What is… Slip Stitch Knitting?

What is… slip stitch knitting? Slipped stitches are simply stitches that are transferred from your left needle to your right without pulling yarn through them. Stitches can be slipped either knitwise or purlwise, meaning you insert your right hand needle into the stitch as if you were going to knit it or purl it. Slipping purlwise preserves the stitch mount, and slipping knitwise will change the stitch mount and twist the stitch.

Slipped stitches can create surface textures on fabric like ribbing, geometric shapes, mock cables, woven, tweed, or herringbone effects as well as graphic colorwork designs. It is a simple to work, extremely versatile technique with essentially limitless possibilities!

Because slipped stitches are stretched across two rows, the fabric tends to pull in and be somewhat less elastic than stockinette. It is wise to use a needle slightly larger than one would usually choose for the weight of yarn. This will keep your fabric flexible and your stitches from becoming difficult to work. When a stitch is slipped it can appear to float over the surface of the fabric. By changing the stitches that are slipped, ribbing, honeycomb, zigzags and diamond shapes emerge on the surface of your fabric. Heel stitch, well known to sock knitters, creates a firm durable rib, is quick to work and increases the life of the sock.

By moving the working yarn to the right side of the fabric while slipping the stitches, you can create the illusion of woven rather than knitted fabric. Linen stitch is probably the most widely used of the woven slip stitch designs, but there are many others. The float of working yarn on the right side creates a horizontal line that can be shifted left and right and used to create a multitude of effects.

The inclusion of color brings yet another element to the possibilities of slipped stitch designs. Variegated yarns can be very effective in slip stitch patterns. Two and 3 color designs that have the visual complexity of Fair Isle are really quite simple to work because only one color is worked on any given row.

Mosaic knitting is another form of slipped stitch patterning that focuses on striking graphic effects rather than surface textures. Mosaic designs alternate color every 2 rows, slipping stitches from the previous row (and color) to create the design. From the humble heel stitch to the most elaborate mosaic design, slipping your stitches opens up a fun and fascinating world of possibilities!

Want to learn more? Sign up for a Slip Stitch Knitting Class!

Slip Stitch Knitting with Gretchen Fancher
Tuesday, July 1st, 6:00 – 8:00pm





Anatomy of Mosaic Knitting with Lisa Barnes
Thursday, August 21st, 5:30 – 8:30pm