K1tog Left loop and K1Tog Right loop

A step by step tutorial on the K1tog LL and K1tog RL pseudo-decreases – smart techniques to close gaps, avoid joggs, etc

I love experimenting with my knitting and trying to figure out new ways to solve old problems. One of mine has always been finding a decrease that leads to a similar effect like a KLL or KRL. And, lo and behold, with the K1tog LL I found a little workaround.

A knitted swatch with k1tog rl and k1tog ll still on the knitting needles

Now, I want to make this crystal clear that I made these two “decreases” up myself. I couldn’t find them in any knitting book but have no clue if I was the first one to ever think of them. So, I make no claim here. I just want to show you these techniques and why and how I use them.

k1tog rl and k1tog left on a swatch seen from above with knitting tools in the background
A swatch with K1tog LL on the left and K1tog RL on the right side

Update: I updated the instructions in September 2021 because I found a slightly better way to knit these stitches for even neater results.

Instructions: How to k1tog RL

someone knitting one together right loop

This method sounds like a decrease but your stitch count remains the same. Instead of two stitches in the same row, it gathers two stitches in consecutive rows together into one. This condenses the fabric.

Active Time 1 minute
Total Time 1 minute

Instructions

  1. Pick up the right loop of the stitch one row below the next stitch on your left needle.

    lifting the right leg of the stitch one row below
  2. Lift the loop you picked up back to the left needle.

    slipping the lifted stitch back to the left needle
  3. Knit the two stitches (or rather one stitch and one loop) together through the back loop.

    knit the two loops together through back loop to finish k1tog rl

Notes

Instead of knitting the two loops together through the back loop, you can also just knit a standard k2tog.

alternative for k1tog rl by only doing a knit two together

This will create a less condensed stitch that will be a bit more in line with the look and feel of stockinette stitch. Most people will prefer to knit this stitch that way to create jogless stripes, etc. even though it's a bit looser.

the way the alternative k1tog rl looks like

Instructions for k1tog LL

And you knit one together left loop in a very similar way. The stitches behave in a very similar way and it boils down to where in your fabric you want to employ them – just like other left- and right-leaning knitting decreases. And k1tog LL would be the right-slanting version.

Step 1: Slip the stitch you want to knit together knitwise.

slipping one stitch knitwise

Step 2: Pick up the left loop of the stitch one row below the one you just slipped and slip the stitch you slipped back to the left needle.

lift the left loop of the stitch you just slipped and slip the slipped stitch to the left needle

Step 3: Knit the two stitches together.

knit the two loops together to finish k1tog ll

You can also slip the stitch purlwise (step 1) instead. The result will be a rather loose column of knit stitches, where, unlike when you slip a stitch (in the previous row), the float is incorporated into the stitch.

the way the alternatie k1tog ll looks like

Use cases for these two decreases

First of all, I call them decreases because they are knit in a similar way but they are not decreasing your stitch count. They only bring a different structure to the fabric.

#1 Creating the perfect slopped neckline without a gap

closing the gaps of a neckline with k1tog rl - a swatch to show the difference
A swatch to show you how you would knit a collar from a sloped line of slipped stitches.

Most people who knit sweaters bottom-up will bind off around the neckline and then pick stitches up. While this will reinforce the collar, it often will look less neat than a top-down raglan sweater kind of neck or the yokes so popular in Fair Isle knitting.

But here’s another method: You can slip stitches to cable/stitch holder. But there is a problem: Typically you would try to create a nice slope by slipping the first stitch after the stitches you slipped to the cable. But if you knit across, this will still leave little gaps.

If you K1tog LL after the gap (or k1tog right loop before the gap on the right side), this won’t create an eyelet and a tight neckline.

#2 Cinching the fabric

Another problem you might be facing has to do with the way KLL and KRL “cinch” the fabric because they steal a bit of yarn from the row below. If you were to knit a shawl with these increases, this would turn into a problem.

But this “issue” can also be used for shaping toys and other knitwear. But if you want to cinch something round symmetrical at the top and the bottom, you are facing a problem: There is no corresponding decrease that really steals yarn from the row below. You can slip stitches, but that also poses a problem.

A swatch where I slipped stitches to structure the fabric

Take a look at this swatch. I slipped stitches in the middle to shorten the fabric in that position. But because you are essentially creating floats, it creates an elevated sort of line that sometimes is not what you want.

cinching fabric with k1tog rl on the bottom of a knitted pumpkin as an example
Close-up of the bottom of my pumpkin pattern where I cinched the ribs with k1tog LL & RL

Here’s a picture of the bottom of my pumpkin pattern. I did a K1tog RL/LL and you can clearly see how this helps to bring the segments of the pumpkin a bit to the front (or rather the create the indentation).

Other than that, I am not really using these stitches for anything else. The use cases are somewhat limited and it’s certainly not the first thing a beginner needs to learn. But, I guess it’s kind of interesting to know, right?

That’s all I can tell you about k1tog LL and k1tog RL. Feel free to ask your questions below!

how to k1tog rl and ll - two smart knitting decreases with many applications

10 thoughts on “K1tog Left loop and K1Tog Right loop”

  1. Thanks ever so much for this step by step tutorial.

    Most grateful to you sending extra email with updated pattern and links.

    Well done! Commendable effort.

    Reply
  2. I’m excited to try these new techniques! Your pumpkin will be my “swatch” for testing and learning. Thanks so much for your wonderfully clear tutorials AND for the pumpkin pattern!

    Reply
    • Hey Eva,
      that sounds like an excellent idea. I bet you will learn a ton about shaping knitting AND new stitches. Oh and so happy to hear you like em! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Reply
  3. I am knitting your pumpkin pattern now and it is a very fun knit . Thanks so much for your knitting tips and tutorials.

    Reply
  4. Thank you so much for this step by step tutorial. I was a bit confused with this step knitting the pumpkin pattern considering that it was not changing the stitch count. It all makes sense to me now. I do love how this added so much naturally knit shape to the pumpkin doing it with your stitches. Thank you again for the pattern and the detailed step by steps with explanations as well.

    Reply

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