Knit Decreases - How to Decrease Knitting

Knit decreases is a knitting technique to remove stitches along your row of knitting.

Basically it's a way to turn two stitches into one stitch and it's very easy to do.

Decreases narrow and shape fabric such as when you need to decrease stitches at the crown of a hat for instance.

Or when you're knitting a sleeve for a sweater and need to narrow the sleeve by knitting decreases.

There are many different ways to knit decreases but for today in this knitting lesson I'm going to show you three. 

  • First I'm going to show you how to knit two together called a K2tog 
  • Next up is a purl two together called a P2tog
  • And last but not least is the slip, slip, knit decrease called an SSK

Wondering how to decrease right in knitting?

The knit two together decrease leans to the right so you'll knit a K2tog.

And if you're on the purl side of your work you can purl two together so you'll P2tog. This purl decrease leans to the right too.

Wondering how to decrease left in knitting?

The slip, slip, knit decrease leans to the left so you will knit an SSK.

The main difference between a K2tog and an SSK is that they lean in different directions. They compliment each other.

You can knit decreases anywhere along your row of stitches. You'll see it often in lace knitting patterns. 

And then sometimes they're used at the beginning and end of a row. It depends what you're knitting.

Can you decrease every row?

Yes you can. It all depends on what you're knitting.  

A lot of times you'll make decreases on one row and knit one row plain without any decreases. That's also pretty common.

And sometimes you'll start decreasing stitches on every other row and then switch to decreasing on every row.

 It really depends on what you're knitting.

Let's get started learning how to decrease knitting.

Knit Decreases - How To Knit Two Together (K2tog)

Please note that the pictures are on top with the instructions just below it. And after each set of picture knitting lessons you'll find a knitting video in both the English and Continental style knitting  

Knit decreases

Make sure your yarn is at the back of your work. 

Holding needle with all the stitches in your left hand, take right needle and insert it through first two stitches from front to back. 

How To Decrease Knitting
Knit decreases

Wrap the working yarn (ball end) around your right needle counter clockwise and snug it up.

Knitting decreases

Slowly bring your right needle with the yarn still wrapped around it through the two stitches on your left needle.

Knit decreases
How to decrease in knitting

You can drop the two stitches on your left needle. They have just been worked. The new stitch is on your right needle.

Knitting decreases

And there you go! That was pretty easy right? This is called knit two together (K2tog)

Knit Two Together (K2Tog)
Knitting Video English Style

Knit Two Together (K2Tog) Video Continental Style

Knit Decreases Purlwise - How to Purl Two Together (P2tog)

Knit decreases

Because you're going to purl stitches make sure your yarn is in the front of your work.

knit decreases

With right needle insert it through the first two stitches on your left needle from back to front. 

Knit decreases
Knit decreases

Wrap working yarn around your right needle counter clockwise and snug it up a little.

Knit decreases
Knit decreases

With right needle and yarn wrapped around it slowly bring it through the two stitches on your left needle.

Knit decreases
Knit decreases

You can slip the two stitches off the left needle, they are worked. New purl stitch is on your right needle.

Knit decreases

There it is! This is called purl two together (P2tog) and you did it!

How to Purl Two Together (P2Tog)
Knitting Video - English Method

How to Purl Two Together (P2Tog)
Knitting Video - Continental Style

How to Knit the Slip Slip Knit Decrease (SSK)

Knit decreases

With yarn at the back of your work, insert right knitting needle into first stitch on left needle like you're going to knit it. (knitwise).

Knit decreases
Knit decreases

Then without knitting the stitch slip it right over to right needle. Repeat the same process with the next stitch on your left needle. 

Knit decreases

You want to have two stitches (unknit) on your right needle just like the photo above.

Knit Decreases

With both stitches on right needle insert your left needle into those two stitches.

Knit decreases
Knit decreases

Now all you are going to do is knit those two stitches together. 

With working yarn (ball end) wrap yarn around right needle counterclockwise and bring it between both needles as in the photo. Snug it up a little bit.

Knit decreases

Knit the stitch by bringing left needle up and over your right needle as you draw your right needle through the two stitches. 

It's so much easier to do than it is to explain it

Knit decreases
Knit decreases

If you look closely at the first photo here you can see how I brought the right needle through the two stitches. 

Once you're done you let the two slipped stitches drop off the left needle. 

Just in case you aren't sure yet, here is a really quick and thorough knitting video to help you out.

Slip Slip Knit Decrease (SSK),
Knitting Video - English Method

Slip Slip Knit Decrease (SSK),
Knitting Video - Continental Method

How To Knit Decreases Evenly Across Row

Often times in knitting patterns you will come to a part of the pattern where they tell you to knit decreases evenly across your row.  

You could figure it out in your head of course but I came across a wonderful website where the calculations can be done for you. 

And honestly, I do love keeping it simple.

Head over to this page called World Knits. Enter in a few numbers and you'll know exactly when to knit decreases.

You'll also find a knitting calculator for increasing stitches evenly across a row too. 

Now that's simple!  I love it.

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