SKP Knitting:  How to Do This Decrease

SKP Knitting     by Janice Jones     |Published 01-27-2022

SKP is a knitting abbreviation that stands for Slip One, Knit One, Pass Knit Stitch over Slipped Stitch.   It is one of many different types of ways to decrease a stitch in knitting.  It is considered to be a single decrease because you are only decreasing one stitch at a time.

In a pattern, you may see the abbreviation, SKP, but just as likely, you may see it written as sl 1, k1, psso.  Both mean the same thing.  

Sl 1, k1, psso "translated" means slip one stitch onto the right needle, knit one, then pass the slipped stitch over the knit stitch.

A sample of SKP and K2Tog

Decreased stitches in knitting either slope or slant to the right or to the left according to the Craft Yarn Council.

Decreased stitches are used mainly to shape a piece of knitting such as making arm holes or around the neck openings.  Decreases are also used when you are working on a decorative design such as lace.  Decreases that slant to the left are normally made on the right side, whereas those that slant to the right are used on the left side.

Decreases should be symmetrical or mirror each other for the best look.  So, it's important to pair a left slanting decrease with a right slanting decrease.

How to Make the SKP Knitting

The SKP decrease requires three steps.

Step-by-Step Directions for the SKP Knitting

Step One

Demonstration of the first step of SKP which is to slip one stitch.

Knit to where you want to make the decrease.  Your pattern should tell you where that should go.  Slip one stitch from the left hand needle to the right hand needle, knitwise.  Remember, knitwise just means that you take the stitch from the left needle as if you were going to knit it.

Step Two

Knit the next stitch on the left needle in the normal way.  

The second step of SKP Knitting is to Knit one stitch

Step Three

Using the left needle tip, pass the slipped stitch over the knit stitch and then off the needle as you would if you were binding off.   You have decreased one stitch.  This makes a decrease that will slant to the left.

Demonstrates the third step of SKP Knitting which is to Pass the slip stitch over the knit stitch and off the needle.

Which decrease should you use with the SKP to shape a piece of fabric to look symmetrical?

Some patterns call for the SKP decrease to be paired with the K2tog. (Knit 2 stitches together).

Other patterns will suggest you use the SKP with the KSP decrease. (KSP stands for Knit, Slip, pass and is made by knitting one stitch, then returning it back to the left needle.  From there, you pass the stitch to the left of the stitch you just knit and off of the needle.  Finally you return the stitch to the right needle, and continue.

Demonstrates the K2tog decrease in knittingIn this tutorial, I used Knit two together (k2tog) for my right slanting decrease to mirror the SKP

Tips and Tricks for Neater SKP Decreases

Any time you slip a stitch there is the possibility that the stitch will become oversized because it's easy to stretch them when slipping.  The easiest way to avoid this is to keep needle tips close together and work only on the tips of the needles.  The less you manipulate the stitches, the tighter and more even your decreases will be.

More Tips for Making Decreases

Many patterns are perfect in that they tell you exactly what to do and when, but some tend to keep you guessing.

For example, what do you do if your pattern says:

"dec 1 every rs row"

It is obvious you need to decrease one stitch every right side row, but what type of decrease and where do you place the decrease?

Certain decreases slant to the left and some to the right.  For more information on different types of decreases, please jump to the article about decreasing a stitch.

As to where to put the decrease, the pattern leaves it up to your discretion.  For the best results never make a decrease in the first or last stitch in a row.  You may also want to knit two stitches before making a decrease. If pattern calls for decreases at the beginning and ending of the row, knit up to the last four stitches, make the decrease and then knit the last two stitches.

Why would you want to do this?

If you are making decreases in a piece that will need to be seamed, the first and last stitch of the row will be part of the seam.  If you want your seam to look right, the second stitch on either side of the seam should look good. This row of stitches will show on the right side of the piece and if both stitches are even, it will appear seamless.   If the decrease is done in this second stitch, the seam will show with stitches that are not uniform.  

Your pattern says, Dec 1 every 4th row?  What does that mean in flat knitting?

Row 1: Decrease Row (often a knit row)

Row 2:  WS or Purl row:  First row after decrease

Row 3: RS or Knit Ro:  Second row after decrease

Row 4: WS or Purl row:  Third row after decrease

Row 5:  This is actually the 4th row where you place your decrease

SKP Knitting:  Pin for Future Reference

How to make the SKP Knitting:  Pin ImageSKP Knitting: Pin Image

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About Janice

Hi, I’m Janice, the voice behind Smart-Knit-Crocheting. I love to knit and crochet and even more, I love teaching others what I know.

Though I learned to knit and crochet as a child, I didn’t get serious about these amazing hobbies until I retired. I’m a certified knit and crochet instructor through the Craft Yarn Council and am working on becoming a Master Hand Knitter through The Knitting Guild Association.

I’m currently living with my husband of over 50 years and our 7 Shih Tzu dogs.

I love hearing from you, so please drop me a line and let me know what you’re working on, whether you love knitting or crocheting more, and if you have any questions. Please visit my about me page for more information.

Happy Crocheting