I did a search on returning stitches to needle on my website and I was surprised that (1) there wasn’t a post on it and (2) how often I use it. I often use the phrase “return stitches from stitch holder or waste yarn” sometime after I have instructed the knitter to place stitches on a stitch holder or waste yarn.
Returning Stitches to Needle From Stitch Holder or Waste Yarn
If you have carefully put your stitches onto a stitch holder or waste yarn, it is then easy to return them to your needle. If working from the right side, put the needle into each stitch as it sits on the stitch holder or waste yarn (from left to right) so that the right leg becomes the front leg on the needle. Working from the wrong side, the needle goes into each stitch from right to left.
If you have dropped a stitch, a stitch that isn’t properly oriented, a stitch with the yarn split, or a stitch that needs any attention, mark it with a pin so you can address it after all the stitches are on the needle.
If you have a lifeline it will be much like returning stitches from waste yarn.
Returning Stitches to Needle After Ripping
There are more likely to be issues with orientation, dropped stitches, split stitches, or stitches undone, when returning stitches after ripping than when stitches have been placed on a stitch holder or waste yarn. With any large-ish number of stitches there are bound to be a combination of issues. I tend to fix them as I come to them rather than shifting things around just to fix things.
Orientation. I think the most important thing is to get stitches back on needles, regardless of orientation. Sometimes it is easiest to get a stitch on the needle and fix the orientation later. I will always favor getting a stitch safely onto the needle over orientation. Read this blog about orienting stitches. It isn’t directly on point, but I think it answers most questions.
Dropped Stitches. A stitch can sometimes be missed when picking up after ripping. Keep your eye on stitch pattern and take the time to count to make sure you have the correct number. Always easier to count than to rip again!
Split Stitches. In a rush to get stitches safely onto a needle it can be easy to split a stitch. If you notice it, mark it. Otherwise, just keep an eye open as you work the first row/round. A split stitch can be really noticeable if not fixed.
Undone Stitches. Sometimes a stitch gets undone or runs down when ripping. This is dependent on the stitch pattern, type of yarn, and the lightness of your touch when ripping. I favor getting it onto the needle over fixing it, which I will do when I come to it on the next row/round. It is useful to put in a pin or marker to help you remember to fix it.
If you are ripping a yarn or stitch pattern that creates too many problems, pull out the yarn in segments to have better control. Also, sometimes it is better to rip to the row above where you plan to rip to and tink the last row, to avoid all the problems!
Once everything is back on the needle, work the next row/round, re-placing markers and taking care of any problems. Count once again, just to be sure!