How To Undo Knitting And Get Stitches Back On Your Needles Correctly

Undo KeyEveryone makes mistakes.

One of the most annoying knitting problems you probably face from time to time is not knowing how to undo them.

Alternatively, once your stitches are unraveled, you may not know whether you’ve gotten them back on the needles correctly.

I’ve made you two videos to clarify the correct way to undo your stitches, and I explain why you shouldn’t worry about getting your stitches back on the right way at first.

Tinking or Frogging: Undo Knitting One Stitch At A Time

“Tinking” (knitting spelled backwards) just means undoing one knitted stitch at a time and placing the old stitch back on the left needle. Here’s how to do it:

To undo knitting one stitch at a time, insert the left-hand needle from front to back into the stitch that is directly below the stitch on your right-hand needle.

(Gasp) How to Undo Knitting A Few Rows At A Time

When you need to undo more than a few rows, it’s fastest to remove the needle(s) and pull your yarn out, undoing all the rows at once.

Here’s how to put your stitches back on the needles when you’re done unraveling:

If the recovered stitches are facing the wrong way,
just knit them through their back loops.

Yay! Now you can un-knit with confidence and unravel with grace!

Just keep this in mind: messing up is part of knitting, and the faster you can fix your mistakes, the happier you will be.

Related Posts:

If this tutorial on how to undo knitting was helpful, post in the comments!

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About Liat Gat

Liat is the founder and video knitting expert at KNITFreedom. If you liked this article, you'll love the tips you learn from her FREE video newsletter. Get it now by subscribing here.
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21 Responses to How To Undo Knitting And Get Stitches Back On Your Needles Correctly

  1. Grenadine Girl says:

    man this is super helpful! Thanks :D

  2. Biancopus says:

    Great info! What about when you messed up 10 rows back? Do you have any tricks for managing that much undoing? Would appreciate the help (-:

    • liatmgat says:

      Oooh, that’s a great idea! I will make a new video for that and publish it next week. Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. Elizabeth Liggett says:

    Thank you for your information — the first one, on how to unknit one stitch at a time, was a revelation to me. What you did is much simpler than what I’ve struggled with! I see that you have videos on picking up both dropped knit stitches and purl stitches. But what about picking up garter stitches? I was several rows (LONG rows — the scarf is knit the long way) of garter stitch past a dropped stitch I noticed, and not wanting to unknit and reknit those LONG rows, I managed to pick up the stitch and the ones in rows above it — but it ended up being a stockinette stitch for about five rows in a garter stitch scarf. Ouch. I’m just hoping the recipient didn’t notice. I felt totally overwhelmed at knowing how to fix it the right way.

    • liatmgat says:

      Hi Elizabeth,
      What a great question! Here’s what I would do for picking up garter stitches. Stretch out the knitting with your hand a little bit, so you can see if the dropped stitch needs to be knitted or purled. If it needs to be knitted, you know how to fix it. If it should be purled, TURN your work around so the back is facing you – now pick up the stitch as if if were a knit stitch – which it is! Turn your work back around, pick up the knit stitch, and keep flipping your knitting back and forth, until you have picked up the stitch all the way to the top. It’s too easy! And you don’t have to mess up with picking up a purl stitch at all.

      And I guarantee the gift recipient didn’t notice. :)

  4. Kemer says:

    Knit into the back loop ,how neat is that!

  5. Chris says:

    Wonderful – what about undoing a knit 1 below stitch? Would this be done in the same way?

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  11. Sharon says:

    I dropped a whole line of stiches when I put them back on the needle and start knitting the stiches or wrong the front is in the back and the back is in the front how do I fix this

    • Liat Gat says:

      No worries! I think, from what you described, you just need to get back into ready position and make sure the yarn is coming off the back needle. You might need to flip the knitting over to get into the right position.

    • Liat Gat says:

      Sharon, if you put the stitches back on the needle and they are facing the wrong way, just knit them through the back loops. That way you turn them around correctly and knit them at the same time.

  12. Diana says:

    Liat, love your videos. Thank you so much for such good information.
    My problem is that I bound off too tightly in 1×1 rib and had to take it out. How can I pick up those rib stitches?

    • Liat Gat says:

      Carefully! :) No, I’m just kidding. Don’t worry about which way they go back on the needle, just get them back on there. Then, as you do the bind-off row again, you can fix or re-knit or purl each stitch before you bind it off.

      It will be tough but it’s very good practice!

      I also added this to my list of videos to make, because I think it’s a great question. Thanks!

  13. Thank you from the bottom of my knitting bag! I just started knitting last year and my biggest problem is fixing mistakes because I don’t “read” my knitting very well. I’m bookmarking all these fixes because I know I’ll be using them! I love your posts!

  14. SHELIA WILSON says:

    Hi Liat, I have a question about a pattern. When I got to the arm hole and it says bind off 1 or two stitches at the beginning of the row. I don’t quit understand what I am supposed to do. Can you enlighten me please. Thanks

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