Have you ever noticed that something just wasn’t right with your stitches? Maybe it felt weird when you tried to knit a stitch, or maybe you noticed that the row looked a little funny. That could be the stitches are not mounted stitch properly.
Why your stitches might be twisted
Replacing live stitches on a needle
Sometimes we need to frog or tink stitches to go back and correct a mistake. If that’s the case, you’ll probably have some live stitches that are not on the needle and need to be slipped back on there. If you don’t pay close attention, you might accidentally mount the stitches incorrectly; then, when you go to work them, they’ll be twisted.
Transferring from a stitch holder
Some knitting patterns ask us to put some stitches on a holder or waste yarn. (Check out the example above from the Lace Wedge Yoke Sweater I made in Choose Your Own Sweater Adventure with Eunny Jang.)
I held some stitches for the sleeves on waste yarn, worked the body of the sweater, then went back and picked up the stitches around the arm to knit the sleeve. When I did that, it was important that I put the stitches onto the needle facing the right direction.
Knitting through the back loop
Twisted stitches most frequently happen when you’re placing stitches onto the needle, but they can also happen as you knit. If you accidentally knit a stitch through the back loop instead of through the front leg of the stitch, you’ll actually twist the stitch.
Of course, some pattern use a ktbl purposefully as a design feature. If that’s what your pattern calls for, don’t worry about the twisted stitches!
How knitting stitches should sit
Think of a stitch as having two legs. When the stitch is facing you, the leg on the right side of the stitch should sit over the front of the needle. The leg on the left side of the stitch hangs out behind the needle.
Here’s how they look when they’re sitting properly:
Notice that the right leg of the stitch is in front of the needle.
And here’s how they look when they’re not sitting properly:
Check out how the left leg is sitting in front of the needle when it should be sitting behind the needle.
What happens when stitches don’t sit properly
When you try to knit, your needle won’t go from front to back quite as easily. It will probably feel a little awkward.
If you worked that awkward row of twisted stitches, you might notice later on that the row looks a little different than the other rows.
Check out the swatch below. I’ve used gray lines to show you the row where the stitches were twisted. See how the Vs in the stitch are twisted at the bottom, unlike the other rows?
Twisted stitches also create a different fabric that’s not quite as smooth as most knit fabrics. Plus, it uses more yarn than a correctly knit stitch!
How to correct stitches sitting the wrong way
Fixing the stitches is simple. Just slip the stitch from your left needle to your right needle, untwisting it as you move it, then slip the stitch purlwise back to the left needle again. Then just knit the stitch as usual.
Or, you can knit the stitch through the back loop, which will instantly untwist it. Easy!
Want to learn even more about troubleshooting your knitting problems?
Check out Essential Techniques Every Knitter Should Know with Sally Melville. Sally will show you everything from the best increases and decreases for your project to picking up stitches. You’ll be able to use these techniques in any knitting project!
Do you have any tricks for fixing twisted stitches? We’d love to hear them!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2015 and was updated in March 2018.