Remember the Cascade Eco Wool sweater that I knit for Branden while he was in Atlanta?

I finished it in September of 2010, and it has been worn at least once a week through the two cold seasons since then. Sometime around this time last year, we noticed that there was a dropped stitch at the back sleeve shaping on the raglan. There wasn’t any damage, so the only way that I could have ended up with a dropped stitch was if I had made a mistake in one of the decreases, and just hadn’t caught one of the loops when I was knitting the sweater.

It surprised me that it took us so long to find the drop, given how frequently people talk about how knit stitches can run (!), and about the horrors of a dropped stitch. (I always find it a little bit amusing when I run into a knitter who feels that stitches are just waiting to jump from the needles and run away to unravel a whole garment in an instant. That might be true for silk or tencel, but really, really not for wool.)

When we found the errant stitch (several washes and a full year after it had been knit), it had dropped down one row. One lonely little ladder…that was it.

Between needing to remember to fix it, and needing to remember while it wasn’t being worn, I didn’t get to this right away. Then, it kind of became a game. How long until it actually had to be fixed, anyway?

A year later, this is how far that one stitch has run.

See that? A whole two ladders!

Eco Wool is a fairly grabby wool, and I knit at a pretty firm gauge. I would have thought that this would be a pretty high-tension area, but maybe it’s stabilized by the shaping decreases nearby. Even so, though, I think this shows just how unlikely it is that a sweater will completely unravel just because there’s a dropped stitch or a loose end nearby. Considering how much reinforcement there is in a steek, and the fact that there are usually several “buffer” stitches between the garment stitches and the cut edge, I figure that I’m safe for at least a few years on any steeked knitting (and yes, my first steek was machine-reinforced on superwash wool, and no, it has shown no signs of going anywhere after being tucked neatly away behind a zipper).

I did decide to end the game and just fix the stitch in Branden’s sweater this morning. Two ladders seems like enough, and I think two years is enough to prove the point.