Sometimes the most useful tools are also the simplest. They have no moving parts, they require no batteries or clamps. Consider the humble darning needle, for example. Or this, the Fix-A-Stitch, essentially a snub-nosed two-sided crochet hook.
If you’ve been knitting for a while, you will probably already know the trick of using a crochet hook to pick up your dropped stitches. Or perhaps, like me, you can never find a crochet hook, so you fiddle carefully (and tediously) by hand on a spare DPN.
But the crochet hook solution works best in stockinette. If you’re picking up a dropped stitch in anything more complicated, where some of the stitches face one direction and some another, as in any kind of patterned garter or seed motif, things get trickier. Basically each time the stitch changes from a knit to a purl, you have to drop the stitch, then come at it from the opposite direction with your crochet hook—rinse and repeat for the duration of the repair.
Which, as you can well imagine, poses as many risks as the original dropped stitch.
This tool will let you repair and rework those dropped stitches in knits and purls alike without ever letting go. The secret is its two-headed construction, with hooks on either end. Simply slide the stitch from one end of the tool to the other, depending on whether you’re redoing a knit or a purl, and keep going.
The tool’s short length—comparable to a friendly cable needle—also makes it easy to hold. Any longer and you’d have to worry about the un-used hook end bonking into fabric or snagging other stitches by mistake. But at barely 4 inches long, the tool (and empty hook) sit snug in your palm without snagging.
It’s beautifully simple, elegant, and effortless in its utility.
The Fix-A-Stitch is made in the United States of a durable polypropylene, aka a hard plastic. It’s currently only available in bright pink, which may not satisfy the needs of non-pink lovers out there, but it’s what we have. Fix-A-Stitch inventor Bonnie Kellogg explained that the color was intended to help the tool stand out from most colors of knitting.
What You Get
The standard-sized tool sells in pairs of three, letting you match stitches worked on needles ranging from US 4 (3.5mm) to US 10.75 (7mm).
You can also get a lace-sized Fix-A-Stitch, which ships two per tube and approximates a US 000 needle.
Obviously it would be ideal if the tool came in every needle size, but it’s far from vital. Pick the size closest to the one you’re using, and then tug your fabric vertically, horizontally, and diagonally back and forth a few times to help bring the rescued stitches back into the fabric.
I suspect dropped stitches have driven more good people away from knitting than anything else. How many perfectly lovely projects have been stopped dead in their tracks by a dropped stitch? For beginners, it can be paralyzing.
Luckily, YouTube is our friend. Fix-A-Stitch has created a clear five-minute video that walks you through basic repair of knit and purl stitches using the tool. Watch it if your own skills are rusty, and, by all means, share it with your friends. While you’re at it, buy a dozen of these tools and give them away to every new knitter you know. Better yet, sit them down and show them how to use it. You’ll have a friend, and a knitter, for life.