You Can Finish a Knitting Project So Quickly When You Actively Drop Stitches

These 9 drop stitch knitting patterns will show you the magic of dropping stitches — on purpose!

The first time I discovered the magic of dropped stitches was when I was knitting a Phoenix Tears scarf for my younger sister.

Like many of the patterns I knitted within my first two years of knitting, this pattern came from Charmed Knits, a book filled with Harry Potter-themed patterns. My sister looked through this book, spotted the scarf, and said, “Can you make me this one?”

One look at the gorgeous pattern and I had to give it a shot.

The pattern was so much fun to knit. But when I first saw the instruction to “allow stitches to drop off the needle,” I was a little scared. Drop stitches off the needle… ON PURPOSE?!

I swallowed hard, took a deep breath, and followed the direction. To my amazement, each time I did this, my row of knitting doubled in length! I filed this fact away for future reference: dropped stitches means longer knitted fabric.

(By the way, that’s my older kiddo — many moons ago, of course! — modeling the Phoenix Tears Scarf here.)

I’ve used drop stitch knitting patterns many more times more since then; a few of them are in the collection below. I’m a big fan now!

Two things I love about dropping stitches:

First, as I’ve mentioned above, with no effort whatsoever, you can make a row twice as long.

Second is the fun changes dropped stitches can create in a fabric. It creates instant airiness, as well as unique shapes. You can form lines, waves, even blocks or bubbles with a little dropped-stitch magic.

Ready to try some dropped-stitch fun for yourself? Check out this collection of free drop stitch knitting patterns! They’re divided up by category, so you can find the sort of pattern you fancy.

1. Scarves

Drop Stitch Scarf

  • What you’ll need to make it: 275 yards worsted weight yarn; US Size 8 needles
  • Why you’ll want to: This gorgeous scarf pattern creates waves, literally! The alternating dropped stitches form lovely little waves throughout. This pattern is especially stunning when you use variegated yarn.
Instant Gratification Scarf - theleaveswant on Ravelry
Instant Gratification Scarf
Photo: theleaveswant on Ravelry

Instant Gratification Scarf

  • What you’ll need to make it: 65 to 130 yards super bulky weight yarn; US Size 13 or 15 needles
  • Why you’ll want to: You will probably never knit a scarf as quickly as you’ll knit this one! If you enjoy knitting scarves but wish they didn’t take you an age to knit, try this pattern. The dropped stitches mean that your scarf will grow rapidly, and in almost no time at all, you’ll be binding off.

2. Shawls

Clapotis - Danielle Coward
Clapotis
Photo: Danielle Coward

Clapotis

  • What you’ll need to make it: 820 yards worsted weight yarn; US Size 8 needles; 18 stitch markers
  • Why you’ll want to: I made this shawl/scarf several years ago for my younger sister and enjoyed every second of it. I love its rhombus shape, as well as the way its dropped stitches create ripples. You can wear this beautiful pattern either as a scarf or — when spread out fully — as a shawl.

The Dummy Clap Shawl

Dummy Clap Shawl - Anna Maliszewski
Dummy Clap Shawl
Photo: Anna Maliszewski
  • What you’ll need to make it: 480 to 500 yards aran/heavy worsted weight yarn; US Size 10 needles
  • Why you’ll want to: If the instructions for Clapotis seem a little intimidating to you, try this pattern. Its designer created it especially to mimic the lines of the Clapotis but in a much simpler way. The primary difference is you’ll knit it in a simple rectangle, rather than on the diagonal.

3. Socks

Bellatrix - addlepated on Ravelry
Bellatrix
Photo: addlepated on Ravelry

Bellatrix

  • What you’ll need to make them: 350 to 390 yards fingering weight yarn; US Size 2 DPNs or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round)
  • Why you’ll want to: These stunning socks, named after one of the most evil villains in the Harry Potter series, creates waves with its dropped stitches. That makes these socks an especially great choice if you want to use variegated sock yarn.
drop stitch knitting patterns
Tangled Up in Blue

Tangled Up in Blue

  • What you’ll need to make them: 400 yards fingering weight yarn; US Size 2 DPNs or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round); spare DPN, cable needle, or stitch holder
  • Why you’ll want to: I loved knitting these socks because unlike Bellatrix, you’ll knit these toe-up rather than cuff-down. But like Bellatrix, they look just as striking in variegated yarn as they do in a solid color.

4. Hats

Drop Stitch Hat

  • What you’ll need to make it: 250 to 300 yards aran/heavy worsted weight yarn (at least 2 colors); US Size 5 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round)
  • Why you’ll want to: This is the lone pattern in this collection that doesn’t feature waves, ripples, or lines. Instead, the dropped stitches of this pattern creates a bobbled appearance. I especially love this beanie’s squared-off crown and tassels in each corner!

Sculera

  • What you’ll need to make it: 100 to 110 yards aran/heavy worsted weight yarn; US Size 6 and 8 DPNs and/or circular needles (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round)
  • Why you’ll want to: If you’re still feeling a little squeamish about this whole dropping-stitches-on-purpose thing, this is the perfect pattern for you. You can drop as few or as many as you like. Perhaps you’ll try dropping just one or two at first, and then you’ll become bolder and drop stitches all over the place. Have fun with this one!
Pineapple Dishcloth - Yarnspirations
Pineapple Knit Dishcloth
Photo: Yarnspirations

5. Miscellaneous

Pineapple Knit Dishcloth

  • What you’ll need to make it: 120 yards worsted weight cotton yarn; US Size 7 needles
  • Why you’ll want to: Finally, if you want to ease gently into dropped stitches with a smaller project, try this adorable and clever dishcloth. The dropped stitches in this pattern create all sorts of amazing texture. A set of these would make a fantastic wedding or graduation gift!

Have you ever wanted to drop a stitch on purpose, just to see what would happen? Or maybe you want to buck convention and do it anyway, consequences be darned. If so, these delightful dropped-stitch patterns are perfect for you!

9 Drop Stitch Knitting Patterns

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