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How to Decrease Stitches in Knitting -Two Easy But Powerful Knitting Tools

How to Decrease Stitches in Knitting -Two Easy But Powerful Knitting Tools

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Decrease Stitches in Knitting

Decrease stitches in knitting is a common part of many knitting patterns. It is a very powerful little tactic that can completely change the shape of your garment. There is the right leaning knit two together (K2tog) or the left leaning, slip slip knit (ssk). There are several other decrease stitches. But much less common. We are going to focus on these two powerhouse stitches that you will use most often, including pictures and video tutorial.


Frequently the K2tog and the ssk will be used in the same pattern. Symmetry in a pattern is often desired. So, a couple of decrease stitches in knitting that are the mirror image of each other can be very useful. Let’s get started.






Right and Left Leaning Decrease K2Tog and SSK

The right and left lean can occur at the edge of the garment or in the center of the garment, such as a dart, or when shaping a neck or armhole. The images below are just to demonstrate the different leans that occur with these mirror image knitting decreases.



brown yarn on needle, left leaning decreae, k2tog
Left Leaning Decrease, SSK



brown yarn on needle, right leaning decrease, SSK
Right Leaning Decrease, K2tog



Right Leaning Decrease – Knit 2 Together (K2tog)

The following are pictures to demonstrate the actual process of the right leaning decrease or Knit 2 together (K2tog). Just be sure to pick up only two stitches when you are making this decrease.

knitting needles with two stitches being knit at same time
FIRST: Insert right needle into two stitches on left needle


needles and yarn, wrapping yarn, performing decrease stitches in knitting
SECOND: Wrap yarn from back to front in usual knit but with two stitches being worked at once.


two hands knitting with purple yarn and needles
THIRD: Bring the yarn from front to back like any other knit stitch.


left leaning decrease, K2tog complete
FOURTH: Move the new stitch from the left to the right needle. Your K2Tog is complete.


Video Demonstration of Making a K2tog From Beginning to End


 Gauge and Swatch Before Knitting 

How to Cast On Stitches in the Middle of Your Row

Continental Style Knitting for Beginners


✅Knitting Tip:  Sometimes the K2tog and the SSK can look a little gangly and over-sized compared to the rest of your stitches, especially in stockinette. That may because you are working on the barrel of your needles instead of the tips. When working a decrease keep your stitches down on the tips so that they remain small. It makes a difference and your stitches look more tidy.


Left Leaning Decrease – Slip Slip Knit (SSK)

The mirror stitch of the Knit 2 together, is the slip slip knit, which leans left and is a beautiful shaping decrease. The following images demonstrate step by step how to create this decrease.

hands knitting a knit stitch
FIRST Slip two stitches,, one at a time, from left to right needle, as if to knit.


hands initiating a SSK
SECOND: Now reinsert the left needle into the two slipped stitches you just put on the right needle. And knit them together through the back loops like a regular knit stitch.


hands completing a SSK
THIRD: Complete the knit and move the new knit stitch to the right needle.


decrease stitches in knitting, left leaning SSK complete
FOURTH: The SSK now complete


A Video Demonstration of the Left Leaning SSK Knit Stitch

This is a great demonstration of the SSK shaping stitch, And the knitter gives us an excellent tip to make it even easier. Enjoy.




How to Decrease Stitches in Knitting a Hat

Now that you understand how to decrease in knitting the two most common and useful ways. It is time for you to get some practice in. Here are four great hat patterns from easy to more difficult. One is even a cable stitch hat. but you don’t have to worry about that because we talked about cabling already  and even cabling without needing a cable needle.


Each of these free hat knitting patterns use the k2tog decrease or the ssk decrease or both. So have a look at them and enjoy your knitting. They are all PDF downloads.




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