Picking up dropped stitches... and dropping them on purpose

For some time now, but especially since knitting Nuvem (silky laceweight yarn on slippery 3.5mm metal needles) I have come to enjoy picking up dropped stitches. I don't drop very many, but sometimes, especially if I'm watching a movie and knitting quickly, there are a few casualties. Christine and I were talking about this and she thought a post might be helpful to any new knitters who are following, so if you do indeed find this helpful, it's thanks to Christine.


If it's just stocking stitch or garter stitch it's usually a very quick job to fix the dropped stitch...

If there is a more complex pattern (so the stitches are not all the same), tiny stitches, or if there is more than one dropped stitch, I find it reassuring to insert a lifeline (as in this post) so I can fix one stitch at a time without worrying that the others will unravel any further. I had the foresight to take some pictures the last time this happened:

(Here's the link to the mini crochet hook pictured, very handy for this situation!)


The exact same principles apply if you spot a mistake further down your work. Once you've identified the rogue stitch, it's easy to unravel back to the error, fix it, and then pick the stitches back up to the needle. Again, a lifeline might reassure you the first time you do this, as the stitches can't unravel any further back once that's in.

If you have any other tips to share on this, please leave a comment. (EDIT: You might also like this related post.)


  1. I love lifelines! If I am picking up dropped stitches (I think you already know this one Sarah) I use a crochet hook it really works for me and stops more stitches slipping off when I try to fix it.

    1. Good point! Actually I also use a crochet hook more than I use needles, although the other night I only had a darning needle to hand so I used that - it was big enough for the stitches on Nuvem :)

  2. Great post for the less experienced to learn from :D

    My tip to beginners is to keep a few safety pins to hand so you can immediately secure any stitches you drop. And if you've dropped more than one stitch then release them from the pin one at a time and work each back up in turn. That said, knitting back up a ladder will tighten stitches so if I have a ladder of more than three rows I always tink or rip back and rework all the rows.

  3. I think if I could learn to pick up stitches without ripping back, it would make knitting more relaxing, as it is I stress about dropping stitches something chronic! I was even having kittens watching my very clever mum knitting the other day, she is fast and doesn't look, and I thought the stitches all looked scarily near the end of the needle waiting to drop off!

    Maybe I need to overcome it by dropping some on purpose and rectifying.......oh, it makes me feel all squirmy!

    1. That sounds like a good idea - why don't you knit a swatch and just practice picking up, it's actually easy once you can "see" what to do.

  4. I had never thought to put a lifeline in, thank you for sharing. Usually I just make all sorts of frustrated noises at my knitting if I drop more than one stitch!

  5. Great tips ... dropped stitches happen to the best of us and shouldn't be feared! Thanks for offering such sound advice on how to fix them!


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