How to Avoid Twisting Stitches

Tuesday Tip – How to Avoid Twisted Stitches!

Tuesday Tip copy

Some of you may have taken my class “Improve Your Knitting” and have learned quite a bit about Eastern, Western, Combination knitting, and of course, the vital importance of stitch mounts.

Sometimes we see something on our knitting that looks a bit odd, similar looking to the V of a knit stitch, but a bit bumpy and with a slight slant. That’s a twisted stitch!

How to Avoid Twisted Stitches!

Of course there are patterns when we want to twist our stitches, but just like felting, this is something we want to do on purpose.

First let’s talk stitch mounts. When our knitting is not on our needle, it’s flat, but when those stitches are live, they must straddle the needle with one leg to the front or back. That’s what’s called the leading leg. It’s the leg of the stitch that sits closest to the tip of the needle.

What seats the stitch on the needle is the direction we wrap our yarn. In Western knitting, this leading leg sits at the front of the needle for both knit and purl. For Eastern knitting it sits to the back of the needle for both knit and purl and for Combination knitting it sits at the front for the purl and the back for the knit.

How to Avoid Twisted Stitches

Eastern mounted stitch – Not twisted yet.

I often hear Western knitters refer to the stitch in the picture above as “twisted”. It’s not twisted (you can see the hole, it’s perfectly open), rather it is sitting on the needle Eastern.

A stitch isn’t twisted until we twist it! This happens when we ignore the stitch mount and do not put the needle in the hole, but rather the way we’ve memorized to knit (through the front loop).

How to Avoid Twisting a Stitch

Twisted Stitch – Working through the front loop even though it is the trailing leg

Remember, you can’t go wrong by putting the needle through the hole. Sometimes knitters have trouble seeing the opening when their stitches are way back on the needle.

Make sure to always:

  1. Move the next stitch to be worked to the tip of the left needle
  2. Pull a bit down on the fabric so you can see the leading leg

When might a stitch get reversed? We might have dropped a stitch and when we laddered up, put it on the needle wrong. Possibly we wrapped our yarn differently, or maybe we ripped back a few rows and when we put our work back on the needle we didn’t pay that close attention to the leading leg.

The good news is – you don’t have to worry. If any of your stitches, for any reason, end up on your needle not the way you are used to, be aware of it and put the needle in the hole!

I so often see knitters who know enough about stitch mounts to pull the stitch off the needle and flip it around, but don’t know that you can just knit into the leading leg

How to Avoid Twisted Stitches

Knitting through back loop, wrap the yarn the way you usually do, and all is a okay!

How to Avoid Twisted Stitches

Do the same if it’s a purl. Put the needle from back to front to purl into back loop

For more information on fixing mistakes check out  “Knitting ER: How to Fix Your Mistakes”

Knitting ER

For more information on different knitting styles and methods, try my class “Improve Your Knitting: Alternative Methods and Styles”

Improve NO LB

Or you can join me live in class! Click here for my live teaching schedule

To read past Tuesday tips, just click on the Tutorial category of the blog (or here I did it for you!)

If you have a “is there a better way to do that”, or “how do you do that” question, leave me a comment, and I’ll add it to the Tuesday Tip list!

You may also like


  • Mary May 31, 2016   Reply →

    This post sure was helpful to me. I am enrolled in your new KAL (Corcoran 2.0) and you asked me if I was a combination knitter. I had no idea what combination meant so I went on an internet hunt and found this post. I am a continental knitter but now I know what you mean by combination.

  • Ren Virnoche January 19, 2024   Reply →

    This was such a lovely and succinct explanation! It saved me a headache and was incredibly useful, THANK YOU!

Leave a comment