Sometimes, when you discover a dropped stitch in your knitting, it can be a little scary. Do you instantly rip out your knitting and reknit? Or do you use a crochet hook to fix it?
But what if you want to drop stitches on purpose?
I have found that some knitters, even though they like the distressed look of a dropped stitch here and there, aren't comfortable incorporating them into their projects. I mean, we, as knitters, spend so much time trying not to drop stitches, and that sometimes doing it on purpose can give us pause.
The following is the technique I used in the Torn-Up Toque pattern. You can follow this tutorial to add controlled dropped stitches--meaning they won't unravel all the way down to your cast on; in fact, you fully control how far down they'll go:
First, start by casting on your desired number of stitches.
Second, work your project to the row or round in which you want your dropped stitch to unravel. Then, work to the exact spot you want your dropped stitch to "end." Next, work a make-one increase. (I'm pointing to my make-one stitch. See that little left-leaning stitch thingy there?)
Next, continue working in rows or rounds to the spot where you want your dropped stitch to begin. In this example, I knit about 10 rows and stopped at the added make-one stitch (you can place a marker if you want to keep track. Note, I'm pointing to the original make-one stitch in this picture. This is where the dropped stitch will end.)
So now, after you have knit to the exact stitch that you had added by doing your make-one increase, just slip it off the left-hand needle, release it and unravel. Notice that it won't unravel past the point that you made your made-one increase.
After that, just continue knitting and this is what it will look like:
You can purposely drop stitches in all kinds of ways. Just know that you'll need to do a make-one type of increase (where you lift the bar between stitches to make a new stitch) in order to control how far the stitch unravels. Here is a picture of a couple of my Torn-Up Toques showing how you can stagger them to create a super lived-in and distressed cap:
I have also used dropped stitches in mostly stockinette sweaters just for the fun of it.
Now, go get your knit on!