7 common mistakes you might encounter as a knitting beginner and how to fix them.
You finally get the hang of knitting and are confident enough to watch *insert favourite Netflix show here* while making your scarf, but during the final scene you get distracted and to your horror, notice a hole or a dropped stitch a few rows below. Fear not! Beginner mistakes are usually quite easy to fix so before you get discouraged or tear everything to pieces, here is how to identify and solve them.
As a general piece of advice, I would highly recommend to check your knit regularly so that any mistake can be spot early on and you won't have to undo too much of your knit if that happens. Also, make sure to fix any mistake before carrying on.
#1: My stitches are too tight and it makes it hard to insert the needles.
Note that it's quite normal for the stitches to be tight for the first row. But if you still struggle to insert your needle after the first few rows, then you should change this one detail.
What's going on? In fear of seeing their stitches slip off the needles, beginners tend to pull on the yarn after each stitch to make sure they stay in place. It is a completely normal reaction since the stitches are close to the tip and we have the impression that they could slip out very easily.
How to fix it: resist the temptation to pull on the yarn, instead just let it sit naturally. Try to find the right tension (not too tight, not too loose) - there is no one right tension for everyone, just find the one that makes the knitting comfortable for you and keep it the same for all your stitches. If you're afraid the stitches will slip out, hold them with your fingertips.
#2: My knitting looks uneven.
What's going on? First knits will always look a little messy and uneven. That's okay! This is because you're still figuring out the right tension (see #1) and trying to get used to the knitting techniques.
How to fix it: try to find the most comfortable way for you to hold your needles and your yarn. Use the same tension to knit all your stitches and keep it consistent. It may take a while before you find it, but handwork does improve with time and experience.
#3: I stopped my knitting in the middle of the row and now I don't know which direction to go.
How to fix it: take the working yarn (yarn from the ball) and see which stitch it is attached to. That stitch should be on your right needle, and the working yarn in the back.
#4: I'm about to start a new row, but my yarn is attached to the second stitch instead of the first one.
What's going on? That happens when the last stitch of your row (which is also the first stitch of your next row) has slipped out without you noticing.
How to fix it: take the needle with all your stitches in your right hand, and the empty needle in your left. Slip the first stitch of your right needle to the left one. Knit that stitch as if it was the last stitch of a row and continue as usual.
#5: My knit is supposed to be straight, but instead it is widening.
You are supposedly making a scarf, but as you knit it gets wider on the edges and starting to look more like a triangle than a rectangle.
What's going on? You have probably knitted in the first stitch of every row twice. The first stitch of each row is always a bit looser than the others, and if the working yarn is not well positioned, it may look like you have two stitches instead of one. Another way to find out is to count the number of stitches on your needles. If you have more than you're supposed to, there's a big chance that this is what you did.
Left/top picture: Working yarn pointing down = first stitch well positioned
Right/bottom picture: Working yarn pointing up = first stitch looking duplicated
How to fix it: unfortunately the only way is to unravel your knit until you have the correct number of stitches back. To unravel, start by removing all the stitches carefully from your needles. Slowly pull on the working yarn, that movement will undo the stitches one by one. Continue until you reach your mistake, preferably at the end/beginning of a row. Reinsert your needle into all the stitches, with the working yarn positioned near the tip of the needle.
To watch how to unravel stitches/rows, watch our tutorial video.
#6: I have more stitches than I'm supposed to.
What's going on? You have probably made the mistake in #5. Or else, you have accidentally made a 'yarn over', which in knitting terms, means that you brought your working yarn to the front before knitting a stitch. When knitting in garter stitch (which is the stitch used in our Everyday Scarf), your working yarn should always be in the back.
How to fix it: unravel your knit until you have the correct number of stitches back (see the "How To Unravel Your Knit" video above).
#7: I dropped a stitch / I have a hole in my knit / I have less stitches than I'm supposed to
This one is perhaps a knitter's worst fear: realising a stitch (or more) is missing from the needles, causing a hole or a loose stitch sticking out of the knit.
What's going on? That happens when a stitch slips out without you realising, and you continue knitting.
How to fix it: good news! You don't need to undo your work until your dropped stitch. There is a special technique to recover your work, detailed in our tutorial video. Alternatively, you can unravel your knit (see video above) until your reach your mistake.
Knitting is like any other skill, you have to make mistakes to get better. Fortunately, if you ever encounter one, it is usually quite easy to correct. However, a piece of advice would be to regularly check your work in order to spot errors as soon as possible, so that you don't have to unravel too much of your work.