If you are a beginning knitter, you may be ready to learn how to decrease. There are a number of ways to do this. In this post I’ll share three common right side knitting decreases with you and a short video tutorial for each.
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What is a decrease?
A decrease stitch is one that takes two or three stitches (or more) and decreases the number of them. The stitches I will show you in this post take two stitches, and decrease them to just one stitch. Decreases are used to shape a knitting piece like for stuffies, sweaters, and many other items that aren’t just plain squares or rectangles. Decreases are also used in lace where you add spaces to the fabric with yarn overs, but don’t want to add to the total number of stitches. In order to keep the total number of stitches the same, but still add in the spaces, you pair those spaces with decreases.
What did I mean by “right side” decreases?
Not always, but often in knitting we are working knit stitches on the right side of the fabric and purl stitches on the wrong side of the fabric. Think of wrong and right here like how a shirt is either right or wrong side out. The right side of the fabric is the one that we mean for everyone to see, and the wrong side is the one that we do not intend to be seen.
The decreases I will show you below are usually worked when we are looking at the right side of our project, so they are variations of knit stitches rather than purl stitches.
Decreases “lean” one way or the other.
Something to know about decreases is that they look like they are leaning either right or left. The direction it leans is determined by which of the two stitches winds up in front. A right-leaning decrease has the second stitch in the front and it is leaning to the right. A left-leaning stitch has the first stitch in front when it’s complete, and it is leaning to the left. If you are working from a pattern, just follow it. But it is interesting to know that when you work a series of decreases over several rows, you will create a diagonal line that leans one way or the other. I will tell you which way each decrease leans as I tell you about that decrease.
Knit two stitches together, or K2tog
K2tog is how you abbreviate “knit two stitches together.” This decrease leans to the right. It is pretty easy to execute, although tight knitting can make it harder. For this knitting decrease you will put your right needle through the second stitch on your left needle and then at the same time, also slide it through the first stitch that you initially skipped, yarn over your right needle, and pull through the two stitches together.
Slip, slip, knit, or SSK
The “slip, slip, knit,” or SSK, as it is abbreviated, is a left-leaning decrease. In this decrease you will slip two stitches knit-wise. What does that mean? You will put your right needle through the next stitch as if you were going to knit it, but you then just pull it off your left needle and leave it on your right needle. Repeat that with the next stitch. Now you will put your left needle through the front loops of both of those slipped stitches, yarn over the right needle, and pull through both stitches.
Slip, knit, pass, or SKP
The “slip, knit, pass,” or SKP, is also sometimes called a “slip, knit, pass over,” or abbreviated SKPO. It is a left-leaning decrease as well. In this decrease you slip the next stitch on your left needle by putting your needle through it just as if you were going to purl it, or purl-wise. Don’t purl it, just pull it off the left needle and leave it on the right needle. Then you will knit the next stitch on the left needle normally. Then, put your left needle into the front of the stitch you slipped and pull it over the end of the right needle so that it comes off the needle, but stays wrapped around the last stitch that you knit.
And there you have it! Three common right-side knitting decreases.
Like the look of the yarn I used in this post?
The yarn I used in this post and videos is Knit Picks Capra DK. It’s a luxurious blend of Merino Wool and Cashmere which was provided by We Crochet! You can get it here.
Leave me a note in the comments about what brought you to my post! Were you working on a project and went looking for help with a stitch? I’d love to hear from you about what you need help with!
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