From all angles – decreases; part 1 April 23, 2012 – Posted in: How to, Mondays with Mona

Today I am going to tell you about single decreases. Meaning: how to get one stitch less in your knitting. Decreases are mostly needed when knitting a sweater, lace or any project that involves shaping at all.

Decreases can be worked on the Right Side (RS) or the Wrong Side (WS) of your knitting, most commonly they are done on the RS. There are, however, some lace patterns where it is necessary to decrease on the wrong side, so it is good to know how to do those, too.

Most common is k2tog = knit 2 together. When doing a k2tog, you do exactly that, you knit 2 stitches together to make one.

Insert your needle into two stitches as if to knit, knit them together.

The resulting decrease slants to the right, meaning the second stitch sits on top of the first to the right.  This is important when you want to mirror decreases, especially when working lace, or, for example, knitting a sock gusset and toe.


The mirror decrease to k2tog is ssk = slip, slip, knit (through the back loop) or sl1, k1, psso = slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over. The second form is usually found in British or European patterns, though it is exactly the same as ssk. There are variations to be found, but once you know how, you can switch it up easily.

Slip 1st stitch knitwise

Slip 2nd stitch knitwise

Slip stitches back to left hand needle and insert right hand needle into back loop of both stitches.

Knit them together through the back loop.


Ssk slants to the left, meaning the first stitch sits on top of the second to the left.

Look closely and you’ll see how k2tog and ssk mirror each other.

So much for today. Stay tuned to learn about decreases worked on the WS of your project next Monday!

– Mona