A step by step tutorial on how to knit three stitches together and three alternatives to achieve a center double-decrease or left- and right-leaning variations.
Most beginner patterns only require you to decrease by one stitch. Either by knitting two together or doing an SSK. But advanced lace patterns often require you to decrease faster. So, now you are probably wondering how to knit 3 together, right?
Well, in this tutorial I’m going to show you exactly how to do that. As this is a really advanced decrease I’m also going to take a look at three alternative ways of knitting this it to achieve different effects.
Why? Well, because a k2tog is right-leaning and if you simply knit three instead of two stitches together, you will end up with a bigger right-leaning decrease. Sometimes that’s exactly what you want, but other times it may not.
So, let’s dive right into it!
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- Insert the right needle into the first three stitches on your left needle from left to right (if the stitches are a bit too tight, loosen them up one at a time with your right needle).
- Wrap the yarn around your needle counter-clockwise. Or just pick it through if you are a picker like me.
- Pull the yarn through all three stitches and drop the resulting decrease off your left needle.
As I said before, this will result in a somewhat right-leaning decrease. The standard method will look a bit bunched. Sometimes, this can be the intended effect. Take a look at my traditional bavarian half-socks for example. Here I shape the bubble in the center of these lace leaves through k3togs.
K3tog centered /CDD
If you want to knit three stitches together so the middle stitch is centered, then you have to employ a different technique. It’s often also called the center double decrease (CDD) but personally, I don’t really see it as a different technique.
Step 1: Slip two stitches knitwise (much like an SSK).
Step 2: Knit one stitch.
Step 3: Pass the two slipped stitches over (so a bit like a standard bind off).
This can be a nice alternative for the center of shawls (in case you are knitting bottom-up) because for obvious reasons you don’t want the middle to lean either to the left or the right. You can also work it from the wrong side. Here’s how to knit a centered double decrease purl)
By common agreement, SSK (and its variations) is the easiest and best looking left-leaning knitting decrease. In case you want to decrease three stitches with a left-slant, you have to follow these steps:
Step 1: Slip one knitwise.
Step 2: K2tog
Step 3: Pass the slipped stitch over.
Like almost all left-leaning decreases, this one also has the problem of producing a very loose stitch. That’s because as you pass the last stitch over, you enlarge the loop but there is nothing to shorten the legs with the next stitch. So be extra careful when you slip the stitches. The purl counterpart is p3tog tbl.
If you want to have a more pronounced right-leaning k3tog, then you need to adapt the instructions even further.
Step 1: Slip one knitwise.
Step 2: Knit one.
Step 3: Pass the first stitch over.
Step 4: Slip the stitch back to the left needle and pass next stitch over.
I couldn’t say I am a huge fan of this variation. I feel the standard method (which is also right-leaning) looks neater. Still, I didn’t want to keep this technique from you as I thought it was quite interesting.
Now, admittedly, all these differences are somewhat minor. But, if you have to repeat these decreases every two rows or so, the effect will stack and if you choose the wrong variations of the k3tog, then it will show.
Besides, I believe that slipping and passing over actually makes these alternative ways of knitting three stitches together a bit easier. Sometimes – especially if you are a tight knitter and working with small needles – it can be incredibly hard to insert your needles into three stitches at the same time.