Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Knitting 101 - March YO, K2tog, SSK

The simplest increase in knitting is the YO, or yarn over.  Unless you want your garment to get wider, every time you increase a stitch, you'll want to decrease one to keep your stitch count even.  The decreases are K2tog, or knit two together, or SSK, slip slip knit.  Here's how.

To increase, wrap the yarn over the knitting needle up the backside of the needle and over the top to the front.  Then tuck the yarn under the needle again, completing one full revolution.  Making the wrap this direction means the new "stitch" will be facing the right direction when you need to work it in the next row or round.

To K2tog, you'll literally knit two stitches together.  You'll put your needle into both stitches at the same time as if to knit, wrap the yarn around the needle, and pull it through making one stitch where there were two.  This decrease leans toward the right, making it a Right Leaning Decrease.

Matched Decreases from
What if you want the decrease to lean left?  No problem.  Then you SSK.  Slip one stitch from the holding needle to the working needle as if to knit.  Slip the next stitch from the holding needle to the working needle as if to purl.  Now, slip the working needle into the front of both stitches, and knit.  This creates one stitch where there were two, and the decrease leans to the left.  SSKs make a nice, smooth decrease that perfectly mirrors the K2tog. 

Some people will tell you that K2tog through the back loop (K2tog tbl) is the same as an SSK.  No, it's not.  K2tog tbl results in a smooth stitch over a twisted stitch, which makes a little bump.  SSK is completely smooth.  SSK is only interchangeable with K2tog tbl if you are making matched decreases, like in a sleeve for a sweater or in a piece of lace knitting.
YO increases from

To practice this exercise, cast on 20 stitches, and knit 10 rows of stockinette.  Then, on the second stitch in each knit row, k2tog.  When there are 3 stitches remaining in the knit row, SSK, then knit the last stitch.  After a few rows of this, you'll find your decreases match perfectly and are beautiful!

When you get down to 6 stitches remaining on the swatch, on each knit row, knit 2, YO, then knit to 2 stitches remaining, YO, then knit 2.   Knit in this fashion until you build back up to 20 stitches.  Isn't it beautiful?  Look what you did!  Nice work!  Next post, a pattern using your new skills!