As a new knitter understanding different decrease stitch methods can be very confusing, let alone learning the abbreviations that look like a secret code only privy to the most knowledgeable of knitters.
When reading patterns, you will find that the most commonly used methods in decreasing is the K2TOG, the SSK, and the S1,K1,PSSO. These stitches are used for decreases in hats, mittens, gloves, lace, sweaters and a variety of other knitted garments.
- K2TOG Knit two stitches together is used for a right slanting decrease. Knitting (or purling) two stitches together is the easiest technique to learn. To create a K2TOG stitch, insert your right needle as if to knit into the first two stitches on your left needle and knit them together as one stitch. You now have a right slanted decrease. The cousin to this stitch is the P2TOG = Purl two stitches together is for a right slanting decrease if done on the right side of the work. To create this stitch, Insert your right needle as if to purl into the next two stitches on the left needle and purl these two stitches together, as if you were going to purl one stitch.
- SSK = Slip, Slip, Knit two together is used as a single left slanting decrease. To create the SSK, insert the right hand needle into the first stitch on the left hand needle as if you were going to knit (this is important), then slip the stitch without knitting to the right hand needle and repeat so you have two slipped stitches on the right hand needle. Now insert the left hand needle through the front loops of the stitches you just slipped and knit them together. You now have a left slanted decrease.
- S1,K1,PSSO = Slip one stitch, knit one stitch, pass slipped stitch over the knitted stitch also abbreviated SKP) is used as a left slanting decrease on the knit side of work . Slip the first stitch on the left needle as if to knit, make sure to slip the stitch as if to knit, not as if to purl. Now knit the next stitch on the left needle and then insert the tip of left needle in stitch that you slipped on the right needle (this will be the second stitch on the right needle).
These three basic decrease methods are a must for new knitters to learn. Once you understand how decreasing works, your finishing techniques will improve, giving a more professional look to your completed project.
(Photos: Courtesy of Knit Simple)