How To Transfer Stitches from One Needle to Another

How To Transfer Stitches from One Needle to Another

Are you new to knitting? Want to learn how to transfer stitches from one needle to another? In your crafting journey, there will be a time when you will need to transfer stitches to different knitting needles. This switch may be due to a pattern's instructions, especially when working on a circular knitting needle and switching to double-pointed needles, as you have only a few stitches on the needles that cannot be accommodated on the circulars as it's challenging to move the stitches without them getting stretched and you feeling cramped up. Or, you may not feel confident with the needle material hence the switch. For example, you may find metallic tips too slippery with the yarn or vice versa. Transferring stitches from one needle to other is challenging if you don't know how to do this. In this blog, we will walk you through various scenarios with step-by-step instructions. 

How do you transfer Stitches from one needle to another?

Transferring stitches from one needle to the other can be done in two ways: knitting them or slipping them to the other needle tip. A knit transfer is absolutely required in the case that you are working with single-pointed needles, DPNs or fixed circular needles. If you are working with interchangeable circular needles and just need to change the needles, you can move the stitches to cable and change the needle tip. Now both the ways are perfectly acceptable and depends on the knitter’s skill levels. One thing to watch out for is a dropped stitch and even if that happens we have the guide on how to fix a dropped stitch in knitting.

With Knitting

  • Keep the knitting needle with stitches in your left hand.
  • Hold the knitting needle (the one you are transferring the stitches) in your right hand.
  • Knit the stitches one by one to the other needle. If the row or round you have been working is of purl stitches, purl the stitches to the other needle.

Without Knitting

  • Insert the knitting needle tip (the one you will transfer stitches into) in the knit the stitches of the project.
  • Slip the stitches to the other needle one by one. Make sure not to drop any stitch. 

This requires concentration and is only suitable for a few stitches and not when you have 50+ stitches.

Transferring Stitches on the Same Size Needles

If a pattern calls to switch needles, it mostly refers to needles of the same size. This instruction is mostly for patterns such as socks or sleeves where you first started working on a circular needles and later had to switch to double pointed needles. It may be because your project might be running longer so you need to switch to longer needles. Another reason may be because you might not feel comfortable with the needle material, feeling the stitches slip or grabby, then you need to transfer the stitches on a knitting needle of the same size. This can be done with knitting or without knitting the stitches to another needle.

Transferring Stitches from Circular to Double-Pointed Needles

Many times, when knitting in the round you may have to transfer stitches from circulars to double-pointed needles and even vice versa. This happens when you have stitches that can no longer cover the round!  When you switch from circular needles to double-pointed needles, you usually go from one continuous loop to three or four double-pointed needles (DPNs) so, you will need to divide the stitches when transferring to the needles. 

  • Count all of the stitches on the circular needles and divide that number by 3 or 4. That will be the number of stitches that each DPN will hold. For example, if you have 30 stitches, if you are transferring to three needles, each must have 10 stitches each and for four needles, divide 7,8,7 & 8 stitches.
  • Count the stitches that each DPN will hold and place a stitch marker after each count; you should have two or three stitch markers, dividing your stitches evenly on the needles. 
  • With a DPN in your right hand, knit the stitches following your existing pattern, stopping at the stitch marker. Remove the stitch marker
  • Continue until you have knitted all the stitches and none are left on the circulars.
  • After this step, you can follow your pattern by knitting in the round using DPNs

Transferring Stitches from Double-Pointed Needles to Circular knitting needles

This scenario is comparatively easy as you have to transfer all the stitches on the DPNs to one needle. This switch is when you move from a small to a growing circumference. For example, a sleeve from the wrist to the arm.

You can choose to transfer the stitches with or without knitting. 

Transferring Stitches on Different Size needles

If your pattern calls for a transfer of stitches to a different-sized needle. When you are switching needle sizes, you cannot simply transfer the stitches from your needles to different-sized needles without knitting. Knitting to a bigger needle size causes the stitches to appear looser; on the other hand, when you use a smaller needle size, the gauge will appear tighter. Knit the stitches following your pattern. It is recommended to choose a plain row, for example, all garter or stockinette stitch.
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