Elongated and Drop Stitch Patterns

scarf made with elongated and drop stitches
Scarf made with both elongated and drop stitch pattern.

 

This category of stitches creates openwork patterns with unusual textures that add dimension and decorative effects to your projects. They are fun and not too difficult to make. 

Elongated Stitch Patterns

Elongated stitches can be made in three different ways. You are probably familiar with the slip stitch, which forms a vertical loop on one side of the work. A knit one stitch in the row below (k1b or kb), made on every alternate row is twice as long as a regular stitch. An example of this is Fisherman’s Rib. And finally, the method I’m addressing in this post is a simple elongated stitch, made by wrapping the yarn over the needle more than once (a basic yarnover is wrapped only once around the needle).  On the following row, these extra yarn wraps are dropped, resulting in a band of openwork.

Elongated stitches work beautifully with variegated and hand-dyed yarns, in which the colours vary in tones. Lace and fingering weight yarns make cobwebby, delicate lacy projects. Common items using these stitches include scarves and shawls, but certainly they can be used to form interesting details in garments. 

When designing with these stitches, make sure to separate the row of dropped loops with more stable stitches like garter and stockinette. The test swatches and finished projects need to be well blocked to lengthen the loops, revealing its true effect.

Basic Technique

how to wrap yarn for elongated stitch
Resource: Vogue Knitting The Ultimate Handbook

There are a variety of these stitch patterns, and one of the most beautiful and popular elongated stitch is the “Seafoam Pattern”. It is basically garter stitch or plain knitting, separated by rows with a series of different number of yarnover wraps to create the oval shape.

seafoam pattern swatch

Seafoam Pattern – Multiple of 10 plus 6

Row 1 and 2: knit.

Row 3 (RS): k6, *(yo) twice, k1, (yo) 3 times, k1, (yo) 4 times, k1, (yo) 3 times, k1, (yo) twice, k6: rep from * to end of row.

Row 4: knit across, dropping all yo’s off needle.

Rows 5 and 6: knit.

Row 7: k1, rep from * of Row 3, end last rep k1 instead of k6.

Row 8: rep Row 4.

Repeat these 8 rows for pattern. (Refer to Resources for any abbreviations you are unfamiliar with)

When dropping stitches, be careful not to drop the k1 after each yarnover wrap. Dropping the yarnover wraps may feel strange at first with their differing lengths, but with practice you’ll get the hang of it. Work the knit rows between the openwork bands more tightly so the pattern is even, and pull the elongated stitches into shape. Don’t forget to block the work for the best finish. 

For some elongated pattern stitches, the needle is inserted into a loop, followed by wrapping the yarn, and then drawing the wraps through the stitch. Methods vary, so carefully read the pattern instructions as to the proper technique.

Drop Stitch Patterns

Knitters often fear dropping stitches, because in a regular piece of work if the mistake is recognized too late the fabric is harder to fix. Drop stitch patterns are fun to make, because you get to deliberately drop a stitch as far as required. The effect is a ladder approximately three times as long as the width of a normal stitch, resulting in a much wider fabric.

The key to inserting drop stitches into a pattern is to have a base stitch that places the ladder where you want it, but also to control its length. In this post’s introductory image, this scarf incorporates both elongated and drop stitches. The length of the dropped stitch is not all the way to the bottom edge, but stops after about ten rows and is repeated along the length of the scarf.

Basic Ladder

finished swatch for drop stitch
Finished Swatch
Basic Ladder Drop Stitch

This small sample uses stockinette as the base, and is made of columns of four knit stitches separated by a purl stitch (to be dropped), which makes it easy to identify the stitch to drop. To provide stability, knit the stitches on either side of the purl stitch through the back loop. On the final wrong side row, work a yarnover before dropping each purl stitch. When binding off, knit through the back loop of the yarnovers. After binding off, unravel the purl stitch columns, using your hands to help drop the stitch. As with elongated stitch patterns, block the work for an even, open fabric.

drop stitch pattern swatch

This category of pattern stitches adds texture to your projects, as well interesting design details. Carefully read the stitch pattern instructions to understand the technique, as they vary for each type of elongated or drop stitch pattern. Try a new stitch pattern!