BEYOND THE BASICS

Decreasing is a method of reducing the number of stitches (usually one or two at a time) to narrow a piece of knitting.

As with increases, a variety of methods can be used, depending on the purpose they will serve. For example, decreases can slant to the left, slant to the right or be vertical. When shaping an armhole, you might want to work a left-slanting decrease on the right-hand side of the garment and a right-slanting decrease on the left-hand side of the garment, thus emphasizing the slope of the shaping. If placed one or two stitches in from the edge, the decreases become a decorative detail. This type of visible decreasing is called “full-fashioned” decreasing. Placing the decreases away from the edge also makes it easier to seam the pieces together.

Of course, the decreases do not have to be visible. A simple decrease (such as knitting two stitches together) can be placed at the edge of the knitting so that it will be invisible once the pieces are sewn together.

Most decreases are worked on the right side of the knitting, but sometimes it is necessary to decrease stitches on the wrong side (such as when the decreases are worked on every row). For this reason, we have also included decreases that can be worked on the purl side of the work.


K2TOG

basic single right-slanting decrease k2tog
k2tog k2tog k2tog

Knitting (or purling) two stitches together is the easiest technique and one that every beginner must learn. This basic decrease slants to the right on the knit side of the work. It is abbreviated k2tog (or p2tog).

Insert the right needle from front to back (knitwise) into the next two stitches on the left needle. Wrap the yarn around the right needle (as when knitting) and pull it through. You have decreased one stitch. Insert the right needle (purlwise) into the next two stitches on the left needle. Wrap the yarn around the right needle (as when purling) and pull it through. You have decreased one stitch.

K2TOG TBL

basic single left-slanting decrease k2tog tbl
k2tog tbl k2tog tbl k2tog tbl

Knitting (or purling) two stitches together through the back loops is a decrease that slants the stitches to the left on the knit side of the work. It is abbreviated as k2tog tbl (or p2tog tbl).

With the right needle behind the left needle, insert the right needle through the back loops of the next two stitches on the left needle. Knit these two stitches together. With the right needle behind the left needle, insert the right needle into the back loop of the second stitch, and then into the back loop of the first stitch on the left needle, which twists the two stitches. Purl these two stitches together.

SKP

single left-slanting decrease: version A SKP
SKP SKP SKP

This decrease slants the stitches to the left on the knit side of the work. It is abbreviated as SKP or sl 1, k1, psso (slip one stitch, knit one stitch, pass slip stitch over knit stitch).

1. Slip one stitch knitwise, then knit the next stitch. Insert the left needle into the slipped stitch as shown. 2. Pass the slipped stitch over the knit stitch and off the right needle.

SSK

single left-slanting decrease: version B ssk
SSK SSK SSK

This decrease slants the stitches to the left on the knit side of the work. It is abbreviated as ssk (slip one, slip one, knit two together).

1. Slip two stitches knitwise, one at a time, from the left needle to the right needle. 2. Insert the left needle into the fronts of these two slipped stitches as shown and knit them together.

SLIPPING A STITCH

To slip a stitch is to pass it from one needle to another without working it. It is sometimes done when decreasing as well as when working color and stitch patterns. A stitch slipped purlwise remains untwisted, but slipped knitwise, it will twist. If instructions do not specify which way to slip the stitch, slip it purlwise except when decreasing; in this case, slip knit stitches knitwise and purl stitches purlwise.

slipping a stitch knitwise sl st knitwise

To slip one stitch knitwise, insert the right needle into the next stitch on the left needle as if you were knitting the stitch. Pull this stitch off the left needle. The stitch is now on the right needle and twisted.

slip 1 knitwise
Slip one stitch knitwise

 

slipping a stitch purlwise sl st purlwise

To slip one stitch purlwise, insert the right needle into the next stitch on the left needle as if you were purling the stitch. Pull this stitch off the left needle. The stitch is now on the right needle.

slip 1 purlwise
Slip one stitch purlwise
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