Strange problem, please help


I am a beginner knitter (again). I have tried knitting off and on for years, but a werid problem has always discouraged me and I end up giving it up. I have been knitting solid for the last three days, looking at hours of videos on the internet, scouring blogs and forums and have found nothing to help me with this problem, and I’m about to quit yet again.

My problem is this: I will be knitting along, following my pattern (basically it is knit 2 rows, purl 1 and repeat this over and over). After about 10 rows, I will look down at my work and there will be a section of knitting where the wrong side is on the right side- basically, it is as if I get my sides reversed. I’m focusing on how exactly I knit and purl, I’m making sure to keep the yarn in the back for knitting and in the front for purlling, and I’m making sure I put the yarn over the needle the right way (counter clockwise in both knnit and purl). However, it happens over and over again. If I keep going, it will inevitably happen again, so that instead of having a right side and a wrong side, my knitting has sections of right side on the right side, but also sections of wrong side on the right side. What is this called? Can anyone tell me what i’m doing wrong?

Please help! I’m about to give up again. It is so frustrating. I’ve been trying to learn how to knit for 15 years!

Most likely reason is that you are changing direction in the middle of the work. One way to overcome this, is to remember, the stitches you just made sit on the right needle. So if you set your knitting down & come back. Tug on the working yarn. It should be attached to the stitches on your right needle. If not, flip the work over.

Are you knitting flat or in the round?

I think you just have to be very careful and make sure you know what the pattern is supposed to look like and be able to identify your stitches so if you start knitting (or purling) where you shouldn’t, you’ll know the difference and be able to correct it. Also, keep in mind which side of the work you are on, whether it’s the right side or the wrong side. Sometimes it’s the easiest patterns that can drive you crazy because you feel you shouldn’t have to be paying that close of attention.

If you’re knitting in the round, the pattern should look like 2 rounds of stockinette stitch and one round of purl bumps. If you’re knitting flat, I keep picturing it just being garter stitch. That could be wrong though. Maybe someone else has a different take.

Make sure the RS is marked somehow. I place a safety pin on the RS (public side) of my work. I try to never stop and set my work down unless I have finished the row or round. If I have to, I make myself a note and I lay the work down just as it should look when I pick it back up.

This might seem like a hassle, but if you can discipline yourself to do these things it will soon become automatic and it will help you with your knitting.

If you are running into the problem when working in the round, then most likely you have turned the work inside out.

I can almost guarantee at some point you are doing one more row of something. Either you’re knitting two rows back to back or you’re purling three rows. You could also be forgetting to purl the 2nd of the two rows. Either way the mistake is easily fixed. Keep a pad of paper near you when you knit. Right before you start a row, write down what that row is supposed to be. So if you the row you are getting ready to start is supposed to be a knit row then write down a big K. If its a purl, then right down a big P. That way if you go back and look at your pad and it says:

K P P K P P K P P P K P P, you’ll see that you on the third repeat you did an extra row of purls. Writing down and keeping track of your knitting and patters in probably one of the best things you can do.

I personally use a row counter and then I make sure that I know exactly what row I’m supposed to be on. And if a pattern repeats, I will write out the repeated rows regardless of knowing what they are supposed to be. A lot of working with patterns is how organized you are and how detailed you are at keeping the pattern.

I like to keep track of which row I just knitted, so with a counter on my phone I always do one more count each time I finish a row. So if I am doing a pattern which is similar to yours or 5 rows of knit and then rows 6-11 (just an example) are purls, I’ll know where I am!
I can’t ever do rows of k1,p1,k1,p1…because I get distracted easily and forget which one I just did.
If you don’t have a counter, try a piece of paper! It can be a bit obnoxious marking every time you finish a row, but it does help in the long run.
Best of luck, and don’t give up! :thumbsup:

Actually, it depends on what you think the “wrong” side looks like.

If it’s like this… it may look to you like it’s changing from wrong side to right side and back…but, I think it’s probably exactly the way it should be. :thumbsup: It makes a nice pattern with a few rows of “stockinette” stich and then a few rows of garter stitch.
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Knit
Row 3: Purl
Row 4: Knit
Row 5: Knit
Row 6: Purl
Row 7: Knit
Row 8: Knit
Row 9: Purl

Can you give us more of the pattern?

The may sound strange, but make sure your needles are always between you and your body. That is to say, don’t start knitting away, and have the needles out, with the WIP closest to your body. I have seen ppl do this with DPNS, they are using the furthest two needles to them, rather than the closest to, the result is that you are knitting inside out…

I don’t know if that sounded as clear as I was thinking it…but that might be the problem…

I don’t think she’s working in the round. Sounds like she’s doing garter, rev stockinette and stockinette knit flat.

Take a class! If you can’t afford one, many YWCA’s offer them for almost nothing, and our local senior center has members who love to teach knitting and crochet to people, just for their company. Not talking about a nursing home, but a senior center where retired people go to hang out. There are some amazingly skilled folks there.

It’s not a strange problem at all! Most of us probably experience that at one time or another. My kids have a little purse where I switched “sides” when I was learning-- I call it a “design feature.”

Probably, as trvvn said, you did one row too few or too many at one point, and that essentially reverses your pattern.

Also, just make sure when you pick up your work that your working yarn is coming off your right needle…that will eliminate the problem of starting back in the wrong direction (which could also cause that problem).

I agree with taking a class or finding a friend to help you see what you’re doing when you do it. That little bit of hands on instruction can make a huge difference!

Also, just make sure when you pick up your work that your working yarn is coming off your right needle…that will eliminate the problem of starting back in the wrong direction (which could also cause that problem).

If you’re in the middle of a row or working in the round. If you’re at the end of a row, the yarn should be on the left needle.

It might be helpful if you posted a picture of your work too. That way we could see exactly whats happening. The pattern you are doing is supposed to reverse itself. So you may actually be doing what you are supposed to be doing an note realizing it? Maybe?..

Hi! :waving:

First, congratulations on your persistence in learning to knit. I promise you it’s so worthwhile to push through the hard parts and get comfortable with it.

If you’re doing a pattern that says to knit two rows, purl one row and then repeat, one easy way to keep track of where you are in your pattern is to use coins. Take two silver coins and one penny (silver to represent knit rows and the penny for the purl row) and line them up on a flat surface next to you while you’re knitting. Then, as you finish a row just slide the appropriate coin over and you’ll be able to see right away if you should be doing a knit or purl row.

I have a little “lap desk”, made for writing on if you’re sitting on a sofa, and I keep that next to me on the couch where I sit and knit. It’s got a lip around it so nothing I put on it falls off, and it’s been such a great help for holding all the little bits and pieces of things we knitters can’t do without.

Hope this helps!

Ruthie :o)

Hi, All of these suggestions have merit especially about keeping a list of your rows and checking off what you’ve knitted or using a counter. You might look into finding a nearby knitter to look over your shoulder and help for a little while if you can’t get to a class. Why not take a little time, forget the pattern, and knit a few stitches and rows and then purl a few and really look at them on both sides. Then do k a row p a row (stockinette st.) for several rows and study both sides. Because of the basic fact that the back side of a K is a P and vice versa, I believe that many beginners, maybe all, are confused when first trying a pattern like yours. Don’t give up. There’s a special video at this site on “how to repair mistakes”? We all mess up and always will. Get a beginner’s book like Leisure Arts (buy or library) that gives names and pictures of various stitch patterns. Helps a lot to know what they should look like. Best of luck. Jean

All great ideas posted. The only thing I would add is that you may want to just focus on getting your technique down before trying a pattern of stitches. For example, do a large swatch and start by just knitting every row (garter stitch), after you feel really confident in that start doing knit a row, purl a row (stockinette). I found the original Stitch N Bitch book to be a great resourse for basic knitting, with some great basic knitting projects. Really easy to understand and funny! I relied on that book and Amy’s videos to get started. Play with your swatch -t rying techniques, getting very familiar with how your knitting should look, etc… You can even practice figuring out your gauge. Take the time to do this before diving into a pattern, and you will be much less frustrated. Good luck! :slight_smile: Holly

An additional comment: Keep asking questions and count everything, because in knitting as well as many things, everything counts. Jean

What I have done is write each row down on paper, like this:

Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Knit
Row 3: Purl
Row 4: Knit
Row 5: Knit
Row 6: Purl

And so on. Then while I’m knitting, when I come to the end of Row #1, I will put a tally mark next to that row with a pencil or pen. That way I KNOW I’ve done that row. When I’ve finished Row 2, I put a tally mark next to that row. Make sure you put a tally mark at the end of every row.

I also recommend showing your work to an experienced knitter at a craft store, local yarn shop or something like that. Check your local library too. Sometimes they have knitting classes.

HTH, knitcindy

I had the same problem when I was first starting. I didn’t know how to tell a knit stitch from a purl stitch, and had to rely purely on counting to assure that I was doing the right one. I tried to look but I kept getting mixed up on telling the stitches apart… and then, one day, I suddenly realized that I could tell. It may be partly a factor of the fact that I have always twisted my purl stitches (oops), but I can feel the difference between knitting where the previous row was purl, and purling where the previous row was purl (and vice versa). Eventually, you learn to see the difference between the two, also… but I’m betting that if you took your knitting to an experienced knitter, that person could point out how to tell.