A while ago I was dithering about what abbreviation to use for the double decrease that’s a mirror of slip 1, k2tog, pass slipped stitch over. It’s not a commonly-used stitch; I suspect because it’s fiddly. I have my fussy moments when it comes to symmetry.
I’ve been writing a lot about how to keep track of where to place a line of double increases. The flip side of the problem is keeping track of double decreases, which is to say, three stitches worked together together to make one stitch.
Without a certain amount of care, the location for a given stitch marker will be eaten up by the decreases. Alternately, a locking stitch marker can be placed in the base of a decrease. Another way to cope is to read your knitting and see where to place the next decrease. This blog post will discuss all three methods.
A while ago I was trying to improvise knitted netting, and was only half successful. (I’m still quite happy about even that level of success.) I’d been thinking for a while of trying out the decreases I’d improvised there for use in regular knitting, and this week’s post is about the resulting swatch.
I am reluctant to call this effort a failure even though I won’t be using these decreases for plain knitting: too many people think failure is bad and a waste of time. But I don’t think this experiment was a waste of my time: I’ve learned that the decreases won’t work for this purpose, I know why, and now I won’t waste any more time wondering about it. I learn from failure. Mistakes are a good thing, especially when it’s just a swatch experiment.
The nifty thing about these decreases is that they sit horizontally because a stitch or stitches from the previous row is passed over a single stitch before that stitch is worked. This is what makes the decreases sit flat in a way that works quite well for the netting.
The other thing that’s good about them for netting is that some of the yarn in the stitch that is passed over slides into the stitch that’s worked. This is how the open spaces end up so square – the stitches between spaces get taller. The problem is that it makes the stitch worked at the decrease point in regular knitting loose and floppy – not even as tidy as a slipped stitch.
I hope to inspire people to be more willing to swatch, experiment, and be willing to make mistakes. Have fun!
A bit over a year ago, I posted a way of making a lace chevron with completely symmetrical decreases, followed shortly thereafter by an improvement based on a reader suggestion.
Apparently I was still unsatisfied, however, because last week a thought popped into my brain: yes, use the three-to-two single decrease to compensate for the single yarn over at the bottom of the chevron, but not on the same row as the yarn over.
And it was good.
If you knit loosely, you only need to read this post if you might help someone out who knits tightly or if you want a hint for making knitting through the back loop easier. If you’re a tight knitter like me, you might have worked this out already. In any case, it seemed worth mentioning.
Tight stitches are usually fine to knit individually, but as soon as a “knit 2 together”, or worse, a “knit 3 together” comes along, it can be hard to get the needle to go in all the way. Decreases which involve slipping and passing slipped stitches over are not so hard because the yarn gets loosened up, but k2tog can be a struggle.
Well, somewhere along the line, I picked up a trick that helps me. (I’ve also loosened up a little over time, but still need this trick occasionally.)
Leaving it inserted in the stitch, slide the needle up over the top of the inactive needle and around to the back as if to knit through the back loop. (Stopping here is a trick that makes knitting through the back loop easier.)
Flick the active needle forward and under the inactive needle as if to purl two together, and then stop moving it. (Unless knitting three together, in which case slide it around the needle one more time, ending as if to purl three together.)
Press index finger against the back of the stitches to be knit together—this will make the stitches stay loose for the rest of the decrease.
Remove the active needle from the stitches, bring it around to the front, and knit 2 (or 3) together.
If knitting 4 together (it comes up occasionally), there’s a slightly more tedious method that is nonetheless better than struggling with trying to force the needle through:
Knit the first stitch, slip it back to the inactive needle, pass each of the next 3 unworked stitches over it, and then slip it to the active needle again.
Here, at last, is the unusual double decrease I unvented for a shawl that I’m in the midst of writing up. The shawl is called Eno River, and so I called this the Eno Twist, because the abbreviation got a little unwieldy otherwise: SSTSKPSSOYO2K3tog? Yeah, I don’t think so.
This is not a usual sort of double decrease. A normal double decrease takes three stitches and turns them into one. This one takes six stitches and turns them into four. Only two stitches are decreased, though perhaps I shouldn’t really call it a double decrease.
You won’t see this decrease in its original habitat until the Eno River shawl pattern is available, but it looks pretty nifty in a column as shown above, so maybe you’ll want to play around with it and use it for your own devices. Raglan decreases, maybe? Go for it!
Or any other knitters whose stitches often sit like this on the needle:
All the stitches here assume three stitches sitting on your needle like this:
I’m going to put them in the same order as my previous post, but with different names. Be wary! If you’re looking at a pattern you got from someone else, you need to pay attention to the definitions used. Charts will be easiest to figure out, since you’ll see which way things are supposed to lean.
A double decrease is a technique used in knitting to knit three stitches together to make one; two stitches are decreased. There are six possible permutations of the three stitches involved; I’m only going to describe five, as the sixth is indistinguishable from its mirrored stitch.
All the stitches shown here assume a starting point of three stitches like this: