Demonstration of the knitting mistake where you miss a ladder when you pick up a dropped stitch.

Missing a ladder when you pick up a dropped stitch

Every now and then a stitch accidentally falls off the needle tip, and we lift it back up on the needle with no fuss or drama and continue knitting. Usually, that works just fine, but sometimes if we’re careless, we pick up that dropped stitch a little too fast, missing the ladder that is the tell-tale sign that the stitch had actually unraveled one row.

A dropped stitch is picked up incorrectly, missing a ladder

Picking up the dropped stitch secures the work, ensuring it cannot unravel further, but the missed ladder will show up as an ugly blemish in your knitted fabric, especially if you were knitting something that needs to be reversible.

The knitting mistake missed ladder from dropped stitch seen from the right and the wrong side.

The missed ladder is hidden on the back of the work, and this is why you will probably not notice it at first. When you do, what you will see is a little loop, an extra strand of yarn connecting two stitches that are not next to each other, and that should not be directly connected. On the right side, it’s hard to spot the mistake, but it can be seen as an elongated knit stitch, stretching over two rows.

How to correct the mistake

I was super confused the first time I made this mistake. I had no idea what I had done wrong, but I tinked back several rows to correct it. You can absolutely do that, but there’s a faster fix. Realizing that you are essentially dealing with a dropped stitch, you can correct it the same way you correct a dropped stitch.

  • Mark the problematic stitch with a locking stitch marker
  • Continue knitting till you reach the affected column on the right side of the work
  • Drop the stitch on the needle on purpose
  • Let the stitch unravel down
  • Then remake the knit stitches one by one using a crochet hook
Correcting an incorrectly corrected dropped stitch

Make sure you count the ladders and make one stitch per row. It’s easiest to do from the right side (the knit side, i.e. the flat, pretty side full of Vs) of stockinette stitch, so if you discover the mistake while on the wrong side, continue purling and knitting till you reach the column with the mistake from the right side of the work. If you are unfamiliar with how to correct a dropped stitch that has laddered down, I’ve included a video below from VeryPink Knits demonstrating how to remake knit stitches with a repair hook. You can also use a crochet hook. Basically, you put the hook through the middle of the last formed stitch from front to back, catch the ladder of the row immediately above, and pull it through the loop of the stitch. One stitch remade. Repeat for every ladder, and make sure you put the stitch back on the needle the right way. For more details, video examples and how to do this for other types of stitches, check out my article about dropped stitches.

What knitting mistake should I cover next?

What would you like me to write about next in the “Knitting SOS” category? Are there any knitting mistakes you struggle with? How can I help? Please leave a comment if you have questions or suggestions.

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7 thoughts on “Missing a ladder when you pick up a dropped stitch”

  1. Thank you so much for this! I did not notice I had dropped a stitch (twice in the same row!) until I had knit another fourteen rows. I’m working on a sweater and every row takes me ten minutes. I was looking at having to undo two hours of work and feeling so sad. I’m so glad I found this. You saved me a lot of time and heartache. And you described each step so well that it wasn’t even scary. Thank you!

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