Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Slip Plus Lace. First Try.

Last fall I taught a knitting workshop on what I call extended and manipulated slip stitches. A few days later, one of the participants – I think it was Lynne McCormick – asked if I’d ever tried combining slip stitches with lace stitches. My response was “You’ve read my mind! I was just thinking about trying that.”

I do love texture in knitting: knit-purl combos, cables, lace, slip stitches. I’ve been over-the-top crazy for slip stitches for many years. Well over 50% of my designs involve slip stitches. So I guess it’s not too strange that I want to combine lace and slip stitches.

My first effort is a simple one. I merely used a narrow slip stitch pattern and a narrow lace pattern and alternated them, making an interesting textured ribbing. I then used this stitch in a sock pattern. I’ve knitted two pairs, and I’m on the third. It’s a nice pattern and a fun knit. (And I do plan to write up the pattern.)

Here are the instructions for knitting the stitch pattern flat:

Amy’s First Slip-Lace
Multiples of 7 sts.

Rows 1 and 3: (WS): *k1, p2, k1, p3; rep from * to end.
Row 2: *sl1wyif, k1, sl1wyif, p1, yo, ssk, p1; rep from * to end.
Row 4: *k1, sl1wyif, k1, p1, k2tog, yo, p1; rep from * to end.

(sl1wyif = slip 1 stitch with the yarn in front)

Here is the pattern charted:

Here is a swatch of the pattern (4 repeats with a garter stitch border) in one color.

Here is a swatch of the pattern in a variegated yarn.

To me, knitting patterns that require frequent and repeated manipulations – such as yarn-overs or slipping with the yarn in front – is like performing a dance pattern. I get into a rhythm and movement flow. And I love it.

Despite its brevity and simplicity, this particular combination of stitches produced a very interesting rhythm.

Notice that if you just use R1 and 3, you get a k3,p1,k2,p1 rib.

When you work ribbing like this, you are moving the yarn to the front to purl and to the back to knit. Yarn-overs and slip stitches can also require moving the yarn front or back. In the combination stitch pattern here, the movement of the yarn front or back becomes a bit unusual and I found I had to really pay attention.

Row 4 requires the most number of switches of yarn placement: knit 1, move yarn, slip 1, move yarn, knit 1, move yarn, purl 1, move yarn, k2tog, move yarn, move yarn again, purl 1. So, there are 7 yarn moves (8, if you are repeating the pattern).

Row 2 requires fewer switches: slip 1, move yarn, knit one, move yarn, slip 1, purl 1, yo, ssk, pl1. Only 2 yarn moves. Yet, I found Row 2 to be considerably more mentally challenging than Row 4. I’m on my third pair of socks (and I’ve knitted the two swatches), and I still have to pause once in a while to avoid mistakes. I think it’s funny that the row with fewer movements is harder.

I plan to continue playing with – and being surprised by – lace and slip stitch combinations.


  1. Hi, Amy. I love this pattern - printed it out so I can practice it. I look forward to how you will do the sock pattern.


    1. Thanks, Lindy. I'd love to hear what you think of the stitch pattern.