Emily Explains: How-To Pick Up a Dropped Garter Stitch

For the past few days, I have been furiously knitting a garter stitch scarf for our upcoming photo shoot (I’d tell you more about it, but then I’d have to kill you). What I can say, is that garter stitch makes a beautiful fabric and is a wonderful stitch to practice when you’re learning to knit. Unfortunately, my harried pace has led to some painful complications…dropped stitches.

As you probably know, knitting garter stitch is easy because it’s all knit stitches. Structurally, however, you end up with alternating knit and purl stitches. When attempting to pick up a dropped stitch in garter fabric, you must first determine whether you are on a knit row or a purl row.

oh no!

As you can see in the knitting above, my stitch has dropped two rows. So how do you know which stitch you’re on? I tend to look at the rest of the row for guidance. Since they are all shaped like Vs instead of the little bumps I must be on a knit row.

My stitch has dropped two rows.

It’s also important to make sure you’re starting from the bottom up. In this case, you would place the previous stitch (highlighted in orange) over the first dropped bar (the yellow highlighted strand). Use your needle to pull that strand of yarn through the stitch.

Pull the strand of yarn through the stitch. Stitch rescued!

To pick up the stitch in the next row, you place the stitch behind the strand of yarn (show in pink). You are now picking up your stitch as if it was a purl side of a fabric.


With your stitch in back, pull the strand of yarn up and through the free stitch.

Another stitch rescued!
Another stitch rescued!

Now I can continue to knit.

knit, knit, knit…repeat

I hope this helps!

Happy Knitting,



  1. Hi Emily! I don’t know if you’re still getting the comments on this thread or not but I just wanted to say thank you so much! I have tried every video and written instruction I could find on picking up dropped stitches from garter stitches. This was my last attempt to understand. If I couldn’t understand it this time, I was ready to start frogging! But fortunately with your clear instructions, I was able to understand. I’m so happy and grateful! Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Pam! This is Amy—Emily has left Berroco (sadly) but we’re so glad to hear that her blog post helped you so much! Happy knitting!

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