Unless you’re going to knit blankets and scarves for the rest of your life, you have to add increasing and decreasing to your knitting skills. One crucial type of decrease you’ll need to learn to knit is the ssk or slip, slip, knit.
What is an ssk in knitting?
The slip, slip, knit (abbreviated ssk) is a left-leaning decrease that reduces two stitches to one.
Ssk is the left-leaning complement to the right-leaning knit two together. Knowing both types of decreases comes in handy, especially when you’re knitting something like a sweater that needs to have equal decreases on both sides. (You are definitely on your way to sweater-knitting territory after this!)
Don’t worry about determining when the decrease should slant to the left and when it should slant to the right — unless you’re designing your own pattern. If you’re following a knitting pattern, the pattern will tell you when to ssk, k2tog and make any other adjustments.
How to slip, slip, knit (SSK)
Start with a stockinette swatch
If you’re following along with my swatch, this is the pattern I followed:
Cast on 15 sts.
Row 1: Knit.
Row 2 and all even-numbered rows: Purl.
Row 3 and all remaining odd-numbered rows: K1, ssk, k across the row.
Making the ssk
Put your right-hand needle into the next stitch, just as you would if you were going to knit it. Then slide that stitch right over to the right-hand needle — no wrapping or actual stitching involved. This is also what you’d do if your pattern told you to “slip a stitch knitwise.”
Slip the next stitch knitwise, exactly the same way you did on the previous stitch.
And now you should have three stitches on your right needle: the first one you knit (if you’re following along with the swatch), one slipped stitch knitwise, and another slipped stitch knitwise.
Next, knit the two stitches that you slipped to the right hand needle to make the decrease. Here’s how: Take your left needle and put it through the front of the two stitches you just slipped. The left needle will be in front of the right needle.
Wrap the yarn around the right needle and make a knit stitch, knitting those two stitches together. Then drop the two stitches from the needle.
If you can’t quite get the hang of this motion, you can also slip both stitches back to the left needle, making sure not to twist them. Then, knit the two together through the back loop.
Continue practicing on the swatch, purling on the wrong side and making the ssk on the edge of each right side row. Eventually, your swatch will start to look like a right-angled triangle.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2013 and was updated in March 2018.