Don’t Look Down! Tips for Knitting Without Looking at the Stitches

At my stitch group a few weeks ago, the topic of knitting without looking at the stitches came up. Some knitters admitted that they’d never had the guts to try it, while others confessed they’d tried it with a few failures.

Watching TV, chatting with friends, reading — you can do all these things while knitting!

Are you interested in knitting without looking at the stitches? Here are a few things I found helpful upon my first attempt.

Knitting without looking at 
the stitches

Use your left hand to feel what’s coming up next

The first time I tried it, I happened to be working on a super simple shawl at the time that only included stockinette stitch and yarn overs on the edges and in the middle. (You can see more about the yarn overs here.) Having never tried knitting without looking at the stitches, I decided to give it a go while watching Inspector Lewis, a PBS Masterpiece that I dare not miss a single second of, else I will be very confused when the murderer is finally revealed at the end.

Tip #1: Use your left hand and stitch markers for guidance.

The shawl project I worked on required me to stray from the stockinette stitch to make yarn overs three times: once at the beginning of the row, once in the middle, and again at the end. The beginning and end were easy to spot, but there were a few times that I knitted right on past the center and missed the yarn overs. The solution? I started using my left fingers to feel the stitches coming up. Once I felt that yarn over from the previous row, I knew it was time to look down so I could make sure I put those yarn overs in the right spot.

If you don’t trust yourself, use a stitch marker to mark when anything complicated is coming up. When you feel that stitch marker, you’ll know to look down and deal with the complicated part of the pattern.

Tip #2: Know how to fix a mistake.

Know that there will be mistakes made when you’re not looking, and be prepared to fix them. Not sure how to fix your mistakes? No worries! Learn how to pick up a dropped stitch,  how to correct errors in ribbing, and more when you enroll in Save Our Stitches: Fixing Knitting Mistakes with Ann Budd. There’s a solution for nearly every mistake so you can knit on, knowing that even a dropped stitch can be fixed later.

Tip #3: Warm up.

Before you jump into knitting without looking, warm up. Spend some time watching your hands, feeling the movement as you knit. Get into a rhythm, knitting the first few rows to get accustomed to the pattern.

Tip #4: Knit in intervals.

Remember: There are no rules for knitting without looking. You can look whenever you need to! I find it helpful to knit in intervals. I’ll knit without looking for a few minutes, then I’ll watch my knitting. I switch back and forth, feeling the motion of the yarn and needles. If you’re feeling unsure of yourself, don’t be afraid to look down.

Tip #5: Find the right pattern.

Knitting without looking isn’t the best idea for every knitting pattern. Patterns that have a lot of shaping, lace patterns, and patterns that require charts need a lot more focus and attention. Stick with patterns that are repetitive and basic. Stitches like stockinette and garter stitch are ideal. Need some inspiration? Try The Best Patterns for Knitting While Watching TV to get an idea of what might work best for you.

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