A step by step tutorial for the easiest knitting decrease. Learn how to knit two stitches together.
A lot of patterns call for decreases. At the beginning of your knitting journey, there is one decrease stitch you will definitely need: Knit Two Together. The good news: This is also the possibly easiest way to decrease 2 stitches.
In a way, the name is a bit confusing, as most decreases require you to knit through two stitches. But by convention, knit two together means working a regular knit stitch through TWO stitches at the same time. This will create a right-slanted decrease. The corresponding left-leaning stitches are SSK or K2tog tbl.
K2tog is often used in lace patterns, but also when you are working towards a tip (like in socks) or the very voluminous Brioche Stitch. It is always used on the right side of the stockinette stitch. If you need to decrease on the wrong side, then P2tog will appear the same on the right side once you turn things around
ⓘ In knitting patterns, this stitch is usually indicated by “K2tog” for “knit 2 together”, sometimes also capitalized “K2TOG”. If your pattern says K2tog (3 times) it means you have to repeat this stitch that many times in a row. If a pattern tells you to decrease in a knit row (without further details), then this stitch will be a safe bet.
So, let’s dive right into it and show you how to knit this decrease!
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- Start by bringing the working yarn to the back just the way you would typically for a knit stitch.
- Now, insert your right needle into the first two stitches on the left needle at the same time from left to right.
Tip: Depending on how tight you knit, this can be a little bit difficult. You can loosen up the left stitch with the tip of your right needle a bit to make it easier. But be aware that the more you wiggle around, the more visible this decrease will be.
- Wrap the yarn around the needle counter-clockwise by going in from behind.
- Pull the working yarn through both stitches at the same time.
Tip: I usually fixate both stitches using my middle finger and use the tip as a surface to scrape the yarn across. It's sometimes a bit tricky to pull the yarn through.
- Slip the two loops you decreased through off the left needle to finish the stitch.
If you are having big troubles working this decrease, it sometimes helps to insert the right needle into both stitches from right to left and loosen them both by moving around in a circular motion around your working needle before you start knitting. Be aware, however, that the tighter you work this stitch the more invisible it will be.
Sometimes, a pattern will tell you to knit three stitches together (abbreviated as K3tog). This is a very tight decrease and is worked in almost the exact same way as a K2tog. The only difference is that you will have to pull the working yarn through three stitches instead of two. It’s often quite tricky to do this decrease, especially if you are working with a fuzzy yarn. Again, you can loosen the loops a bit with your right needle before you knit it.
Here’s my full k3tog tutorial with three fun variations to achieve left-leaning and right-leaning double decreases.
Difference between K2Tog vs SSK
The K2tog is a right-slanted decrease. This means you will see the legs of the stitch leaning towards the right. The SSK (slip, slip knit) is the corresponding left-slanted decrease. So, depending on your work, you can combine these two stitches to create direction in your pattern.
Imagine you are knitting a hat, a sweater, or the tip of a pair of socks where you will have decreases on both sides of the work. On the left side, you probably want to have left-slanting decreases to harmonize with the general direction of the decrease and on the right side, you’ll see that right-slanting decreases will usually look better.
K2Tog Mistakes & how to prevent them
Decreases are quite visible in your final work and the K2tog is actually one of the most prominent decreases because often you end up widening the loop a bit too much. That’s why you should try to keep things as tight as possible. Use sharp-pointed needles (this means metal tips or hardwood) to make it easier to insert the needle through the loops.
Sometimes you also end up missing the first stitch on the needle. Instead of knitting two stitches together, you just knit one and drop the other. So, be careful when you insert the needle and check diligently.
Most knitters will use very sharp needles for lace and other patterns that call for a lot of decreases. While it is indeed easier to insert the needles into all these double (and triple) stitches, you also end up splitting the threads of your yarn a lot. This happens a lot if you don’t keep a good tension, your knitting is very tight, and you are only watching with half an eye. If you notice you speared through the stitches on the needle or the working yarn, just reverse knit and try it again.
Reading tip: The ultimate list of knitting decreases – centered, right-, and left-leaning alternatives for every project.