how to

How to Decrease in Knitting

a tutorial on two popular methods for decreasing stitches in knitting

Welcome! Today’s tutorial is how to decrease in knitting. Decreasing is the method by which one lessens the number of workable stitches, and can be used in a myriad of projects such as hats, socks, sweaters, lace, mittens, shawls and so much more. The two methods I will teach you today are the Knit Two Together decrease and the Slip Slip Knit decrease. These are some of the most popular forms of decreasing. There are other ways to decrease, including binding off, however I just wanted to focus on these two common methods.

Both of these decrease methods involve working two stitches together. Learning these decrease stitches is a great way to test your ability to maintain tension and keep stitches on your needles.

In these photos and videos, I am using Takumi straight needles in size 10.5 and Patons Decor yarn in pale aubergine. (And yes, I did paint my fingernails each a different color!)

two different decrease methods

Slip Slip Knit (SSK)

A Slip Slip Knit decrease is a great decrease method for shaping garments and lacework. It is a relatively easy method for decreasing. This decrease is left-leaning, which is helpful to keep in mind for shaping and symmetrical decreases.

To begin, slip the next two stitches on your left needle purl-wise. (Meaning, insert your right needle in the front of the stitch on the left needle and slide the loop to your right needle.) Slip stitches one at a time. Keep your working yarn at the back of your work.

Slip one stitch
Slip second stitch

Now, you should have two slipped stitches on your right needle.

Then, insert your left needle in the front of both of the slipped stitches. Notice how your needles have aligned in a similar way as when working a knit or purl stitch.

Insert the LEFT needle into the fronts of the slipped stitches on your right needle

Next, wrap the yarn over your right needle to create a loop. Pull the right needle back through the stitches and slide the old stitches off the left needle while holding the new stitch on your right needle…and done! One SSK completed.

knit these two stitches together as you would knit one stitch
a completed SSK

Below is a video demonstrating the entire SSK process.

Video of one slip slip knit decrease

Knit Two Together (K2TOG)

This is the first decrease method I learned, and is the easiest decrease method to learn! Knit two together, or “k2tog,” is worked just like the knit stitch, however, instead of initially inserting the needle into one stitch, it is inserted into two stitches. A k2tog decrease is a right leaning decrease, which is a detail helpful in shaping armholes for sweaters, lace patterns, and so much more. A k2tog is one of the most versatile stitches and a trusty technique to add to your toolbox.

To begin a k2tog stitch, insert your right needle into the next two stitches on the left needle as if to knit.

Then, as you would with a normal knit stitch, wrap the yarn over the right needle to create a loop.

Just as in knitting, slide the right needle back through the two stitches and to the left of the two stitches, all while holding the new loop on your right needle. Slide the two stitches off the left needle...and done! One k2tog complete.

Below is a video showing the process of knitting one k2tog decrease.

video of knit two together decrease
two stitches decreased to one stitch

Both of these decrease methods accomplish the same task of reducing two stitches to one stitch. In the photo above, I have traced the existing two stitches leading up the work to the decrease and marked the one new stitch (after the decreases) with arrows.

I hope this is helpful! Thanks for tuning in today, bilingwools! Until Friday, happy knitting!

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