Am I Twisting My Stitches?

About three years ago I noticed my knitting didn’t look quite the same as a lot of pictures I was seeing of other knitter’s projects. I kept knitting but was super frustrated and never 100% pleased with my work because I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Finally, through lots of playing around, I realized I was simply wrapping my yarn the wrong way, resulting in a twisted stitch.

If you’re new to knitting or you are feeling the same way I was, I’m here to help! This is a common mistake among new knitters who maybe watched a video showing them the wrong way (like me), knitters who just switched over from crochet, or continental knitters. Continental knitting is when you hold the yarn in your left hand, and sometimes this can make it difficult to know which way you’re supposed to wrap the yarn.

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Twisting your stitches is important not only because it can change the look of a whole design, but because twisted stitches tend to not stretch as well and can affect your gauge or the finished size of what you are making. You can see in the photos below that the ribbing and stockinette are a bit bumpy and messy looking. That is because the stitches are twisted.

In this post, I am assuming you already know how to knit, and I will not be teaching you how to knit and purl, just how to not accidentally twist your stitches. For lessons on how to knit and purl, I suggest going to YouTube! But make sure they teach you to wrap your yarn the correct way, though. 😉

How do I know for sure if my stitches are twisted?

The correct way a stitch should lie on your needle is with the right leg in the front, and the left leg in the back (see first picture). If you wrap your yarn the wrong way, the left leg comes out in the front (see second picture). Your knitting should look like little loops or Vs, not Xs.

Twisted Knit Stitches

When you knit a stitch, you insert the right needle through the front loop of the first stitch on the left needle, from left to right. You then wrap your working yarn around, counter clockwise, or from front to back like you see below.

The incorrect way to wrap your yarn would be clockwise, or from back to front like the picture below.

Twisted Purl Stitches

Have you ever been knitting a beanie, and the ribbing on the brim looked beautiful and perfect! But then you folded it up and saw this…

Hmmm. Twisted purls are sneaky little things and can hide themselves well, but not on a folded brim. A folded brim with twisted purls not only looks a little off and messy, but is not as stretchy either.

Another way you can accidentally twist your stitches is when you purl. To purl a stitch, you bring the working yarn to the front. Then you insert the right needle into the front loop of the first stitch on the left needle, from right to left. You then wrap your working yarn counter clockwise, or over the needle like you see below.

The incorrect way to wrap your yarn when purling would be to wrap it underneath (like the picture below).

The picture below shows my Madeline Beanie design with a folded brim. The stitches are not twisted and the brim is super stretchy and neat! You can purchase the pattern on my website here: The Madeline Beanie. Or on Ravelry here: My Designs.

One more thing, sometimes a pattern will tell you to knit through the the back loop creating a twisted stitch. This is the only time a stitch should look twisted.

I hope this post was helpful for you! Feel free to leave any questions or comments and I will do my best to get back to you.

XOXO, Kalley

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, available in most yarn store or on Amazon: click here. This is an affiliate link, meaning if you purchase through this link I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog in this small way. 🙂

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  1. 3.10.20
    Megan said:

    As a crocheter, that apparently has crocheted incorrectly for 10 years- I yarn under not over, it was very easy for me to transition to knitting since this habit was already formed.
    I think this blog post will be very helpful to those crocheters that crochet the right way 🤣
    Great tips my friend!

    • 3.10.20 said:

      Lol that’s so funny to me! Doesn’t seem to effect crochet!