Usually, the last thing a knitter wants to do is to drop a stitch. If you’re lucky, dextrous and patient it might be something that you can rescue, but it’s something that you’d usually want to avoid at all costs. There are some knitting stitches, however, that use dropped stitches in a controlled and structured way to add airy lace stitches to the knitting. The depth to which these stitches drop can be controlled with the placement of yarn overs, and stitches can be dropped in columns down the whole length of a piece or just to a specific point.
At the very beginning of the time when I started to learn how to knit I experimented with a few drop stitch patterns (by purpose!) but I haven’t really revisited the idea in all that time, because generally I have found more complex lace patterning to be more enjoyable to knit and more decorative in form.
The other day, however, I decided to knit a pattern that uses drop stitches for the lace motifs, just for a little change of pace and to have another go at the technique now that I am a better knitter, to see if it appeals to me any more now that I am better able to understand its uses and limitations.
I’m quite a bold knitter in most situations. I will often remind myself that I absolutely must use a lifeline, especially when knitting something important like the lace shawl I have knitted for my upcoming wedding, but do you know how many lifelines I inserted into that piece of knitting? Not one. I honestly meant to, I just kept finding that I couldn’t be bothered, so would think ‘on the next row’, and so it went on.
When knitting this project, however, I have inserted a nice, safe lifeline.
I am only a few inches into the project, yet there is already a line of smooth white dental floss running safely through a row of stitches.
Dental floss makes a great choice of lifeline. It is strong and smooth, so it slides right through the stitches and is easy to remove afterwards.
After the first section of dropped stitches I felt a nervousness that I rarely find in my creativity. watching the stitches travel down the knitting is quite thrilling, opening up the design from what looked to previously be just a length of stockinette stitch, but i couldn’t shake the feeling of just how I’d feel if one of those columns of stitches was dropped in the wrong place, or if I had forgotten to place that single YO that would prevent the stitches being topped past their designating terminating point. So, I have decided to run a lifeline through each line of stitches that marks a new section of the drop stitch motif. Just in case.