Decreasing Stitches

Decreasing Stitches

Andrea Yetman July 21, 2018

Decreasing stitches is another very important staple to know when knitting projects. Having a decrease lean in the opposite direction than what it needs to can take away from your work and it just won't look right! In my last blog post we went over three different techniques on how to increase stitches, all of which came with its very own version of a left leaning and a right leaning increase.

Decreasing stitches can be a little more confusing. When decreasing stitches you are combing two different techniques together to get your stitches to lean in the direction you want them to. So, I'm using Biscotte's DK Pure in Gris-Gris as I did in my "Increase Your Knowledge" blog just because it's easy to see the stitches in this color AAAAND it's ma fav! So, let's get started!!


Knit Two Together (K2TOG) - Purl Two Together (P2TOG)

The most common known decrease in knitting is Knit Two Together (K2TOG) or Purl Two Together (P2TOG). This decrease is right slanting. It can be worked on either the knit side or the purl side; however will only show up on the knit side. If seaming is involved you should always leave one stitch at the very beginning and at the very end of your work. If not, seaming will be very difficult. This decrease is usually worked at the end of the row and to get its mirror image you would couple it with its very best friend the Slip Slip Knit or Slip Slip Purl which would be worked at the beginning of the row.

decreasing stitches

Step 1: Insert your right needle into your next two stitches on the left hand needle and knit them both together. If you were working on the purl side, the technique would be the same except you would purl the next two stitches on your needle together.

Step 2: Shows how your stitches are leaning to the right. And as you can see it gives a very neat and tidy appearance. Perhaps that's why there aren't as many right leaning decreases as there are left leaning decreases. If it's not broke don't fix it, hey b'y!


Slip Slip Knit (SSK) - Slip Slip Purl (SSP)

The Slip Slip Knit or Slip Slip Purl is a left slanting decrease. This technique is the mirror image of the K2TOG or P2TOG. Worked at the beginning of a row, a one stitch allowance is also important when seaming is involved otherwise can make for a difficult time picking up stitches. This technique is preferred over the Slip One, Knit One, Pass Slipped Stitch Over (S1, K1, PSSO) as it is a neater looking decrease. When worked on every other row, it makes for a really nice line at the neckline or sleeve opening of a garment and makes seaming or picking up stitches a breeze!

decreasing stitches

Step 1: Insert right hand needle into the stitch as if to knit, don't knit it, just slip it.

Step 2: Repeat step 1 for the second stitch.

Step 3: Insert you left hand needle into both of the slipped stitches through the front and knit them together. If you were working on the purl side, the technique would be similar; slip the two stitches one at a time as if to knit, slip them back to the left hand needle keeping them twisted and then purl the stitches through their back loops.

Step 4: Shows the left leaning decreases. They also look very uniform and mirror the K2TOG. They really are besties!


Slip One, Knit One, Pass Slipped Stitch Over (S1, K1, PSSO)

This is also a left leaning increase. It isn't normally preferred to the SSK; it creates the same effect but in my opinion doesn't look quite as neat. I will demonstrate how to do it though because it is still seen in patterns from time to time.

decreasing stitches

Step 1: Insert right hand needle into next stitch as if to purl and slip it onto the right hand needle.

Step 2: Knit the next stitch as normal.

Step 3: Insert left hand needle into the slipped stitch and.....

Step 4: Pass it over the knit stitch. Very easy to do, however I'll show a picture a little further down how this technique looks a little different than the SSK.


Central Single Decrease (CSD)

This decrease is neither left slanting nor right slanting. It is worked over three stitches and uses both of the techniques that we've just learned. I think this one is fantastic. In an upcoming blog, I'm taking one of my favorite sweaters and converting it into a tank top. In one section of my pattern I needed to decrease three stitches evenly across my row. So of course on either ends I had my right and left slanting decreases; putting a slanted increase in the middle of my work would have just   pushed me right over the edge LOL so right in the middle I'm putting the Central Single Decrease!! Now, I'm still in the writing of the pattern portion of this so called project.....we will see what happens! But I'm extremely excited about it and everything seems to be adding up so far. OMG can anyone say SQUIRREL?? Decrease, Andrea, DECREASE!!!! So here's this fantastic little decrease!

Step 1: Complete a SSK. The first stitch there on my right hand needle is the completed SSK.

Step 2: If you look at the SSK which is just below the stitch on your needle, locate the stitch that is towards the back as pointed out by my green needle.

Step 3: With your left hand needle pick it up and place it on the needle ready to work.

Step 4: Knit the stitch you just put on your needle with the next stitch as a K2TOG. So if the two besties, the SSK and the K2TOG, were to get married and have a baby they would create the Central Single Decrease (CSD) LOL

Here's a picture of the CSD pointed out by my green needle and as you can see it's invisible!! I love this decrease!

decreasing stitches

Remember I mentioned how the SSK is probably the better decrease to use vs. the S1, K1, PSSO? In the picture below as pointed out by my famous little green needle, the above portion was decreased using the S1, K1, PSSO and the bottom portion was decreased using the SSK. You can clearly see the bottom portion looks much neater. I only blocked my swatch with a steamer, I'm sure with a more vigorous blocking the top would look better but my preference is still the SSK.

decreasing stitches

And of course it wouldn't be right if I didn't end off by putting this very helpful little swatch in a flower pot picture as well :)

decreasing stitches

Thank you Jenannie for requesting this blog and I hope you find it useful!

Happy knitting everyone!!!