This column by Barbara Breiter, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, originally appeared in The Weekly Stitch newsletter.
You're at the end of the row and worked all the stitches but there are still instructions for 3 stitches left. How did that happen?
Most commonly, an error occurred because the knitter failed to pay attention. Distractions are everywhere; family members are talking, the phone rings, the TV is blaring. If you're a newer knitter, it's particularly important to find quiet time to knit so you can avoid errors. Once you become more adept, multitasking becomes easier.
- Try to avoid mistakes before they happen. The row may have ended correctly with no instructions or stitches left over, but things may still be askew.
- Learn to "read" your knitting. Recognize how a knit stitch looks different from a purl stitch. Watch the direction in which cables move. Look at your knitting frequently as the stitch pattern develops to see if everything appears as it should. It's easy to knit instead of purl by mistake; if you see the error now instead of 10 rows later, life will be much easier.
- Count your stitches after completing every row, especially if you are a beginning knitter. This may seem like a tedious task but you will know immediately if you accidentally dropped a stitch or looped the yarn over the needle and made a stitch when you shouldn't have.
- If the error is on the row you just completed (or even the row you are still working on), you can unravel the row stitch by stitch and correct the error. You'll find instructions for doing this by clicking here.
- Using stitch markers to mark every 10 stitches or 20 stitches when you have a more complex stitch pattern to keep track of can make it easier for you to keep track of your work. You only have to count the stitches in between a given set of markers to know whether that section of your row is correct. Click here for our stitch markers.