Knitting Blog

How Do You Slip, Slip, Knit (SSK)?

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?

swatch

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

needle

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.”

knitwise

Slip the next stitch knitwise, exactly the same way you did on the previous stitch.

knit

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.

knit stitches

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.

row

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.

Knitting green and gray yarn

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2013 and was updated in March 2018.

11 Comments

Marie T.

Great step by step instructions with pictures to demonstrate proper needle positioning. I found it very helpful.

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Marjorie

Love these pictures – this is the hardest thing I try to do – especially on lace patterns. This is very helpful.

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Lynn

SSK – I was always told you always slip as if to purl unless otherwise noted. Is that principal correct? Is it different in the chevron?
Thank you,
Lynn

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Ashley at The Feisty Redhead

Hi Lynn, in the case of SSK, you slip the stitches as if to knit because it’s a decrease. You are right, though, that if the instructions don’t specify, you are supposed to slip as if to purl. Decreases are the exception to that rule.

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Lynette walker

Thank you very helpful. Nice write up.

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Sue

I’ve used SSK many times before, after a while I forget how. , Thank You so much for the wonderful videos and explanation.

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Annie

Thank you for explaining ssk i thought it was the same as K2togtbl( through back loop)
now i know i have to slip knitwise and at last my knitting looks right

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Karen Shannon

I like to slip the second stitch purlwise. It looks more like the mirror of the k2tog.

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Diane Kindig

How does a left handed person do it.

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Yhenny

As a lefty knitter I have to remember that left leaning is actually k2tog and right leaning is SSK….the stitches are formed the same as your tutorial but the lean is always opposite 🙂
Hope that helps

Reply
Josette

Thank you so much. this was very helpful for a novice knitter.

Reply

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