Two Common Mistakes You Can Make While Learning To Knit (And What You Can Do About It): Holes & Extra Stitches

Two Beginner Knitting Mistakes and How to Fix them Holes and Extra Stitches

Every single time I pick up my needles and knit I find that I make the same two mistakes and it’s driving me crazy! I’ve nailed the ‘Cast On’, I’m really happy and confident with that, now I am trying to perfect my knit stitch. In my head, I can’t move on to the purl stitch until I perfected the knit stitch right? Wrong! Oh and I am wrong about something else as well!

As I ‘cast on’ the other day I was like ‘this is it,’ I am going to knit the perfect square, no mistakes, nice uniform stitches, I’ve got this! Ten rows later all is looking lovely, I am thinking I have nailed it, tension is great, stitches are neat, I’m smashing it. Twelve rows later out of the corner of my eye, I have a little round hole in my square! I also counted my stitches and I had 21, I should have 20! I was devastated and frustrated! Needless to say I put my needles down and that is where they have stayed ever since. 

I got too confident and I put too much pressure on myself. I remember someone asking me a question, I got distracted and I am sure one slipped off, I thought I had saved it but obviously not so I am aware of a mistake but I have no idea what it’s called and how to stop repeating it. Now, this is where I decide if I want to become a successful knitter or not. Am I going to get annoyed and give up or am I going to take the time to learn how and why I am getting it wrong?

Of course it’s the second option, and this is where Vivienne comes in, I send her photos and videos of my work and she works her magic and explains exactly what I need to do. If you make these mistakes too, this is definitely going to help you! 

Let’s take a look at the lovely hole in my work!

Beginner Knitting Mistakes Holes and Extra Stitches and How to Fix them

I have been horrified at having a hole in my work and have felt quite deflated as I never actually had a hole in any of the other practice pieces I have done. Then Vivienne explained to me the mistake I had made and now I am laughing at myself and feeling quite relieved!

‘You haven’t made two mistakes, you have actually only made one mistake’

I’m sorry, WHAT? Just one mistake, not two, oh ok (I am going to admit after Vivienne said that I was already feeling like less of a failure, but also still confused).

‘You made the hole and increased the stitch at the same time, it’s one action but with two consequences’

Oh my gosh! Got it, now how did I do that?

So, when I got distracted I thought a stitch had dropped off my left needle and I picked it up again and carried on knitting. What actually happened was a stitch hadn’t dropped off my needle at all (I obviously imagined it) and what I did was pick up the piece of yarn on the row below in between, popped it on my right needle and carried on knitting! Hello hole and extra stitch (Holy moly, rolling my eyes and shaking my head in disbelief)!

Beginner Knitting Mistakes Holes and Extra Stitches

By picking up that piece of yarn not only did it create the hole it also created an extra stitch at the same time but I hadn’t realised because I failed to count my stitches at the end of the row which is why I didn’t notice my mistake until 3 rows later. Had I counted my stitches after that particular row I would have noticed I had too many. Lesson fully learnt, count after every row! 

It actually feels so simple now, and I have made a couple of holes on purpose to help myself understand and recognise fully what I did wrong. One tip Vivienne did give me was to just knit and have fun with it and to make those mistakes. I’m so caught up in trying to get it perfect I forget that it doesn’t need to be. Check out my knitting today below. It's messy but fabulous! You can see the holes and where I have increased stitches and you can also see how at the beginning my tension was quite tight. I'd decided to play around with the tension to try and loosen it a bit, it felt more comfortable and I was quicker but I prefer how the bottom part looks.

Beginner Knitting Mistakes Holes and Extra Stitches How to Fix them

Vivienne’s explanation has definitely put a smile on my face and I have a boost of energy and confidence to get my knitting needles and keep going! But first a bit of advice from Vivienne.

Vivienne’s advice:

  1. Don’t try to be perfect and don’t try to fix everything, to fix a hole there are lots of different concepts you need to understand, as a beginner you need to be able to recognise what you are looking at, once you know what you are looking at it will become easier
  2. Count your stitches after every row, even if you think you don’t need to, do it anyway!
  3. If you have a hole and you notice it and you know how to unpick, unpick it back to the hole, then carry on
  4. If you have a hole and have carried on too far (like Kylie did) and don’t know how to unpick (like Kylie doesn’t) just carry on, make as many holes as you need to, who cares, it's all part of the learning process. 
  5. Learn the purl stitch, this will help you to understand how to unpick and see any mistakes

My next steps:

  1. Learn the purl stitch
  2. Learn how to unpick my work to get back to a certain spot
  3. Count my stitches after every row
  4. Make up a practice pattern using knit & purl

This has all of a sudden got really exciting, I am itching to carry on now. I hope this has been helpful for you, let me know in the comments below if you have any tips or questions, I’d love to hear from you! 

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