A step by step tutorial on an interesting right-leaning decrease for twisted stitches and an alternative to k2tog twisted
I don’t think there is a single more complicated topic than knitting decreases. They appear so simple, but when you want the perfect decrease line on both sides of a project, things can sometimes get really complicated. Your k2tog and SSK will only get you so far – especially if your pattern involves twisted stitches or Bavarian twisted stitches.
While I was working on my Bavarian sock knitting pattern (make sure to check it out, it’s free) I came to a place where I wanted to decrease two columns of twisted stitches into another column evenly on both sides (see picture below). And here’s the problem: A k2tog tbl is left-leaning. So, on the right side, I had no problem, because with that decrease the outer line of twisted stitches would lie on top the way I wanted it.
But on the other side, a k2tog tbl would result in the inner line of twisted stitches on top of the outer line, while a regular k2tog (which would be right-leaning) doesn’t produce a twisted stitch. But that was neither what I wanted nor was it symmetrical. That’s why I came up with the traveling twisted decrease to the right. The perfect solution if you want a right-leaning twisted decrease.
Note: The name for this decrease is not canonized. Though I could not find it anywhere else, that does not mean someone else came up with it before and gave it a different name. An alternative would be knitting a k2tog twisted, which will look almost identical.
Knitting this traveling twisted decrease to the right is a two-step process. First, you need to create a 1×1 cable and then you need to knit those two stitches together through the back loop. Let’s take a look.
Step 1: Insert the right needle into the second stitch on the left needle from the front and press your left index finger against the first stitch to secure it.
Step 2: Drop the first two stitches on the second needle; The first stitch should be pressed against the right needle, while the second stitch should be securely on it.
Step 3: Pick up the dropped stitch right away with your left needle.
Step 4: Slip the slipped stitch on your left needle back to the right needle. You just re-arranged the order of those stitches.
Step 5: Insert your right needle into the back of these two stitches. This can be a bit tricky at times.
Step 6: Wrap the yarn around the needle counter-clockwise and pull through (so, a regular k2tog tbl).
Comparing this decrease with an SSK
It is interesting to note, that this decrease does not result in a left-leaning decrease like you would expect when you knit two stitches together through the back loop or doing an SSK. The decrease-line clearly leans to the right.
It’s actually just a different way to achieve a k2tog twisted. But, it’s maybe a tiny bit more condensed and I feel it’s much smoother to knit while doing Bavarian twisted stitches. It also just takes 3 slipped stitches instead of 4, so win-win for me.
Obviously, you might not want to use it to decrease a purl and a ktbl stitch, but usually, you would do a traveling stitch there anyway and the differences between a twisted and an untwisted purl stitch are very hard to spot under that decrease anyway.
It is perhaps interesting to note that, if you were to knit a traveling to the left and then knit those two stitches together, you would end up with an SSK. I feel that fact is very fascinating because it’s always important to remember that, in knitting, you can often arrive at the exact same results using different techniques.