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Knitting Tutorial: Saving a Dropped Stitch

We have all been there -- the dreaded, horrible dropped stitch. I've done it so many times. I've messed up, ripped or dropped stitches SO many times that I am professional at mistakes, which means I know how to fix things. Today, I'm going to show you how to save a dropped stitch without any special tools.

Well, there is one tool you might want (and I buy them by the bucketful) -- locking stitch markers. Keep them in your purse, on the bedside table, in your project bag, etc., because they are the most useful thing around. In this case, you'll use it to "save" your dropped stitch before it disappears further, and it allows you to take a breather to reduce the panic.

Some notes before we dive into the lesson:
  • If you've dropped a stitch more than six rows back, you'll probably want to rip. This method isn't exactly the tightest technique and the column of stitches can look very sloppy if the dropped stitch is more than six rows below.
  • This method does not use a crochet hook or anything else besides your knitting needles. It will feel weird. You'll breathe hard. But just relax and take your time.

Saving the Dropped Knit Stitch

Step 1: Remove the stitch marker and place the saved stitch on the left-hand needle. Now, look at the back of the work and notice the yarn strands that skip over the stitch you just saved -- each of those represents a row you dropped. I'm going to call them "ladder strands" because when you use your finger to spread them apart, you'll see that they make a ladder all the way to the lowest row.
Step 2: With your left-hand needle, pick up the very first ladder strand from the front and then place it on the left-hand needle.
Step 3: With your right-hand needle, lift the second stitch up and over the ladder strand you just placed on the needle.
Step 4: Keep lifting until it is all the way off the left-hand needle. You've crawled back up the ladder by one row.

Repeat Steps 2 through 4 until there are no more strands to pick up! You will now work that stitch per the knitting pattern. Not too bad, huh?

Saving the Dropped Purl Stitch

Step 1: Remove the stitch marker and place the saved stitch on the right-hand needle. Now, look at the front of the work and notice the yarn strands that skip over the stitch you just saved -- again, these "ladder strands" are what we are going to work with.
Step 2: With your right-hand needle, pick up the very first/lowest ladder strand from the back and then place it on the right-hand needle in front of your saved stitch.
Step 3: With your left-hand needle, lift the second stitch up and over the ladder strand you just placed on the needle. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until there are no more strands to pick up! It is barely noticeable and no harm done.

Now, I dare you -- go purposely drop a stitch and practice this trick!

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