Exploring Knitting Decreases

It is another snowy spring day in Estes Park.  These are the kind of days that make me want to tuck in and knit.  Add a hot cup of tea and a good audio book to keep me company and I am all set.  This week, I have been working on the Waterrock Vest and it is a delight to knit.

Waterrock Vest

The seeded rib pattern and Icord edging at the neck keeps it interesting.  Since it is a vest, it knits up fast. The pattern has been rated as average difficultly, so if you are looking for a fun pattern with an Icord edging or want to try a garment with a little bit of a pattern, you may enjoy this one.  I know that I will enjoy wearing it.  Knitted with a DK weight yarn, such as Sueno DK or Luma, it will be a great weight for layering.

This is an easy, bottom-up sweater that is knitted in the round with no side seams.  It doesn’t take long to reach the point where the back and front split.  Only then are there decreases for shaping.  After the split, the front and back sections are knitted flat and then joined at the should with a three needle bind off.

Stitches on hold

Since this project is knitted in the round, I am using  Dreamz circular needles.  With these interchangeable needles I can have many needle and cable sizes handy in one neat carrying case.  For this project, I use an extra cable rather than waste yarn to hold my resting stitches (see the picture at the left).  That way, when I am ready to knit them together in a three-needle bind off, all I have to do is to remove the endcaps, screw on my needles, and I am ready to go. 

This pattern calls for decreases along the neck edge on every row. The most commonly used decreases are:

  • K2tog (knit 2 stitches together), right leaning.
  • SSK (slip knit-wise, slip knit-wise, knit), left leaning.
  • SKPO (slip one stitch, knit one stitch and pass the slip stitch over the knitted stitch), left leaning.
  • P2tog (purl 2 stiches together), right leaning
  • SSP (slip knit-wise, slip knit-wise, purl 2 together), left leaning. 

The directions for this pattern require decreases to occur on the right side and the wrong side of the garment.  As you might expect, the pattern calls for K2tog (knit 2 stitches together) and SSK (slip, slip, knit) on the right side of the vest.  On the wrong side of the vest front, the pattern calls for P2tog (purl 2 stiches together) and SSP (slip, slip, purl 2 together).  The P2tog is pretty straight forward, however, I haven’t come across the SSP in a while.  Rather than guess, I decided it was best to check out the directions for the SSP decrease before I started my neckline decreases.  After all, I wanted my decreases to look right — especially along the neckline. 

Like an SSK, two stitches are slipped from the right needle to the left needle knit-wise.  Then, the two stitches are purled together through the back loop.  This may be hard to visualize, if you are new to this type of decrease or, as in my case, just haven’t done it for a while.  Below is a great tutorial by Hands on Knitting Center.  This is one of the best ones that I have seen and explains all five decreases.

I am glad that I checked for the specifics for the SSP.  My instinct was to slip purl-wise and then to purl through the back.  My reward for stopping to review the stitch is a neat looking decrease.  Now that the neckline is complete, I am ready to join the front and back with a three-needle bind off.  Something to talk about next week.