A step-by-step tutorial for this super neat left-leaning decrease including a video
Are you looking for the perfect left-leaning decrease? Then knitting two stitches together left might be what you are looking for. It creates a super neat decrease line but it’s sadly a bit more difficult to knit. That’s why I made sure to include a slow-motion video on how to knit k2tog left and tons of high-resolution pictures in this tutorial so you can get it right the first time.
The big problem with other left-slanting decreases, such as SSK or k2tog tbl, is that the resulting stitches are often a bit loose. This has to do with your knitting direction. You knit from right to left. And as you knit a new stitch, you automatically tighten up the previous stitch (one row below). This is what makes your standard k2tog look so nice and clean.
But with a left-leaning decrease, the stitch that ends up laying on top is two stitches removed. And through normal means, you don’t affect it anymore as you knit across. To address this dilemma, k2tog left is knit in a way that allows you to manually tighten up the prominently left-leaning loop for a neat finish.
Let’s dive right into it, eh?
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- Insert your right needle into the first stitch on the left needle knitwise (so from left to right) without knitting it.
- Next, insert the right needle into the back loop of the second stitch as well.
- Wrap the working yarn around the knitting needle counter-clockwise.
- Pull the yarn through but only through the second loop. This should result in a ktbl trapped in between the two stitches.
- Pull the resulting stitch to the front going through the first stitch on the left needle.
- Slip the first stitch off the left needle with the help of your fingers.
- Pull on the remaining stitch on your left needle. Give it a good yank to move all the excess yarn away from the stitch you just dropped.
- Drop the remaining stitch off the left needle as well.
- Give your working yarn a good tug to tighten up the previous stitch and continue knitting.
It's essential that you give the stitch (step 7) and the working yarn (step 9) a healthy yank. This is the secret trick that will make k2tog left appear so neat-looking on the right side. The wrong side will be a bit looser, though. As a result, this is probably a better technique for non-reversible projects.
Reading tip: If this is too difficult here’s how to decrease knitting for beginners.
If you feel this technique is a bit too complicated. You can also move your decreases to the wrong side. Instead of SSK, you can decrease with SSP for the exact same stitch but a much neater finish. Why is that, you might ask?
Well, on the wrong side the knitting direction is from right to left as well. So, you also only ever tighten up the left-most loop of a decrease. But as you turn things around, that very left loop turns into the right loop and that is exactly the loop that will end up laying on top. It’s the very loop that might make your SSKs look so wonky.
So, on the wrong side, everything is exactly the other way round. Here, the right-leaning decreases will give you trouble, while the left-leaning decreases will be much neater. And if you mix things up, you can achieve the neatest results in my opinion.
As an alternative, you can also knit SKP and manually yank out the last stitch in a similar way for almost as tidy results.
Reading tip: The ultimate list of knitting decreases – centered, right-, and left-leaning alternatives for every project.