Great looking SSK’s are possible! With just a few small tips you can be on your way to making these stitches look better. Many people struggle with having both their left-leaning and right-leaning decreases looking the same, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Both of these tips are easy to do and can make a big difference!
Why Does It Happen?
If you think a bit about the mechanics of the two decreases you’ll start to realize the difference.
When you work a K2TOG, you do it as one step – you knit the two stitches together as they’re already placed on the needle.
No need to change their orientation.
But with a SSK, the first thing you need to do it change the orientation of the stitches so the decrease will end up looking “right”. This extra step can loosen the stitch and alter its shape.
Take a look at the K2TOG and SSK in the same swatch. You can really see the difference.
But no worries – we have two ways you can improve their look!
Slip the first stitch as if to knit (just like a regular SSK). I suggest NOT manipulating it more than you need to (no tugging or altering it in any way – just gingerly slip it as if to knit).
Now (and this is the different part) – just slip that stitch back on the left-hand needle. I actually do these 2 steps at once – change the orientation and place it back on the left needle.
You don’t slip the second stitch (the SSK in a regular SSK). Here’s another pic.
Finally, knit the 2 stitches on your left-hand needle by inserting your needle from right to left (this step is the same as the final step in a regular SSK).
This method works because you’re manipulating the stitches less. You’re only reorienting the first stitch. The stitch that’s behind it, you’re leaving it alone.
Here’s what this looks like again after a few rows:
This one requires you to do something on the row/round after the SSK.
If you’re knitting flat, you’ll be on the WS. Just do this:
Work to the SSK
ptbl that stitch – it’s the SSK you made on the previous row. I know it because of the stitch marker (read below), and continue working the rest of the row.
To make things easier, I put a stitch marker before the SSK when I’m working a RS row. It’s almost impossible to know when I’m coming up to a SSK until after I’ve already purled it. Sure, I could tink back that stitch but then it breaks our cardinal rule – DO NOT UNNECESSARILY MANIPULATE THE STITCH.
If you’re knitting in the round, you’re always on the RS. IMO, this one is easier because I’m not a fan of working ptbl’s. YMMV though.
Just work to the SSK and ktbl that stitch (the SSK you made on the previous rnd), and continue working the rest of the row.
I will say that the look of the decreases is dramatically improved but still not quite as tidy as the K2TOG’s. But much better than my first swatch.
Give It a Try
Both of these methods are simple and can really improve the look of your work!
And you know what else can, right? A good blocking. You’ll need to wet your work for this to really do the trick with a natural fiber (steaming might work too ), but it can make things look even better.
Use It In This Pattern
SSK’s are one of the stars of the eyelets in our Center Street Pullover. Give these methods a try and see what you think!
Craft Smarter In the New Year
This post is part of our Craft Smarter in the New Year series! Don’t miss any of our posts!
- Centered Double Decrease (knit)
- Improved SSK’s (knit)
- Stacked Increases and Decreases (knit)
- Post Stitches (crochet)
- Weaving in Ends (crochet)
- Jogless Stripes (crochet)
- Fix-a-Stitch Review (knit)
- Bias Bindoff (knit)
- One-Row Buttonhole (knit)