Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Three decreases-- *knit 2 together *slip, slip, knit *3 stitch decrease

*Knit 2 together *slip, slip knit *three stitch decrease
click picture
includes a how-to

This post is about 3 handy decreases.

The first, "Knit 2 together" (abbreviated "k2tog") slants to the RIGHT. K2tog decreases away ONE STITCH every time it is done.

The second decrease, "Slip, slip, knit" (abbreviated "ssk") slants to the LEFT. Like k2tog, ssk also decreases away ONE STITCH every time it is done.

In lots of garments, paired decreases are used: k2tog AND ssk to make raglan decreases, v-necks (and other shapings too, like hat tops, sock gussets, etc.)

A third type of decrease "3 stitch decrease" (abbreviated "3stdec") slants neither right nor left, but makes a STRAIGHT LINE. 3stdec decreases away TWO STITCHES every time it is done. It is used especially on the tops of hats where a flat top is wanted (tams, roll-brim shaped hats) or to make the flat bottom of a knitted bag.

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Here are directions for each of the three decreases:

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  1. PREPARATION: Insert right needle from left to right (knitwise) through the two stitches at the tip of the left needle. Draw the yarn through the loops.
  2. The FINAL RESULT: The LEFT stitch lies on top, the RIGHT stitch is hidden behind, and the decrease slants RIGHT. One stitch appears where 2 were before, so k2tog is a one-stitch decrease.

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  1. FIRST SLIP: Insert the right needle from left to right (knitwise) into the first stitch on the tip of the left needle, and slip the stitch onto the right needle.
  2. SECOND SLIP: Repeat same step with the second stitch
  3. KNIT TOGETHER THOUGH THE BACK LOOPS: Insert the left needle into the front of the 2 stitches previously slipped onto right needle. Draw the yarn through the loops from this position.
  4. The FINAL RESULT: The right stitch lies on top, the left stitch is hidden behind and the decrease slants left. One stitch appears where 2 were before, so (like k2tog) ssk is a one-stitch decrease.

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  1. Inserting from left to right (knitwise), run right needle through TWO loops at tip of left needle and slip these two stitches onto the right needle. Note: You are to slip both stitches at the SAME TIME, therefore, insert the needle from L to R through the second stitch from the tip, then through the stitch at the tip, then slip both off the L needle, together, onto the R needle. 
  2. Knit the next stitch. 
  3. Next, insert the tip of the left needle under the 2 slipped stitches and lift them OVER the knitted stitch. (This is called "passing the slipped stitch(es) over" and is abbreviated "psso.")  
  4. If 3stdec looks like combination of k2tog and ssk, that's because it is. The stitch which originally lay two from the tip of the L needle comes to lay on top of the resulting stitch sandwich, and it is pointing straight up--the orange stitch in the above diagram, while the two stitches lower down in the sandwich (green and red) slant R and L, respectively, as shown.
  5. One stitch appears where 3 were before, so 3stdec is a two-stitch decrease.


Clair St. Michel said...


Anonymous said...

These simple posts really work. Your more involved posts have provided me with some food for thought.

Keep it up!

Kate said...

Thank you SO much. These are wonderful instructions and great visuals!

Anonymous said...

thanks so much. i couldn't figure out why the k2tog and ssk was different until you explained. thanks again.

btc said...

Fairly new to knitting and research unknown stitches on the web. Came accross a stitch 3-to-1 Decrease. Thissounds like the same thing. I will give it a try. Thanks

Liz said...

Thanks for the great pictures! They say a lot more than written instructions alone. One small criticism: to really have the middle slipped stitch be the "top" stitch, the knitter should slip the stitches backward: insert the right needle into the second stitch in on the left needle, then slip the stitch to its right. Knit the next stitch, then lift the two slipped stitches onto the knit stitch and you will see that the middle stitch ends up on top. The backward slipping feels weird but if you don't do this the right most stitch will end up on top and the k3tog will slant to the left.

--TECHknitter said...

Hi Liz--the direction for the 3 st dec do indicate to do as you have said--to insert the right needle KNITWISE (from left to right) into the two stitches on the tip of the left needle. That would indeed be "backwards" as you have said. Thanks for writing.


Deb said...

Hi there...thanks for this blog.It's very helpful. I am trying to knit some japanese lace/cable patterns and came across a 5 stitch central decrease. I can't find anywhere on line that describes how to achieve this. I assume it would be similar to the 3 stitch non-leaning but can figure our if it would the same with 5 stitches or not. Any ideas?

TECHknitter said...

Hi Deb--sorry for the delay in responding, the comments sometimes hide from me--I am a ditz with the computer, evidently.

For a five stitch central decrease, there are several options.

1: treat the TWO stitches on either side of the central stitch as though they are ONE stitch each, then proceed as for a three stitch central decrease.

2. draw the OUTER stitch of the two flanking the central stitch over the INNER of the two stitches flanking the center stitch (a psso-like move) and then work the 3-stitch center decrease. Alternatively, try drawing the INNER over the OUTER--this makes an interesting pattern, also: more raised than the outer over the inner.

Try these variations on a swatch and see which you like best.


Best, TK

Nonsequitorian said...

I'm experimenting with a 3-to-1 decrease that seems more "centered" to me. I'd be interested in hearing your opinion:

Slip the first 2 sts knitwise as you say in your method. Then ktbl the next st (knit through the back loop). Psso.

Going now to try your SYTK :)

Elisabeth said...

Dear TK,
I have a lace pattern I'm trying to make work, but it involves a lot of ssks.
I find that my left needle just can't find the bottom of the loops on my right needle, no matter how hard I shove. I must be very stressed as my stitches are super-tight.
I've tried various alternative left-leaning decreases, including your SYTK, to no avail.
If I read the pattern 'back to front,' yarnovers and all, and substituted ssks for k2togs, would it still work? The pattern makes diagonal lines which would look just as good going the other way. Being right-handed I find k2togs much easier.

TECHknitter said...

Hi Elisabeth--In my mind's eye I am seeing a diagonally striped lace pattern: is this correct? If so, working the pattern entirely backwards OUGHT to work to make the lace slant the other way, BUT, without seeing how the pattern is written, I can't say for sure. However, bet would be to knit a small swatch and see what happens!


Elisabeth said...

Thanks for the advice TK; I tried a very small test (can't be called a swatch in all honesty as I can never be bothered to do it properly *shame*) and it seems to work! Nearly got caught out by (yo, k1)twice but remembered to k1 yo. Pattern here for the curious:


Andrea said...

So as a left-handed knitter, these stitches are the exact opposite...any chance you could post a left-handed version? Thanks for your consideration!

TECHknitter said...

Hi Andrea--I think most printers have an option to print a mirror image? Maybe your printer has such an option? Please write again if this is not an option for you. Thanks. TK

Tim Hagey said...

So, if knitting a stocking cap, but I don't want the decreases to stand out, would it work to slip two stitches purlwise from the back, purl the third, then slip the two over the third?

TECHknitter said...

Hi Tim--Not sure what you mean by "decreases standing out?" Anytime you're removing stitches, there is an unavoidable bump, because the stitches being removed have to go somewhere, and this is especially true of a double decrease (two stitches hiding behind a third). Yet, I don't think the double decrease illustrated here stands out in a very dramatic way, and it creates a nice straight line of you align several decreases, as on a hat top. However, since it's only just knitting, by all means, try your idea on a swatch! I find that a purl decrease on a filed of stockinette stands out more, but YMMV! Best regards, TK

Rochelle Reid said...

Thank you so much for writing this post, it has helped me tremendously. I am learning a new technique that it probably beyond my beginner skills, you just made it easier. Thank you so much!

L'Atelier Fibre Laine said...

Oh thank you so uch for this tips, really helpfull.

Ranbir said...

It would be helpful for combined knitters to know that those stitches are exactly reversed in our style of knitting, as one can guess by the slanting of the stitch.

so ssk slants to the right and k2tg slants left, as the direction of the loops is reversed.

Barb L. said...

This has helped me greatly. I couldn't figure out whether the pattern was simply repeating the decrease instructions, but now know that ssk and k2tog are different, and why it matters! Thanks from a newbie.

Jill said...

Thanks so much for all your hard work, clear thinking, and excellent illustrations, both drawn and written. You are my go-to (and Google's) for basic and complicated questions.