking can fix. If you have trouble with this, you have two choices: you can cast on using a bigger needle, or use two needles held together, as in this video.

Binding off too tightly can have the same frustrating results. Use a bigger needle in your right hand to alleviate this problem.

A too-tight cast-on can, at best, make your project look a little funny. At worst, you won’t be able to put the garment on.

Socks with a too-tight cast on will not go on your feet, and this usually isn’t something that blocking can fix. If you have trouble with this, you have two choices: you can cast on using a bigger needle, or use two needles held together, as in this video.

Binding off too tightly can have the same frustrating results. Use a bigger needle in your right hand to alleviate this problem.


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