A Knitting Dictionary—The Letter D is part of a series of posts that will eventually make up the Complete Knitting Dictionary a comprehensive knitter’s resource!

Danish hen knitting

(see hen knitting)


A manipulation of stitches that reduces the number of stitches in your fabric. This can be used for many purposes that usually fall into two categories: shaping and decoration. For example:

  • shaping—making your fabric narrower
  • shaping—in combination with increase on the opposite side for bias fabrics
  • shaping and decorative—when combined with increases within the fabric to make chevrons across the fabric
  • decoration—as in lace knitting when yarn overs create decorative holes and are paired with decreased to maintain the stitch count and shape of the fabric


Yarn dominance

Yarn dominance occurs in stranded knitting where both yarns are stranded across the back of the knitting in parallel strands where one yarn produces slightly larger stitches and thus produces more dominant stitches.

The yarn that travels along the bottom (the one that is held to the left) of the other yarn(s) has further to travel which means it uses slightly more yarn and, when relaxed, the stitches are slightly larger than the stitches of the yarn that travels along the top.

Knitted swatch showing yarn dominance

Colour dominance

Colour dominance is part of colour theory. Saturated pure hues (the main colours of the colour wheel) are more dominant that subdued colours. There are more aspects to colour dominance, but the concept is that even in completely equal proportions, some colours are visually more dominant than others. Keep that in mind when planning projects.

double decrease

Any decrease that reduced 3 stitches into 1. These include

  •     Centred or balanced
    • CDD (centred or central double decrease) – centre stitch is at the front
    • Sl1-k2tog-psso – centre stitch is at the back) this is  also referred to as a left leaning decrease because the topmost stitch is leaning to the left.
  •     Right leaning
    • k3tog
  •     Left leaning
    • sssk
    • k3togtbl

double increase

Any increase that creates two extra stitches on the current row or round. This includes increases where three stitches are worked into one stitch as well as increases where two increases are worked between stitches.

  • One stitch into three
    • kyok
    • centered double increase
  • Two stitches worked between stitches
    • double yarn over
    • double M1
    • backwards loop cast on  (2 sts)

DK (double knitting)

DK is a weight of yarn. It is also known as a light worsted and is (arguably) the most popular yarn weight in the UK.

It is between a sport weight and a full worsted weight.

The typical yarn gauge is between 21 -24 stitches per 10 cm (4”) with a recommended needle size of 3.75-4.5 mm (#5-#7 US) and gives about 11 -15 wraps per inch. It is a #3 on the Craft Yarn Council’s “Standard Yarn Weight System”

Not to be confused with double knitting the technique.

double knitting

(aka double–fabric)

A fabric that has two right sides.

Both sides are worked at the same time, on each row, either with one pass (both the side facing you and the side away from you) are worked on the same pass or with two passes where one pass completes all the facing stitches and all the other stitches are slipped and the next pass completes all the stitches that face away from you and the stitches acing you are slipped..

If worked in two colours (as is usual) the colour pattern on one side is the inverse of the colour pattern on the other side.

If each side of the fabric is worked in a single colour from a separate ball, the two pieces of fabric can be completely separate. The famous socks (knitted by the nanny, Anna Makarovna, in Tolstoi’s War and Peace) that are worked one inside the other and then separated after being finished.

With double knitting, tubes can be knit on straight needles by creating one half of the tube on the side facing you and the other side of the tube on the side away from you.

If one or both of the colours appear on both sides, the fabric is meshed together.

This technique creates a thick, warm fabric that is perfect for working colourwork, without having to worry about floats. As each colour is worked one one of the sides for every stitch pair in traditional double knitting.

The fabric is generally worked on smaller needles to get a similar gauge to single layer fabric as the stitches from one side keep the stitches from the other side apart. The gauge also tends to be more square than traditional knitting. That is the width and height of stitches tend to be more equal.

double pointed needles

(aka DPNs)

Needles with a point at each end. Usually used in sets of 4 or 5 to knit in the round.

They are typically in the 15 cm (6”) to 20 cm (8”) range but are available as short as 10 cm(4”) (great for fingers of gloves for example) and as long as 40 cm (16”) which are generally used for belt knitting.

They can also be used or flat knitting and or some special techniques that require the fabric to slide to the other end o the needle and or the next row (or pass to be worked in the same direction as the previous row without turning the fabric to the wrong side. The simplest such technique is when working two colours in single row stripes.

double ointed needles in a square with purple yarn


(see double pointed needles, right above)


(aka blocking, see blocking)

An old term that means blocking. The term dressing is rarely used anymore, but I wanted to include it here for the sake of completeness.

Washing (or steaming) fabric and laying, pinning or stretching on a frame or shaped object after finishing the fabric. This helps to even out the work, set the stitches and open up lace or other stitch patterns.

dropped stitches

There are three categories of dropped stitches:

Accidental dropped stitches

You (and I) are most likely familiar with this type. An accidental dropped stitch occurs when a knitter accidentally drops a stitch off the needles without working it.

It happens to all of us and is usually very easy to fix, even if found long after it is dropped.

The next two variations of dropped stitches are also called drop stitches and are worked intentionally to create a decorative patterning. Within each of these, there are many variations of dropped stitches.

Horizontal dropped stitches

(aka elongated stitches)

For these stitches, either the yarn is wrapped around the needle more than once for each stitch or yarn overs are worked between stitches. On the next row these extra wraps or yarn overs  are released (dropped) creating elongated stitches.

Elongated stitches can also be used as a base for other techniques, such as the horizontal chained drop stitch braid.

The loop stitch or fur stitch is a variation of the drop stitch.

Vertical dropped stitches

Vertical drop stitches are stitches that are worked and then on a subsequent row, a stitch is dropped on purpose and allowed to unravel to create a specific effect. The stitches can be controlled through a number of methods or can be released all the way to the cast on.

Many beautiful effects can be created using the vertical drop stitch.

The tuck stitch is a variant where the stitch on the current row is worked into a stitch one or more rows below and the in between stitches in that knit column are dropped.

Green shawl with vertical dropped stitches


(aka sag)

The effect of gravity on a garment. Cotton and other cellulose fibres tend to grow in length due to the effect on gravity on relatively heavy fibre.

Drop (repeat)

A full (or standard) drop repeat is when pattern or motif repeats are lined up perfectly both horizontally and vertically across a fabric in a grid pattern. A half drop repeat is when the pattern is lined up in one direction but is offset by half a repeat in the other direction.

This term comes from the sewing (and wallpaper) world where half drop always refers to a pattern repeat lining up vertically (the pattern repeats along the length of the fabric) and is offset horizontally (when you cut one section of fabric and put two lengths side by side.

In knitting because the motifs can be offset in either direction, the term refers to both the horizontal and vertical offsets.

rain drop icons arranged in a drop repeat

This entry was posted in Knitting Dictionary.

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