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July 20, 2006

Comparing Left Slanting Decreases

Many of you will remember my left slanting decrease woes, followed by my challenge to invent a superior left slanting decrease -- nona thinks it's better to solve a problem then to moan and groan about it.  I then proceeded to trot off on vacation and leave you all hanging.  No longer my friends, today I'm going to reveal my results.  After reading all your creative suggestions and comments, I came up with 7 left slanting decreases I wanted to compare.

Here are the decreases I used:

  1. ssk -- slip 1st stitch knitwise, slip 2nd stitch knitwise, insert the left needle through the front of these two stitches and knit them together.
  2. ssk improved -- slip 1st stitch knitwise, slip 2nd stitch purlwise, insert the left needle through the font of these two stitches and knit them together.  Recommended by Carrie and others.

  3. sl1, k1, psso -- slip 1st stitch knitwise, knit 1 stitch, pass the slipped stitch up and over the knit stitch.  Recommended by Purly Whites.

  4. June's twist on the back -- "On the wrong side row, figure out which 2 stitches are involved in the decrease. Purl those stitches "backwards" - ie, with the left leg in front of the needle and the right leg behind (wrap yarn in the opposite direction around the needle). Essentially, this obviates the need to do the "slip-slip" part of SSK. When you get to it on the front side, all you have to do is knit the 2 st through the back as normal."  -- June.

  5. Dave's evening out the lefties -- "Evening out your lefties is a two-step process. 
    1. Do the SSK as slip 1 as if to knit, slip 1 as if to purl, insert left needle into front of stitches and knit them together.
    2. This is the important part. On the non-decrease rows/rounds, knit the stitch in line with that decrease through the back loop.
    This will smooth out the jag by 'lessening' the decreasing stitch and 'pronouncing' the non-decreaseing stitch."  --  Dave.
  6. Mei's WS ssp -- "Now if you want to get technical, the true perfect match to the K2tog is the SSP. (Slip 2 sts 1 at a time as if to knit, return them to the left needle, then purl them together thru the back loop.) Yes, it must be done on the purl side..." -- Mei

  7. nona's crossed stitch left slanting decrease -- It's a variation on k2tog, but before knitting the 2 stitches together I swapped their positions, keeping the first stitch in front -- so it crosses to the left.  Here's how:
    1. Slip 1st stitch purlwise onto a cable needle and hold in front
    2. Slip next stitch purlwise to the right needle
    3. Slip the stitch on the cable needle back to the left needle
    4. Slip the stitch on the right needle back to the left needle
    5. k2tog
    Several of you have suggested alternative ways to cross the stitches without using a cable needle.  I experimented with these suggestions, but found using the cable needle did make a big difference for me.

The next question is, which is my favorite?  I actually have two favorites; #3 sl1, k1, psso and #7 my crossed stitch left slanting decrease.  Now it's your turn to make a swatch and decide which is your favorite.

Last, but not least, the prizes.  I loved the spirit of all the left slanting decrease commenters and hate picking "winners" -- thank goodness for random number generators.  And the random number generator says Anonyknits is our winner.  Please email me your snail mail address and I'll send your prize out.

July 20, 2006 in Tips and Techniques | Permalink


#3 and #7 look the most even.

Posted by: Christina | Jul 20, 2006 9:50:18 PM

I've been waiting for you to get back from Parree (my favorite big city) and dive into this topic. I have never been satisfied with the sl1, k1, psso variation so I have been doing a sl1 knitwise (2 times) then put both back on the left needle and knit 2 tog through back loops. I think I said that right...anyway, it was still not totally satisfactory. I am going to try your #7 next time.

Posted by: Molly | Jul 20, 2006 10:21:06 PM

Welcome back Nona!

I'm in agreement, I like #3 and #7, with maybe a slight leaning towards #3, and since it doesn't involve a cable needle, I'm going to stick with #3.

Thanks for doing this little experiment, I've always wondered if there might be a better way.

Posted by: Purly Whites | Jul 20, 2006 10:43:54 PM

Thanks for this experiment, I will try methods #3 and #7, looks really even and better than the "old" technique.

Posted by: Iris ine | Jul 20, 2006 11:24:31 PM

I vote for #7, #6, and #3. Awesome work and great research!

Posted by: Isela | Jul 20, 2006 11:58:52 PM

Wow, good for you trying out which one looks best. Since I usually do lace, the decreases don't show up quite so much as in heavier wool, so I usually just do whatever the pattern calls for. When I have done heavier wool, I'm usually not really happy with the way the left slant decrease looks, so I'll have to try some out for myself next time

Posted by: Alison | Jul 21, 2006 5:10:34 AM

I'm going to second Purly's vote, and say that from the picture, #3 and #7 look smoothest, but #3 gets my final vote for it's ease. Thanks for puzzling this out for us. This kind of experimentation is why I read knit blogs.

Posted by: Liz K. | Jul 21, 2006 5:37:32 AM

Ah, Nona! I'm such a dork I can't find your email . . . But no prize for me, please. Knitting-wise, I'm not so much living in the land o' plenty as the land of entirely too much. (Pick again, pick again!)

Posted by: Anonyknits | Jul 21, 2006 6:36:49 AM

Nona, you rock! Thanks for doing all the hard work - it was worth the wait.

Now I'm wondering... Are you going to wash this swatch a few times and see if the differences diminish? I've always believed that uneven stitches, incr/decr, etc balance out over time and wear, but that's only b/c EZ said so!

Posted by: June | Jul 21, 2006 6:40:15 AM

Huh. I like #7, but is it worth the trouble? Maybe in some instances, when the yarn is very defined and there aren't too many of them to do :).

Posted by: grumperina | Jul 21, 2006 6:58:19 AM

i'm going to have to give #7 a try without a cable needle (since i already cable without a cable needle frequently.) i really like the way that it looks!

p.s. i think that what molly above is describing is an SSK after all. she just moves the stitches back to the left needle instead of knitting them on the right.

Posted by: gleek | Jul 21, 2006 7:31:38 AM

Thank you for taking the time to do this and share it! I agree that #3 and #7 look the best and that #3 is probably the easiest to do. I'm glad to know it because I hate how SSK looks.

Posted by: Sonya | Jul 21, 2006 7:40:34 AM

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Just looking at the picture I think that #3 and #7 look the best. I think that #7 looks a little better than #3 does, but I will probably choose to use the #3 method as I won't have to hassle with a cable needle.

Great reseach!

Posted by: Kim | Jul 21, 2006 7:56:14 AM

After looking at your swatch, I liked 3 and 7 also. I think that I'll probably switch to number three which is maybe not quite as nice as 7, but requires a bit less work. Thanks for the great experiement. We can always ocunt on you for great information likle this :)

Posted by: Vicki | Jul 21, 2006 7:56:24 AM

Great! I had read the comments, but seeing the swatch with live examples makes all the difference!

Posted by: --Deb | Jul 21, 2006 8:17:11 AM

Welcome back and thanks! I always used method #3. Then, experimented with others. Now, after your hard work and seeing that swatch, I'll use #3 for socks and such, and I'll use #7, which looks mahvelous, for tops and whatever else I want to look perfect. And Nona, thank you for testing, perfecting and just plain ole researching these "situations" that may plague many of us, but we just never get around to checking out.

Posted by: Anne | Jul 21, 2006 8:43:26 AM

Wow. Method #7 looks perfect. I will need to give that a try... looks like it will be worth the extra effort!

Posted by: Felicia from sweetgeorgia | Jul 21, 2006 10:20:52 AM

Thanks for doing this and posting this!

Posted by: monica | Jul 21, 2006 2:14:16 PM

Thankyou so much for doing this. It is a great resource. You are a knitting goddess.

Posted by: donna | Jul 21, 2006 4:51:17 PM

Wow, I think your decrease is brilliant -- I must try it. Thanks for sharing your investigations. I'm also amazed at how good #3 looks. I had always thought that passing the slipped stitch over loosened up it up more than doing a ssk. Most of the time I'll do #6 if possible. I will have to experiment and see what looks and works best for me.

Posted by: Laura | Jul 21, 2006 9:05:35 PM

I've been using your decrease for a sweater I'm working on and I like it, but just for fun I've been throwing in some of the others to try it out. Since the sweater's in garter stitch it's mostly a test of how much I like the execution rather than how it looks. I do like yours a bit more than ssk in this case. Thanks so much Nona, I love technical discussions like these!

Posted by: Rodger | Jul 21, 2006 9:53:43 PM

this is fantastic! thanks, I have been trying different things myself lately. I like your sample piece.

Posted by: hPNY knits | Jul 22, 2006 10:11:05 AM

I'm not techie enough, knit wise, to offer anything good here, except when I gazed upon the decreases, it almost seemed that the level of "cleanless" of each technique was placed consecutivly. I came away thinking #7 looked the cleanest... Now off to look again at the others with a more discerning eye!

Posted by: Aura | Jul 24, 2006 6:37:36 AM

I like #3, which is the way I learned the left leaning decrease 'back in the day'. I switched to the SSK when I started knitting socks, thinking it was more modern and therefore must be better. Now I'm going back to my old SKPSSO! Thanks for doing the comparisons.

Posted by: tatt3r | Jul 24, 2006 6:50:47 AM

Nona.......you must get yourself to Michael's asap where the sugarncream yarn is on sale for $1 a ball!!!! Just in time for my MDK fetish.....will share tomorrow!

Posted by: esther | Jul 24, 2006 9:03:12 AM

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