To help shape your knitwear, you will need to know how to decrease. In knitting, decreases are a way of reducing the number of live stitches on your knitting needles. By shrinking the number of live stitches on your needles, you will be able to shrink the length of each row. When working in the round, you can use this row-shortening tactic to close the tops of your knit tubes. Adding decreases in strategic places can also create interesting patterns as you turn your tube of knitting into a fitted piece of clothing.
Two important, simple decreases are “knit two together” (k2tog) and “slip, slip, knit” (ssk). Both decreases allow you to connect two stitches while creating one new live stitch your needles. This prevents your stitches from running, while still reducing the number of stiches in your row/round.
When you knit two stitches together in evenly spaced intervals, you can create a gentle swirl effect when closing the tops of hats.
Using both the k2tog and ssk in a pattern allows you to draw two sides of your work towards each other. Strategically placing these decreases at the tips of gloves, for example, pulls the edges closer together, forming rounded fingertips.
Both the knit two together and slip, slip, knit are slanted decreases; they will lean in one direction or the other. The knit two together (k2tog) decrease will a lean rightward. The slip, slip, knit decrease will lean leftward.
Below you will find both video and written guides to help you learn how to knit decreases.
Video Guide: How to Knit Decreases
Written Guides: How to Knit Decreases
Slip, Slip, Knit Decrease (ssk):
Knit Two Together Decrease (k2tog):
Practice With My Knitting Patterns
Ready to try it?
My Simple Knit Beanie hats are rounded at the top with k2tog decreases.
My Slouch Hat pattern calls for k2tog decreases, as well.
In my pattern for Basic Knit Mittens you will use both ssk and k2tog decreases to make the mitten tops. The thumb-less newborn mitten size was shown in this tutorial.
Now that you can decrease, you can make a hat. If you want to work on shorter circular needles, you’ll need to know how to switch knitting methods so you can finish decreasing at the top. The next lesson will show you how to switch from circular needles to double point needles while knitting in the round.