How Do You Lean Left?

If there is one question I get all the time, it’s “Which left-leaning decrease should I use? I don’t understand the differences!” Some of you might even be surprised to learn that the ssk and the sl-k1-psso do the same thing! In this tutorial, we’re going to take a look at some of the variations for left-leaning knitting decreases and then answer that original question.

SSK – Version One

SSK stands for slip-slip-knit. In this version, you slip the first stitch as if to knit, then slip the second stitch as if to purl. With both of those slipped stitches on your right-hand needle, insert the left-hand needle into the front of them and knit them together.

 

SSK – Version Two

Version two is worked almost the exact same as Version One, but with only one slight change: slip BOTH stitches as if to purl. With both of those slipped stitches on your right-hand needle, insert the left-hand needle into the front of them and knit them together.

 

K2tog tbl

K2tog tbl means knit two stitches together through the back loop (inserting your right-hand needle into the back of the stitches on the left-hand needle), just as you would work a single twisted stitch.

 

S1, k1, psso

S1, k1, psso means slip one, knit one, pass the slipped stitch over. It’s worked like this: slip one stitch as if to purl, then knit the next stitch like normal. Using your left-hand needle, lift the slipped stitch up and over the stitch you just knit, right off the needle.

 

A Few Other Tricks to Try

Some other fabulous knitters out there have experimented, too, and created some unique variations that you might enjoy:

Cat Bordhi’s Slim & Trim SSK

Rililie’s Lk2tog Technique

 

Ok, So What Is the Difference?

As you can see from the swatch above (there are 4 decrease rows for each style, beginning with SSK Version 1, SSK Version 2, K2tog tbl, and S1, K1, Psso). All of these variations came to be because of one simple wish: to have a decrease that perfectly matches the k2tog. They all do the exact same thing: decrease one stitch and lean left. And finding that perfect match is still a quest for many knitters, even today with this many options to choose from. The reason? Because each knitter is unique! Some of us knit tightly, or loosely, or left-handed, or twisted, or backwards. There is no one-perfect-answer because there is no one-perfect-knitter. The biggest joy in knitting is that we get to experiment, find what works for us and our project, and call it a day.

All of these variations came to be because of one simple wish: to have a decrease that perfectly matches the k2tog. They all do the exact same thing: decrease one stitch and lean left. And finding that perfect match is still a quest for many knitters, even today with this many options to choose from. The reason? Because each knitter is unique! Some of us knit tightly, or loosely, or left-handed, or twisted, or backwards. There is no one-perfect-answer because there is no one-perfect-knitter. The biggest joy in knitting is that we get to experiment, find what works for us and our project, and call it a day.

So, when you are faced with a pattern that calls for an ssk (which, for the record, a lot of SweetGeorgia patterns utilize because we like how much tighter it appears)? Swap it out with something that you personally like better. Simply be consistent in your choice throughout the project. The end result will be even more beautiful because you made a choice to use what works best for you!

By Tabetha Hedrick

Tabetha Hedrick, Design Director for SweetGeorgia Yarns, lives by the belief that joy comes when fully participating in the present moment. And that joy is ever so easy to find when immersed in the world of fibre! When not knitting, writing, editing, or researching, she fills the time raising two girls, two dogs, and one husband in Tennessee.

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