15 June, 2008

A Case of the Dropsies

Dear knitters, believe me or not I have never dropped a stitch. Well, not until this darling cap I’ve been knitting. I used to be under the impression that dropped stitches were the karmic punishment of careless, sloppy knitters who didn’t pay attention and tried to knit at raceway speeds.

Knitting Gods: “Oh! So you knit a full sized, adult pullover in
a mere two hours? Take this!”

*Zap! Goes the Staff of Dropped Stitches*

That, like most generalizations was unfair.

I lost count of just how many stitches I had dropped after repairing the fifth or sixth and continued to drop them here and there as I knitted along. Pathetic! At least it was yet another trial in my knitting catechumenate and I dealt with it as I do with any other new aspect of this craft. I researched the matter, located my crochet hook and came to the rescue of my poor cap which was starting to look like a pair of Courtney Love’s nylons.

Dropped stitches are importunate little things but thankfully they are easily spotted and remedied. Even if you have no desire to crochet, it’s wise to have a crochet hook on hand. They’re quite useful tools in knitting and the best wrangler for runaway yarns. I have a little ‘k’ hook I keep in my knitting bag just for this purpose. Dropped stitches can also be recovered by the very needles with which you are currently knitting but it is a nimble feat that may very well end in further frustration. Below is a tutorial courtesy of How Stuff Works.

Count your stitches often as you work, especially after casting on and after making increases or decreases. This habit will help you catch many mistakes. If your stitch count is less than it should be, it may be because a stitch has dropped from your needle.

Use a crochet hook to correct a dropped stitch, whether it has dropped one row or several rows (a running stitch).

Step 1: Hold the knit side of the work toward you. Count the horizontal strands between the two needles to determine how many rows the stitch has slipped. It's important to begin with the very first strand closest to the dropped stitch. With the loose horizontal strands behind the loop of the dropped stitch, insert a crochet hook into the loop from front to back. Catch the first horizontal strand and pull it through the stitch (fig. 20a). Repeat the step with each horizontal strand until the dropped stitch is back at the current row.

Dropped Stitches: Figure 20a

Step 2: Place the stitch on the left needle untwisted, with the right loop of the stitch in front of the needle (fig. 20b).

Dropped Stitches: Figure 20b

Continue in pattern.
After this harrowing experience, I came to a name for the cap in question. I think the “Oh @#$! Cap”, is most fitting. And so my fellow knitters, if you’ve yet to drop a stitch, count your blessings but be warned; you are knitting on borrowed time.

Dropped stitch tutorial is the intellectual property of: Kimbrough, Terry. "Knitting Instructions." 16 May 2007. HowStuffWorks.com. 15 June 2008. .. and is used here in accordance with the citation guidelines as stated by the aforementioned.

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