Knitting is a popular craft that allows you to create beautiful and cozy garments. However, there may be times when you need to decrease stitches in your knitting project. Whether you’re shaping a neckline, creating a decorative pattern, or simply adjusting the size of your project, knowing how to decrease stitches is an essential skill for any knitter.
Decreasing stitches in knitting involves reducing the number of stitches on your needles. This can be done in various ways, such as knitting two stitches together, passing a stitch over another, or using various decorative decrease techniques. By decreasing stitches strategically, you can shape your knitting project and create a professional-looking finish.
In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of decreasing stitches in knitting. We will cover different methods and techniques, providing clear instructions and helpful tips along the way. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced knitter looking to expand your skills, this guide will help you master the art of decreasing stitches in no time.
Before you begin, make sure you have a basic understanding of knitting terminology and techniques. It’s also helpful to have a project on hand to practice on, such as a swatch or small accessory. With practice and patience, you’ll soon be decreasing stitches with confidence and creating beautifully crafted knitting projects.
Understanding Decreases in Knitting
In knitting, decreases are used to shape your fabric by reducing the number of stitches in a row. They are typically used to create shaping for garments such as sleeves, waistline, or neckline. Understanding how to decrease stitches is an essential skill for any knitter.
Types of Decreases
There are several common types of decreases that you may encounter in knitting:
- K2tog (Knit 2 Together): This decrease is used to reduce two stitches into one stitch. Insert your right needle through the next two stitches on the left needle as if to knit, then knit them together as if they were one stitch.
- SSK (Slip, Slip, Knit): This decrease is used to reduce two stitches into one stitch, but creates a left-leaning decrease. Slip the next two stitches individually from the left needle to the right needle as if to knit, then insert the left needle into the front loops of both slipped stitches and knit them together.
- S1, K1, PSSO (Slip 1, Knit 1, Pass Slipped Stitch Over): This decrease is commonly used for shaping in lace knitting. Slip the next stitch from the left needle to the right needle as if to knit, then knit the following stitch. Pass the slipped stitch over the knitted stitch and off the right needle.
Using Decreases in Knitting Patterns
Decreases are often indicated in knitting patterns by specific abbreviations or symbols. For example, “K2tog” or “SSK” may be written in the pattern instructions to indicate where to make decreases. It’s important to carefully read and follow the pattern instructions to ensure you are making the correct decreases at the correct locations.
Understanding Stitch Count and Gauge
When using decreases in a knitting pattern, it’s important to pay attention to the stitch count and gauge indicated in the pattern. Decreases will affect the total number of stitches you have in each row, which can have an impact on the overall size and fit of your finished project.
Practice and Experiment
As with any knitting technique, understanding decreases comes with practice and experience. It’s always a good idea to swatch and practice different types of decreases on a small piece of fabric before working on your main project. This will help you become more comfortable with the techniques and ensure that you are happy with the results.
Understanding decreases is a fundamental skill for any knitter. By familiarizing yourself with the different types of decreases, practicing them, and paying attention to pattern instructions and stitch count, you’ll be able to successfully shape your knitting projects and create beautifully tailored garments.
Choose the Right Decrease Method for Your Project
When it comes to knitting, there are various decrease methods that you can use to create different effects in your project. Choosing the right decrease method can make a big difference in the overall look and fit of your knitting. Here are some popular decrease methods to consider:
- K2tog (Knit Two Together): This is one of the most common decrease methods. To work this decrease, simply knit two stitches together as if they were one stitch. This creates a right-leaning decrease.
- SSK (Slip, Slip, Knit): This decrease method creates a left-leaning decrease. To work SSK, slip the next two stitches knitwise one at a time, then insert your left needle into the front loops of the slipped stitches and knit them together.
- K2tog tbl (Knit Two Together Through the Back Loops): This decrease method also creates a left-leaning decrease. To work K2tog tbl, insert your right needle through the back loops of the next two stitches and knit them together as one.
- SSSK (Slip, Slip, Slip, Knit): This decrease method creates a double decrease that leans to the left. To work SSSK, slip the next three stitches knitwise one at a time, then insert your left needle into the front loops of the slipped stitches and knit them together.
- K3tog (Knit Three Together): This decrease method creates a right-leaning double decrease. To work K3tog, knit the next three stitches together as if they were one stitch.
These are just a few examples of decrease methods that you can use in your knitting projects. It’s important to consider the overall pattern and design of your project when choosing a decrease method. Some methods may be more suitable for certain stitch patterns or garment shapes. Experimenting with different decrease methods can help you achieve the desired look and fit for your knitting project.
Preparing to Decrease Stitches
Before you begin decreasing stitches in your knitting project, it’s important to prepare and gather all the necessary materials. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth process:
- Read the pattern: Make sure you understand the instructions for decreasing stitches in your specific knitting pattern. Different patterns may have different techniques and stitch counts.
- Gather your supplies: Collect all the supplies you’ll need, including knitting needles, yarn, stitch markers, and a row counter if desired. Having everything ready will help you work efficiently.
- Choose the right needle size: Check the recommended needle size in your pattern to ensure the correct tension and gauge in your knitting. Using the wrong needle size may result in uneven stitches.
- Count your stitches: Take note of the current number of stitches on your needles. This will help you keep track of your progress and ensure you have the correct number of stitches after decreasing.
- Mark your pattern: If your pattern requires specific stitch placement or changes in stitch count, use stitch markers or make notes to help you stay organized.
By following these steps, you’ll be prepared and ready to decrease stitches in your knitting project with ease. Remember to refer to your specific pattern instructions for the best results.
Decreasing Stitches on the Knit Side
Decreasing stitches is an essential skill to master in knitting. It helps shape your project and create different patterns. When working on the knit side of your project, there are a few methods you can use to decrease stitches.
- Knit Two Stitches Together (K2Tog)
The most common method for decreasing stitches on the knit side is the knit two stitches together (K2Tog). To work this decrease:
- Insert the right needle into the next two stitches on the left needle as if to knit.
- Wrap the yarn around the right needle and pull it through the stitches, creating a new stitch.
- Slide the original stitches off the left needle.
K2Tog decreases one stitch and leans to the right.
Another method for decreasing stitches on the knit side is knitting through the back loop (Ktbl). To work this decrease:
- Insert the right needle into the next stitch on the left needle, but instead of inserting it through the front loop, insert it through the back loop.
- Wrap the yarn around the right needle and pull it through the stitch, creating a new stitch.
- Slide the original stitch off the left needle.
Ktbl decreases one stitch and twists the stitch, creating a decorative effect.
The slip, slip, knit (SSK) decrease is a left-leaning decrease commonly used in shaping. To work this decrease:
- Slip the next two stitches knitwise, one at a time, from the left needle to the right needle.
- Insert the left needle into the front loops of the slipped stitches from left to right.
- Wrap the yarn around the left needle and pull it through the front loops, creating a new stitch.
- Slide the original stitches off the right needle.
SSK decreases one stitch and leans to the left.
These methods for decreasing stitches on the knit side are just a few of the many possibilities. Experiment with different techniques to achieve the desired shape and pattern in your knitting project. As always, practice makes perfect, so keep practicing and soon you’ll be an expert at decreasing stitches!
Decreasing Stitches on the Purl Side
When working on the purl side of your knitting project, you can decrease stitches in a similar way as on the knit side. Decreasing on the purl side is commonly used to create shaping, such as when forming sleeves or necklines.
- Identify the stitches you want to decrease. Look for the stitch pattern or instructions in your knitting pattern to determine which stitches to decrease.
- Insert the right-hand needle into the next two stitches on the left-hand needle as if to purl.
- Wrap the yarn counterclockwise around the right-hand needle, just like you would when purling.
- Slide the right-hand needle through the stitches on the left-hand needle, bringing the yarn through to form a new stitch on the right-hand needle.
- Drop the two stitches that were decreased off the left-hand needle.
- Repeat these steps as necessary to continue decreasing stitches on the purl side.
Keep in mind that different stitch patterns may require different methods of decreasing on the purl side. Some patterns may use techniques like purl two stitches together (P2tog) or slip, slip, purl (SSP) to create specific decreases with a desired appearance.
Practice these techniques on a small swatch before using them in your actual project. This will help you become more familiar with the process and ensure that you achieve the desired results.
Using Decreases for Shaping in Knitting
Decreases are an essential technique in knitting that allow you to create shaping and contours in your projects. By reducing the number of stitches on your needles, you can shape your knitting to fit the specific design and create a professional and polished look.
There are several different types of decreases that you can use in knitting, each with its own unique effect. Some common types of decreases include:
- K2tog (Knit 2 together): This decrease is used to decrease two stitches into one. It creates a right-leaning decrease and is often used in shaping a garment.
- SSK (Slip, Slip, Knit): This decrease is another method for decreasing two stitches into one. It creates a left-leaning decrease and is often used in shaping a garment.
- P2tog (Purl 2 together): This decrease is used in purl stitches to decrease two stitches into one. It can be used to create shaping in purl stitch patterns.
- SK2P (Slip, Knit 2 together, Pass slipped stitch over): This decrease is a double decrease that involves slipping two stitches, knitting the next two stitches together, and then passing the slipped stitches over the knit stitches. It creates a centered double decrease.
When using decreases for shaping, it’s important to follow the pattern instructions carefully. The pattern will usually specify which type of decrease to use and where to place it. Pay attention to whether the decrease should be worked on the right side or wrong side of the fabric, as this can affect the appearance of the decrease.
If you’re creating your own pattern or modifying an existing pattern, you can experiment with different types of decreases to achieve the desired shaping and contour. Consider using a combination of decreases, such as using SSK decreases on one side and K2tog decreases on the other side, to create symmetrical shaping.
Keep in mind that decreases can also impact the gauge and tension of your knitting. When working decreases, make sure to knit or purl the stitches consistently to maintain an even tension throughout your project.
By mastering the art of using decreases for shaping, you can take your knitting skills to the next level and create beautifully shaped garments and accessories.
Tips and Tricks for Neat Decreases
When knitting, decreasing stitches is an important technique that allows you to shape your project. However, it can be challenging to create smooth and neat decreases. Here are some tips and tricks to help you achieve tidy decreases in your knitting:
- Use the right decrease method: There are different methods for decreasing stitches, such as knit two stitches together (k2tog), slip slip knit (ssk), or slip slip purl (ssp). Experiment with different methods to find the one that gives you the neatest result.
- Pay attention to stitch tension: When decreasing stitches, it’s important to maintain an even tension to avoid creating gaps or uneven stitches. Make sure the tension of your working yarn remains consistent throughout the decrease.
- Count your stitches: Before and after each decrease row, count your stitches to ensure you haven’t missed or accidentally decreased any stitches. This will help you catch any mistakes early on and avoid any issues later in your project.
- Use stitch markers: Placing stitch markers before and after the stitches you are decreasing can help you keep track of your decreases and ensure they are done in the correct places. This is especially helpful when working on complex stitch patterns.
- Follow the pattern instructions: If you are following a pattern, make sure to carefully read and understand the decrease instructions. Different patterns may have specific techniques or variations for decreases, so it’s important to follow the instructions provided.
- Practice and experiment: The more you practice decreasing stitches, the more comfortable you will become with the technique. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try different methods to find the ones that work best for you.
By using these tips and tricks, you can improve your decreasing technique and create neater and more professional-looking knitting projects. Remember to take your time, be patient, and have fun with your knitting!
Troubleshooting Common Decrease Problems
Decreasing stitches in knitting can sometimes be tricky and result in common problems. Here are some troubleshooting tips to help you overcome these issues:
- Uneven Decreases: If your decreases are turning out uneven, it’s important to make sure you are following the pattern correctly. Double-check the instructions and pay attention to the placement of the decreases. If you are still having trouble, try adjusting your tension or needle size to achieve more consistent results.
- Loose or Gaping Decreases: If your decreases are resulting in loose or gaping stitches, try knitting the stitches more tightly. You can also try using a smaller needle size for the decreases, which can help tighten the stitches. Another option is to slip the stitch knitwise instead of purlwise to tighten it up.
- Tight Decreases: If your decreases are too tight and causing puckering in your knitting, try knitting the stitches more loosely or using a larger needle size. You can also try slipping the stitch purlwise instead of knitwise, which can help loosen it up.
- Misaligned Decreases: Sometimes decreases can appear misaligned if they are worked too close to the edge of the fabric or if the tension is uneven. Make sure to follow the pattern instructions carefully and pay attention to the placement of the decreases. If necessary, adjust your tension or needle size to achieve a more aligned look.
- Inconsistent Decreases: If your decreases are inconsistent in size or appearance, it’s important to practice and pay attention to your technique. Make sure you are following the instructions correctly and consistently. Take your time and practice the decreases on a swatch before working them on your actual project.
Remember, practice and patience are key when it comes to knitting decreases. Don’t be discouraged if you encounter problems, as they can often be fixed with a little adjustment and practice. Happy knitting!
What is knitting?
Knitting is a craft technique used to create fabric by interlocking loops of yarn using knitting needles. It is commonly used to create clothing, blankets, and other textile items.
Why would I want to decrease stitches in knitting?
You might want to decrease stitches in knitting to shape your project or to create different stitch patterns. Decreasing stitches helps to create angles, curves, or a tapered effect to the fabric.
What are some common methods for decreasing stitches in knitting?
Some common methods for decreasing stitches in knitting include knit two stitches together (K2tog), slip slip knit (SSK), and knit three stitches together (K3tog). Each method creates a different look and affects the stitch count in different ways.
Can decreasing stitches in knitting be used to fix mistakes?
Decreasing stitches in knitting can be used to fix certain mistakes, such as accidental yarn overs or extra stitches. By decreasing the excess stitches, you can bring your stitch count back to the correct number and maintain the desired shape or stitch pattern. However, if the mistake is more significant, like a dropped stitch or a large hole, you may need to use different techniques or employ more advanced knitting skills to fix it.