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17 Comments
  • How is it possible I have been doing SSK incorrectly for so long? Now I know why I was making it harder than it needed to be. Thanks Kate. I always learn something new from your articles.

  • So much useful advice in one spot – thanks a million! I’m working on a Stephen West shawl and he has us slip, slip but not return back to left needle but instead just knit those stitches tbl. As the kids say “what’s up with that”? To make matters even more interesting, I’ve been (accidentally) k2tog through the front, lol.

    • If truth be told, it’s actually the same move! Just putting the left needle into the front is quicker, saves a step, but I find when I’m explaining and teaching it, that’s the step that can get a bit weird and/or confusing.

  • Patty Lyons does a very cool SSK without having to slip slip at all!! Insert right needle into first stitch on the left as if to knit, then pivot the right needle and insert it into the back leg of the second stitch on the left needle (as if to purl), then knit them together. Getting the yarn through the 2 stitches is a tad trickier than a straight ktbl, but within a few tries, it’s crazy simple and SO efficient. Thank you once again Patty for your amazing tips! And thank YOU both Ann & Kay – reading your daily emails are one of my favorite morning “rituals.” 😀

    • I too am a complete convert to Patty’s “one move” SSK. I think it is a little neater than the traditional SSK and less obvious, though still not as super tidy as a K2tog.

      • Patty’s trick is clever – it’s the equivalent of slipping the first stitch knitwise and the second purlwise, so it tightens it up a smidge. For many knitters, it looks good and tidy!

  • Sometimes getting back to basics is necessary! Thank you. I love how you have simplified in a organized explanation the different decreases. I am an advanced beginner and these always confuse me …. but not anymore!!!

  • Great article. Thank you, Kate.

  • Oh my, I’ve been knitting since SKP was known as “slip 1, knit 1, psso”.

    For SSK I’ve never seen an instruction to put the slipped stitches back on the left needle – just insert the left needle into the front of the slipped stitches and you will automatically make your stitch TBL. Why the extra step?

    • It’s the same move and same result! When I’m teaching it, I’ve found that the step to put the left needle into the fronts of the stitches can be a little bit confusing/weird for newer knitters, so I make sure it’s explicit with that extra step. But heck yeah, once you have the hang of it, you can skip that step entirely!

  • Thank you for this informative post. While reading it, something kept coming into my mind, but I was not sure exactly how to explain it, or if it applies here. If doing two decreases in a row or round (K2tog on one side and SSK on the other side), the knit 2 together side generally looks neater than the SSK side (such as doing the decreasing row in a sock gusset). Isn’t there something like slipping the first st as if to knit, then the second as if to purl during an SSK to make to make it look neater?

    • There are a couple of tricks to tidy things up, if you find your SSK doesn’t lie as neatly as you like… the first is to try an SKP instead. You can also slip the second stitch purlwise, as that tightens it up. The other thing that I sometimes do is work the stitch that sits above it, in the following row/round, through the back loop. Which answer is right for you depends very much on the tension of your yarn and stitches – try them all!

  • Excellent! I learned so much, and thought the pictures were the best! I finally understand the SSK.
    I think for the first time ever I understand which decrease to use and when!! Thank You!!

  • Thank you for your very clear explanation. The photos help too. Sometimes when I haven’t seen a certain direction in a pattern for awhile, the “how to” flies right out of my head. I am tucking this away for future use.

  • I’m surprised you didn’t do SSK as slip first K-wise, 2nd Purl-wise.

    Oh, just recalled Patty Lyons did do a thing on that here. Maybe link to that for extra credit?

  • Hey Kate – thank you for this article – nothing new for me but super helpful for my husband who is a new knitter – and so saves my time LOL. However I have a big question: why do SSK rather than simply K2tog TBL? To me it looks just the same – I really cannot see any difference.