It is good that there is a variety of ways to make left-slanting and right-slanting decreases. But what if we want to decrease one stitch without forming a slant? What if we want a single decrease to be centred? That’s what this tutorial is all about.
Centred single decreases are very helpful when we shape a crown of a hat, a shawl or when we add shaping to the center of a project, like making darts in a fitted sweater.
There are two ways to make these decreases. The first way works best for one off decreases like forming frills on skirts or puffy sleeves. The other way is helpful in cases when we want to create a more or less centred line of decreases.
Let’s take a look at both these ways.
If you prefer to learn from a video tutorial, click here, or watch an embedded version of the video.
This is method demonstrated in a video by Purl Soho. I don’t know who is the inventor of this approach to centering a decrease, but I think it is quite an ingenious solution to this problem.
This decrease does not form a line. Rather, it looks like a peak of a mountain with a decreased stitch hidden underneath.
To make this decrease, work to a spot that is one stitch before the stitch that you plan to decrease.
Make a classic “slip-slip-knit” (SSK) decrease.
1.1. First, insert the tip of the right needle from left to right into the first stitch on the left needle.
1.2. Ease the left needle out of the stitch leaving the stitch on the right needle.
1.3. Repeat steps 1.1 and 1.2 to slip one more stitch from the left needle to the right needle.
1.4. Insert the left needle from left to right into both slipped stitches so that the right needle is at the back of the left needle.
1.5. Wrap the tip of the right needle with the working yarn and pull the wrap through to knit these two stitches together through the back loop.
Now, we’ll make another decrease – a “knit 2 together”. Because we don’t want to decrease another stitch, we’ll pair one of the stitches that we’ve just knitted with the first stitch on the left needle.
Here’s how we do it:
2.1. Bring the working yarn to the right to keep it out of the way. Then insert the tip of the left needle from front to back into the second stitch that we’ve used to make an SSK decrease in the previous step.
If you want to make this decrease less visible, insert the tip of the left needle into the stitch from back to front. This way, we’ll twist the picked-up stitch making the “peak of a mountain” less prominent.
2.2. Insert the tip of the right needle from left to right into the first two stitches on the left needle.
2.3. Wrap the right needle with the yarn and pull the wrap through to make a classic “knit 2 together” decrease.
After you work a few more rows, you will see that the decrease shows like a little peak of a mountain on the surface of your project. These decreases look quite nice when they are scattered on the fabric.
But they don’t look great when they are stacked on top of each other.
If you want your centred single decreases to form a more or less straight line, use the second approach.
This way is very simple – we’ll also make an SSK + “knit 2 together” decreases, but we won’t combine them around the same stitch. Instead, we’ll alternate them each time we need to make a decrease.
Work to a stitch that will build the line of decreases.
Then make an SSK decrease as explained in steps 1.1 – 1.5.
Finish the row as instructed in the pattern that you follow. Because my swatch is worked in stockinette stitch, I simply knitted all stitches.
In the next decreasing row (in my swatch, it is the next knit row), work to a spot that is one stitch before the stitch that will build the line of decreases.
Then knit two stitches together as explained in steps 2.2 and 2.3.
Work all stitches to the end of the row according to the pattern that you follow.
Repeat steps 1a and 2a to form a line of single decreases.
This line is not perfectly straight but it doesn’t have a visible slant. When you block your project, pull the stitches that form the line of decreases to make it more centred.
The decreases will look even better if you make them in every round of a seamless project. If the pattern tells you to make centred single decreases in every row of a project worked back and forth, it will be better to substitute these decreases with a centred double decrease worked in every other row.
If you enjoyed this tutorial,
here’s something else you might find helpful:
“Neat Side Edges” Book
Learn twelve ways to make side edges of a knitted project nice and tidy. Plus, ways to fix side edges, and a way to improve edges of finished projects.
Dealing with Unfinished Projects
Dictionary of Knitting Symbols and Abbreviations – E-Book
Eastern (Russian) Knitting Simplified
How to Shape Neckline Without Binding Off Stitches – E-Book