Patterns of this kind tend to scare the novice knitter, who often labors under an impression that a dropped stitch is a catastrophe. But a little practice with these patterns will demonstrate that it is a legitimate knitting technique that can be fun to use.
The usual fear is that the dropped stitch will unravel too far. Actually it is much less prone to do this than the beginner might think; but if it does, it is an easy matter to retrieve the stitch with a crochet hook or with the needles. Don't unravel by pulling the fabric apart laterally. Instead, use the right-hand needle point to pluck each strand out of the stitch above it.
Drop-stitches can be made on either side of the fabric, and can be either knitted or purled. These two patterns illustrate each case. Drop-Stitch Honeycomb is an interesting purl fabric, the knit side of which shows a variation of the classic Blister Check (A Treasury of Knitting Patterns, p. 69). Parenthetical Rib also has a very beautiful "wrong" side, which may appeal to the knitter so much that she is unable to decide which side to use. This dilemma can be solved by using Parenthetical Rib for a scarf, stole, or reversible sweater, so that both sides can be shown.
Cast on a multiple of 4 sts plus 3, and purl one row.
Rows 1, 3, and 5 (Wrong side)—Knit. Rows 2 and 4—Purl.
Row 6—P3, * drop next st off needle and unravel 5 rows down; then insert right-hand needle into the st from behind, lift the st and the 5 loose strands above it onto left-hand needle, and purl the st and the 5 loose strands all together; p3; rep from *. Rows 7, 9, and II —Knit. Rows 8 and 10—Purl.
Row 12- PI, rep from * of Row 6; end last repeat pl instead of p3.
Repeat Rows 1-12.
II. PARENTHETICAL RIB
Multiple of 12 sts plus 1.
Row 1 (Preparation row, right side)—P3, * kl-b, p5; rep from *. end kl-b, p3.
Row 2 (Preparation row)—K2. * p3, k4. pl, k4; rep from *, end last repeat k3.
End of preparation rows.
Rows 3, 5, and 7—* P3, kl-b, p3, k5; rep from *, end pl.
Row 8—Kl, * p2, drop next st olf needle and unravel 5 rows down; then insert needle into st from front and knit the st, catching the 5 loose strands behind the st as it is knitted; p2, k2, p3, k2: rep from *.
Rows 9, 11, and 13—Pl, * k5. p3, kl-b, p3; rep from *.
Rows 10 and 12—* K3, pl, k3, p5; rep from *, end kl.
Row 14—* K2, p3, k2, p2, drop next st off needle, unravel 5 rows down, pick up and knit the st and the 5 strands as before; p2: rep from *. end kl.
Omitting preparation rows, repeat Rows 3-14.
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