Five Ways to Knit an SSK-like Decrease

Technically, there is only one way to make an SSK – a decrease that makes the stitches slant to the left. But there are 4 more ways to make a decrease that does the same. Let’s take a look at all of them and decide which one is easier to knit and which one has a better look.

One small note before we get started – purl all stitches in every wrong side row when making these decreases.

#1. SSK

Let’s start with the most popular one – a true SSK. This abbreviation means “Slip, Slip, Knit”, and that’s exactly what we are going to do to make this decrease.

1. Slip one stitch knitwise (insert the right needle into the stitch from left to right as if to knit).

2. Slip the next stitch knitwise.

3. Return both slipped stitches to the left needle (insert the left needle into the stitches from left to right).

4. Knit these 2 stitches through the back loop (insert the right needle into two stitches from right to left, wrap the needle with the yarn, and pull it through both stitches).

Here’s a photo of a swatch made with this kind of decrease. It looks fine, but the line of decreased stitches is not even, and every other stitch in the line of decreases is slightly bigger and a bit sloppy.

#2. ALMOST SSK

This decrease is very similar to the “true SSK”, but a bit easier to knit with a more improved look. I learned it from one of the old knitting books I have. Apparently, this way is considered to be classic, but I never used it until I started working on this article. Live and learn 🙂

Here’s how to make this decrease:

1. Slip one stitch knitwise.

2. Return it back to the left needle.

3. Knit this stitch and the next stitch together through the back loop.

See, there are just 3 steps to decrease stitches this way, and that makes it easier to make than the previous decrease. Besides, the line of stitches created by this decrease is straighter, and stitches are more uniform in size.

#3. KNIT 2 STITCHES TOGETHER THROUGH THE BACK LOOP

This decrease is the easiest from them all – just one step to do, and that step is:

1. Knit 2 stitches together through the back loop.

Easy as pie. The line of stitches formed by this decrease is not straight at all, but on the other hand, it looks quite nice if used for decorating your knitted creation.

Frankly, this is the decrease I’ve been using when I just started knitting. I was a bit shy of the crooked look of it, but I didn’t know at that time that there were other “straighter-looking” ways to do the same decrease. I’m glad I do now 🙂

#4. SKPO

That’s quite an intimidating name for a decrease – SKPO! It’s not the easiest one either, so brace yourself.

Joking aside, this decrease IS more complicated than the previous 3 decreases, but not by much. And the intimidating name is just an abbreviation that stands for “Slip, Knit, Pass the slipped stitch Over”.

To make this decrease, you will need to perform 3 steps:

1. Slip one stitch knitwise.

2. Knit the next stitch.

3. Insert the left needle into the slipped stitch, and pass it over the knit stitch and off the right needle.

The “passing over” part is usually a bit challenging because you need to make sure you don’t slip the knit stitch off the right needle while trying to pass the slipped stitch over it. That means you need to be careful, and do this step slowly.

The extra effort is well worth it because the line of stitches created by this decrease is straight and even.

#5. SPPO

Another fancy name for a quite lovely decrease. This one is very similar to the previous decrease, but instead of knitting a stitch in step 2, we’ll be purling it. That’s why we get a “P” instead of a “K” in this abbreviation.

Here’s what you need to do to make this decrease:

1. Slip one stitch knitwise.

2. Purl the next stitch.

3. Insert the left needle into the slipped stitch, and pass it over the knit stitch and off the right needle.

The line of stitches created by this decrease is not straight, but it looks lovely. It will look great as a decoration (just like decrease #3), especially on something delicate, like a baby jacket.

So here are they are, the 5 ways to make a left-slanting decrease. Which of them is the best? Of course, it depends on your needs. If you want to use a decorative decrease, choose decrease #5. If you are looking for the easiest one, it will be the decrease #3. For the neatest look, choose decrease #4.

To me, the best one is #2 – it is quite easy and has a nice neat look. Too bad I didn’t know about this decrease sooner 🙂

I made a video that shows how to make all 5 decreases. Click right here to watch it.


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The best way to knit an SSK-like decrease | 10 rows a day
5 ways to knit an SSK-like decrease | 10 rows a day