Knitting: Slipped Stitches
January 17, 2014
It is just like a knitter to turn a seeming mistake into a design attribute. Slipped stitches in most contexts are not good at all but when weaved into your pattern a slipped stitch or a few can create interesting color changes, complex textures and even add a curve to the bust of a sweater. Slipped stitches are a vital part of any pattern designer's bag of tricks because slipped stitches are so versitile.
Slipped stitches when worked in one or more colors (as shown in the Peaches n' Cream Ball Band Dishcloth above) can bring color from a row below. This can create a brick pattern, or create a dual colored ribbed as with brioche (Check out Stephen West's free pattern Bundled in Brioche). Be careful when drawing up slipped stitches from rows below, as with the dishcloth pattern, if you continue pulling the stitch up beyond 3-4 rows then you run the risk of bunching and gathering.
You can create amazing textures with slipped stitches, whether it be the brioche mentioned earlier or the linen stitch I worked up last year which created a very dense and stable knitted fabric. Brioche has the amazing ability when knit in two colors to create a subtle color shift effect but when knit in one color the texture takes center stage and creates a denser, stable and less clingy ribbed effect.
Slipped stitches are also a key ingredient in short rows which can add a 3D shape to your knitted garments. Short rows, with the help of cleverly placed slipped stitches, can add ease in the bust, hips, neckline or create a perfectly shaped shawl collar. It is the pairing of slipped stitches which are later picked up and wrapped that make this three dimension shaping possible. The shape created is not mearly an increase or a decrease which can a triangle shape but rather a bowl or rounded shape which is perfect for certain areas of the body.
Slipped stitches are also used in lace knitting, textureal decreases, changing the side edges to make them more presentable and sometimes easier to pick up stitches later on, and creating mock cable stitches. I encourage you to embrace this would-be mistake and make it your own, be it for color changes, texture or for create design features in any knitted project. Don't forget to use a life line when experimenting.
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