Decrease a Stitch was Revised by Janice Jones on 12-11-2022
Stitches are used to create patterns in knitted fabric. Decreasing stitches means fewer stitches will remain after the pattern has been completed. There are several ways to reduce the number of stitches on your needles. Each has its pros and cons.
Different techniques of decreasing allow you either to make decreases hardly visible or, on the contrary, make them clearly visible in the knitted fabrics. This way they will create additional decorative effect to your design.
When used in shaping such as when making an armhole for a sweater, it is important that the decreases slant in the way you want them to.
For this reason, we will call them left-slanting or right-slanting decreases and they are normally made on both sides of a row. If done properly, the left- slanting and right-slanting decreases will mirror each other, which means that they must slant in opposite directions, be the same size, and should be in the same position in relation to each other. In other words, you want the decreases to match. The human eye loves to see symmetry.
Decreases are also used when creating lace and I will touch on this later in the article.
Many of the techniques on this page require you to slip a stitch. Slipping a stitch is simply passing a stitch from the left needle to the right needle without knitting or purling it.
To slip a stitch knitwise, insert the right needle into the next stitch to be knitted but do not knit. Pull the stitch off of the left needle and place it on the right needle. The unworked stitch is now on the right needle.
To slip a stitch purlwise, insert the right needle into the next stitch to be purled, but do not work it. Pull the stitch off the left needle and place it on the right needle. The unworked stitch is now on the right needle.
There are dozens of ways to make increases which designers use for the decorative purposes. In this tutorial I will be discussing these different methods:
Ways to Improve Your Decreases
You can make decreasing either in the knit row ( K2tog = knit 2 stitches together) or in the purl row (p2tog = purl 2 stitches together ).
I would like to remind you , that all knitting stitches and technique are EXACTLY the same for both CONTINENTAL and English style of knitting.
KSP stands for Knit, slip, pass and it is another form of a right-slanted decrease.
To make the KSP:
When shaping a garment, you will need a left-slanting decrease to mirror the right-slanting decrease. The SSK works well with the K2tog.
It can be done either in the knit row: ssk= slip, slip, knit 2 stitches together. Decreasing a stitch in the purl row has abbreviation ssp= slip, slip, purl 2 together.
SSK will produce left-slanting decrease in the knit row. SSP will look as a right-slanting decrease in the purl row.
To Make a SSK:
TIP: The SSK decrease is not as easy to make as the K2tog and therefore, these decreases often show up as larger stitches on the fabric. Use your needle tips to work the decrease and try to manipulate as little as possible otherwise they become stretched and look larger.
For this method, you will do the following:
This is a more common decrease in British or Japanese publications, but not as common in the U.S.
Double decreases are often used when you are knitting lace. You could do a K3tog (knit 3 together) or a P3tog (purl 3 stitches together) but you won't see this method used very frequently. There are two commonly made double decreases:
Sometimes double decreases will be paired so that one will slant in one direction and the other will slant in the opposite direction. This is done for the same reason I mentioned above, for symmetry.
There are also a couple of ways to make a double decrease if you don't want the decrease to point to the left or right.
This type of decrease is used for making lace, but it is also used when you might be making a V-neck sweater or vest. It is the type of decrease that is created in the center of a ribbed band and creates the V for the V-neck sweater.
To Make the S2K1P:
You can see that the center stitch is on the top.
The difference between the S1K2P is where the center stitch appears. In the S1K2P, the center stitch is on the bottom.
To make the S1K2P: