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January 16, 2005

Thrill Seeking

At times -- but not too often -- nona likes to live on the edge.  And in knitting that can only mean one thing, stitch dropping.  To some, the mere thought of dropping a stitch is enough to start the palms sweating.  But what if, just maybe, you drop stitches on purpose?  Wouldn't that be a bit, thrilling?

The last few days I've been experimenting with the intentional dropped stitch.  Not only is dropping a stitch thrilling, but it's also a cheap and easy way to achieve a lacy look without actually knitting lace.  I love the horizontal ladder rungs you get when the stitch drops.

Intentionally dropped stitches -- nona living on the edge

I'd like to share with you, adventure seeking reader, the things I've learned about stitch dropping:

  1. When a stitch is dropped, the width of the horizontal running yarn is 3 times the width of the original stitch.  This means that one dropped stitch equals 3 regular stitches.
  2. When working a stitch, which you intend to later drop, it doesn't matter if you knit or purl that stitch.  Once it's dropped, all traces of the knit or purl will disappear, leaving you with lovely, lacy horizontal yarn bars.

  3. If you don't want the dropped stitch to run all the way down to the cast on edge, be sure to place a "break" where you want the dropped stitch to stop.  Here's how I set my break:

    1. Bind off 3 stitches at the spot in the row where you want the dropped stitch.  These bound off stitches form the break.
    2. On the next row YO (yarn over) above the 3 stitch bind off.  This YO adds the stitch, which will later be dropped.
    3. Continue for as many rows as required, until you are ready to drop the stitch.
    4. On the next row, when you encounter the thrill seeking stitch, drop it off the left hand needle and cast on 3 stitches -- to replace the dropped stitch -- onto the right hand needle.
  4. If you're knitting with a sticky yarn, like mohair, don't wait until the end to drop the stitch -- it will never unravel.  Instead, drop the stitch every few rows.  For example:

    1. Row 1, the break row: BO 3 stitches at the spot in the row where you want the dropped stitch
    2. Row 2, YO above the 3 stitch bind off.  This YO becomes the stitch you'll later drop.
    3. Row 3, knit (or purl) the YO (whatever is easiest).
    4. Row 4, drop the stitch and YO.  The YO re adds the stitch you intend to drop
    5. Row 5, knit (or purl) the YO
    6. Continue repeating Row 4 and Row 5 for the desired number of rows.

January 16, 2005 in Tips and Techniques | Permalink


dear nona,
you are so right about taking time for a MCS. i have just started to knit again, having stopped after many years of looking at that long ago started afgan. i have been enjoying the scarves, socks (taught to me by a nona-sister!!!) and now a felted purse project so much i am showing off my accomplishments with glee. that bit of small bragging has boosted my confidence.

ps i love nonaknits too! (what is an MCS from someone else?? i guess a compliment!)

Posted by: Lisa Pack | Jan 17, 2005 9:32:19 AM

nona - I was spending a lazy afternoon looking through old copie of Interweave Knits, when I came across "Beyond the Basics - Binding Off", found in Spring 2001. The article described several bind off techniques, appropriate for various applications. There were two bind-off methods which produced an "exceedingly elastic edge", perhaps a good solution for the top edge of the footlet socks we were experimenting with at Thanksgiving. Its worth a look - nona sister the eldest.

Posted by: nona sister the eldest | Jan 17, 2005 3:05:12 PM

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