Fearless Knitting: Digging Into Decreases

There's more to decreases than you think!  In a nutshell, they are two or more stitches worked together as if they were one; they can be hardly noticeable or quite apparent, depending on their use. For our purposes we’re going to focus on single decreases.Luna-Viridis-Cowl-RTPDecreases pop up in our knitting in all sorts of ways from garment shaping to decorative elements. By their very nature they lean either left or right. Designers take advantage of this when creating their patterns.  We benefit from their knowledge of how to create the effect they want and can relax and knit the pattern as it's written.Yet let’s dig a little deeper and add to our knowledge of what goes into decreases. That way we will better understand the patterns we knit…………..The stitch that faces you on the outside of the fabric, referred to as the ‘facing stitch,’ is the one that will slant either  left or right. The second stitch, the ‘backing stitch’, is out of sight. You will notice that the column of stitches with the facing stitch continues to build while the column with the backing stitch stops on that row. It’s fun to take a close look at your knitting and see this!20160722_090751When decreases lean with the fabric, they blend in. When they lean against the fabric, they stand out to add decoration or texture.Two similar methods, leaning in opposite directions, make a pair and are used for symmetrical shaping. Shawls with a center back spine are good examples.When paired with increases, they create beautiful lace and eyelet patterns which can be used with any weight of yarn.Magrathea-&-Alpine-Water-Shawls-detail-2-RTPThe most common decrease is a right slanting one, the Knit 2 Together (k2tog), because it’s easy to make and has fewer steps than a left leaning one. The left leaning decrease that is paired with the k2tog is the Slip, Slip, Knit (ssk).There are also decreases that use a slipped stitch that is passed over a knit stitch and off the needle. These are more obvious and are often used as a decorative element. They are the Slip 1, Knit 1, Pass Slipped Stitch Over (skpsso or skp) which leans to the left and it’s mirrored right leaning decrease which is worked in the following way: knit 1, slip that stitch back to left needle, pass the 2nd stitch on left needle over the knit stitch and off the needle, slip the knit stitch purlwise back to the right needle. That one is not used very often but it's fun to do!yamaya-shawl---love-this-one!--RTPDecreases are used not only for shaping but also in a myriad other ways including horizontal gathers, ruching, vertical darts, mitered corners, bias knitting, chevrons, lace, and eyelets. It's good to be comfortable with them!To see examples of decreases and learn exactly how to make them, come to our Fearless Knitting technique demonstration from 11am until noon Thursdays July 28 and Aug 4 or Saturdays July 30 and Aug 6! As always, Jenny will offer knitting help those days from noon until 1 pm. No sign up is needed!If there’s a centered, double or triple decrease that you’d like to learn, come to our knitting help time from noon until 1pm any Thursday or Saturday and Jenny will be glad to help you!