Unwanted Holes in Knitting – Five Reasons Why They Appear, How to Avoid Them and How to Fix Them

This tutorial is a bit unusual. We won’t discuss another simple way to knit or another exciting knitting technique. Instead, I’ll show you how to make mistakes. It might sound counterproductive, but when we know how to make mistakes, we better understand how to avoid them.

So let’s take a look at 5 ways how we can accidentally create holes in our knitting:


This one is a very common beginner mistake. It happens when we bring the working yarn over the top of the needle at the beginning of a row (you can see how it happens in this video tutorial). 

This way we see both legs of the first stitch as if they were separate stitches. Naturally, we assume these are two stitches and work them separately, creating two stitches from the first stitch of the row. 

The result is hard to miss. In fact, small holes are not even the biggest problem. In just a few rows you will notice that the number of stitches increases. More importantly, you will see that one or both edges of the work are slanting outwards, just like the right edge of the swatch pictured above. Ouch!


Before you start a row, make sure the working yarn is hanging underneath the needle. You can move it to the back of the work if the first stitch is a knit, or to the front of the work if the first stitch is a purl. Never ever move the yarn over the needle! This way you will keep the edges of your work straight and nice with no unwanted holes.


I’m sorry to say it, but the only remedy is to unravel your work to the point where the mistake happened, especially if it happened more than once. Here are some tips that should help

Another helpful piece of advice – use a lifeline as often as you can, particularly when you work on a big project or a project with a complicated stitch pattern. Lifeline truly is a lifesaver in knitting.


This mistake results in a rather big hole that appears out of nowhere right in the middle of your work. Usually, it happens in stitch patterns that have both knits and purls in the same row. 

The hole appears when you bring the yarn to the front of the work as if for purling, then realise that the next stitch is a knit according to your pattern, and knit that stitch without moving the yarn to the back of the work. 

Watch how it happens in the video

This way you basically make a yarn over with all the features a yarn over brings to the table – an additional stitch and a big hole. 

This mistake is so common that it’s got a special name – accidental yarn over. It often happens when we get distracted while knitting. 


The first rule is to choose a simple project to work on while you watch your favourite TV series or spend time with your friends.

It helps a lot to practice knitting without looking at your work. This way you will learn to feel your knitting, and your fingers will recognise when you start knitting a stitch with the yarn in front of the work. You will feel that something is not right. This is a very useful skill to have, and I encourage you to give it a try.


If you notice this mistake in the next row, simply drop the yarn over. It will loosen up the neighbouring stitches, but you can redistribute the yarn when you pull your work sideways and then along the direction of knitting.

If you notice the hole later, it’s best to unravel your work to the spot where the mistake has happened. That’s when a lifeline becomes your best friend forever!

Unravelling is the only solution when you work in a stitch pattern that has a pattern repeat because that extra stitch shifts the pattern and drastically changes the look of your project.


This is another variation of an accidental yarn over. It happens when we insert the right needle into a stitch to knit or purl it, then wrap the needle with the yarn BUT you don’t pull the wrap through the stitch to create a new stitch. Instead, we slip the stitch along with the wrap from the left needle to the right needle. 

Watch how it happens.


The guidelines are the same – choose an easier project if you know you’ll be distracted, and learn to knit without looking at your work.


If you notice this mistake in the next row, pull the wrap through the stitch finishing the process of creating a new stitch. Watch how to do it.

If you don’t notice the mistake in the next row and treat the wrap as an extra stitch, you will end up with an additional stitch and a hole in your work. If you work in a stitch pattern with a pattern repeat, it’s better to unravel your work to the spot where the mistake happened.

If you work in stockinette stitch or another stitch pattern that can be worked over any number of stitches, and if you don’t mind having an extra stitch in your work, you can fix the hole later on, when you finish the project.


This mistake happens when we accidentally knit under the strand between stitches. 

Watch it in a video tutorial.

The hole that appears when we make this mistake is smaller than a yarn over, so when we work in a loose pattern, we can easily overlook it. But we can’t miss the extra stitch and the havoc it wreaks on the overall look of the project. 


Stay alert and inspect your work often, especially when you use a multi-coloured yarn or novelty yarns with an unusual texture.

Choosing a simple project for binge-knitting and learning to knit without looking at your work helps too 🙂


If you see the mistake in the next row, let go of the extra stitch same way as we did when we fixed accidental yarn over. Otherwise, you will need to unravel some of your work. Those extra stitches could be quite nasty to a stitch pattern. 


This mistake happens in different situations but the reason in the same – we turn the work in the middle of a row. Watch how it happens.

This could happen accidentally when, for some reason, you put your work down before you finish a row, and start working in a wrong direction when you pick it up again. 

Or, you could turn your work on purpose – to make short rows, but forget to wrap the next stitch before turning the work.

The result is the same – a hole and two extra rows. 


It’s always better to finish a row before you put your work down. But often we can’t do it when a phone rings, when someone is at the door, or when we have to comfort a crying child. 

In this case, when you start working a partially knit row, always make sure the working yarn is attached to the first stitch on the RIGHT needle. If the yarn is at the left, turn your work before you resume knitting.

To avoid this mistake when you work short rows, remember to anchor the yarn to the next stitch before you turn your work. 


Well, unfortunately, the only remedy to this problem is unravelling. Even if you patch up the hole, those extra rows will completely disrupt the shaping of your project. 

On the other hand, even if you have to unravel some of your work, you’ve got an invaluable experience that will save you from mistakes in your future projects.

The full PDF version of this tutorial is a part of the Knitting Collection #2. Once you order your copy of this collection, you will instantly receive a “big PDF” (304 pages!) with this and 41 other tutorials included in the collection.

You will also receive two e-books and three knitting patterns as a special bonus, so go ahead and get it all right now before you forget 😊

If you enjoyed this tutorial,
here’s something else you might find helpful:

“Matching Cast Ons and Bind Offs” Book

Discover six pairs of cast on and bind off methods that form identical edges on projects worked flat and in the round.

“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.

Happy knitting!

Maryna Shevchenko - www.10rowsaday.com

How to fix unwanted holes | 10 rows a day
5 mistakes that cause unwanted holes | 10 rows a day
Accidental yarn ove - why it happens and how to fix it | 10 rows a day
5 knitting mistakes, and how to fix them | 10 rows a day