Have you ever dropped the first or the last stitch of a row? If you have, then you probably know that when the edge stitches unravel, they turn side edges of the fabric into an ugly mess of tangled strands.
It might look scary, but we can easily fix this mess when we follow three simple steps.
If you prefer to learn from a video tutorial, click here, or scroll to the bottom of this page to watch an embedded version of the video.
First, we should catch the runaway stitch with a pin, a stitch marker or a knitting needle.
Look at the very bottom of the messy part of the side edge and find the last intact stitch in that column of stitches.
Secure this stitch with a pin or a stitch marker if you plan to repair the edge later on, or insert a knitting needle into the stitch if you plan to do the fixing right away.
When you insert the knitting needle into the last intact stitch, do it from front to back. See how in this part of the video tutorial.
If you temporarily placed the stitch on a pin or a stitch marker, transfer it to a knitting needle when you are ready to fix the side edge of your project.
Now, let’s sort out the strands that form that scary tangled mess above the last intact stitch.
Keep in mind, that the mess is comprised of a number of loops – each loop representing the yarn unravelled from two stitches – the edge stitch of one row and the edge stitch of the row above.
Carefully pull the strand at the very top of the edge to reveal the first loop. If that loop managed to loosen the neighbouring stitches, tug on it to tighten those loose stitches.
Do the same to the rest of the strands until you have a set of loops lined up nicely at the edge of the fabric.
In this step, we’ll turn each loop into two stitches the same way as we turn strands into stitches when we pick up dropped stitches.
3.1 With the right side of the work facing you, insert the knitting needle that holds the last intact stitch from back to front into the loop that is the closest to that stitch.
3.2. Insert the other needle purlwise into that stitch …
… and pass it over the strand that comes from the loop.
We’ve just fixed one of the stitches joined by the loop.
3.3. Insert the needle that holds the fixed stitch from front to back into the same loop.
3.4. Just as we did in step 3.2, insert the other needle purlwise into the stitch and pass it over the strand that comes from the loop.
Now the loop is turned into two stitches and that part of the edge is fixed.
Repeat step 3 until you deal with all loops at the edge of the fabric.
Slip the last fixed stitch knitwise to the working needle and you are ready to resume knitting your project as if there was no issue with the dropped edge stitch.
If the edge of your project is decorated with slip-stitch selvedges, each loop at the edge will represent only one edge stitch. That means that you should skip steps 3.3 and 3.4 when you fix the edge of your project.
If you enjoyed this tutorial,
here’s something else you might find helpful:
“Neat Side Edges” Book
Learn twelve ways to make side edges of a knitted project nice and tidy. Plus, ways to fix side edges, and a way to improve edges of finished projects.