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Thursday, July 7, 2005

how do YOU SSK?

If you are like me, not very well.
No matter what I do, my Slip-slip-knits (left leaning decreases)

Relatively speaking, of course. (Not 100% crap but they truly need improvement!) I want them to look just as lovely as my Knit2Togethers!


The First Way I learned a left leaning decrease was to slip the first stitch in the pair knitwise (needle tip through left side of stitch), knit the second stitch, then pass that first stitch back over the knit stitch.

For me, it left a sloppy big loop on top of the pair of stitches that were knit together.

SO I went on to this way of doing the left-leaner – a SSK, or slip, slip knit…

HIGH HOPES people!!!

But I’m experiencing almost the SAME THING! I am plagued by SLoppy L@@p!

A friend suggested that instead of slipping both stitches knitwise, I slip the first stitch knitwise (needle tip through left side of stitch), the second stitch purlwise (needle tip through right side, or front, of stitch) and then knit them together.

When I do this, the top loop IS smaller but now I have a little ridge on the bottom loop sticking out because it is a twisted stitch.

I am becoming obsessed with this – everytime I see the abbreviation SSK I see the word SUCK! Anyone want to enable/enlighten me??? :)

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< blinkiekip72.gif

Chicago Weather: “Highs: Mid 70s lakeshore,
low 80s inland

Purrrrrrrr-fect sip’n’knit weather…

Letizia’s 2144 W Division 7-9pm

30 responses to “Thursday, July 7, 2005”

  1. diane says:

    Sounds like what you were doing was slip, knit, pass slipped stitch over (SKPO?). The way I learned SSK was slip each of the two stitches individually knit wise, then stick your left needle thru the front of both the slipped stitches on the right needle and knit them together.

    Looking at a sock that has SSK on one side and K2Tog on the other of the toe decrease I occasionally get the little bit larger left leaning decrease, but for the most part they look identical.

  2. Charlene says:

    I think it’s the nature of the beast. When you do a k2tog, you have the stitch to the left still on the needle, putting tension on the top stitch, so that it can’t stretch out. When you do a ssk, the stitch that should support the top stitch – the one to its right – has already been knitted, and will gladly give of itself to contibute to that top stitch, which then stretches out. Look at the stitch immediately to the right of the ssk: it is TINY. If you loosen it up, the ssk should tighten up.

  3. Bonne Marie says:

    I did notice when I was working with wool, the problem was not as noticeable – re. socks… I DO use the slip, slip, knit through the front technique and have the same sloppy loop problem… (I abandoned the slip one PSSO early on…)

    I like the idea of pulling those tiny stitches to be even – but WHEW! when you’re doing a big piece is that a PITA or what?

  4. Leslie says:

    I’m just the opposite. I want my K2TOG’s to look as big, chunky and defined as my SSK’s. I like ’em as a design element.

  5. Bonne Marie says:

    AHA! If you want your *K2TOG’s* to look chunky, do them on the WRONG side of the work as a P2TOG.

    They turn out big for me that way :)

    I actually tried this as a cure – if I do my SSKs on the wrong side as SSPs, then they are smaller. BUT my P2TOG are BIG!

    Paired decreases are then as unbalanced as if I did them on the knit facing side…

  6. Wendy says:

    Hmmm…now you have me thinking. I don’t have time to try this out right now, but WHAT IF you did left decreases on the purl side and simply purled 2 together? Does anyone know if that works?

  7. Deb says:

    I think Charlene’s on to something–I’d never thought about the “active” stitch/tension thing. What if you knit the first stitch, slip the next one to the right needle, and then pass the first (knitted) stitch over the slipped (unknitted) one? I don’t have yarn or needles anywhere nearby, but . . . it sounds feasible! (I’d love to know if it works, too!)

  8. Jessie says:

    I have the same problem with rude SSKs and share your obsession. If you find a solution, please share it!

  9. Melanie says:

    What a relevant post! My SSK’s always look wonky and it drives me insane! I’ve started slipping the stitches as though to PURL, and then knitting through the front. It helps a little, but not much!

  10. Amy Lu says:

    I took Lily Chin’s tips and tricks class, and what she shared is that the ssk sts are looser because they are manipulated more. Her solution is to pay attention to which sts are going to be involved in the ssk, and in the row before, knit that st or both (depending if you are following the book or your friends method) through the back of the loop so that when you get to them in the decrease row, there is no slipping, just k2tog tbl. Less manipulation means tighter stitches. Maybe that will help?

  11. Trudy says:

    I have the same problem. I think the k2tog works with the twist in the yarn and the SSK (my favorite method) works against it and loosens it. Solution? I tighten the loose stitch a bit if it’s convenient, otherwise figure it will be lost in the overall effect of the finished product. :~)

  12. Charlotte says:

    I was taught to slip both stitches as if to knit. Then insert left needle in the front of the two slipped stitches and knit them together. Makes a nice neat decrease for me.

  13. Catherine says:

    I just do a p2tog on the wrong side. It seems to work most of the time (I definitely notice it less than a SSK!)

  14. rachelkates says:

    Maybe about 10 yrs ago I read a magazine article by a woman who was given access to some of the really old knitwear in museums, while she was researching and reconstructing patterns. Can’t remember her name. Maybe Nancy Bush or Lizbeth Upitis.

    What I do remember is that at first she marvelled at how perfect & smooth the old knitted pieces were, & wondered why modern knitters didn’t have such skills. Then it dawned on her that the stitch tension had evened out with wear & time.

    So I try to smooth out a wonky stitch by sending its excess yarn to its neighbors, then just leave it be, figuring magic will happen later.

  15. Becky says:

    Man, I sympathize. I have the same problem, and no matter how I do it: ssk, s1, k1, p1, dance on my head, etc. it still looks like crap. I end up fiddling with the stitches so that they look more like k2 togs.

  16. karen says:

    I have had exactly this problem and agree that slipping the 2nd stitch purlwise helps. Another thing that seems to help is knitting the decrease with the very tip of the needle to avoid too much manipulation and stretching. I wonder if knitting the decrease with a smaller size needle would work?

  17. tari says:

    I have never been able to understand the purpose of the SSK. Why not knit two together through the back loop instead? That’s what I do for raglan decreases and I think it looks just fine.

  18. Mary says:

    My SSK’s come out just fine. Maybe you’re trying to have the active needle in the wrong place? After you slip the individual stitches knitwise & have the two stitches on the right, you then slip the left needle thru the front of the two stitches (or on top of the right needle). What happens then is that your active right needle will be underneath, and you then knit the two stitches off that way, which looks like you’re knitting thru the back loops. Perhaps you’ve been trying to get the right-hand needle to go in thru the top as usual? I’ve been doing my SSK’s this way and they come out perfectly mirror-imaged.

  19. J Strizzy says:

    I have exactly the same problem. I’ve switched to slipping the first st knitwise and the second purlwise, which helps a little but doesn’t solve it entirely. I have noticed, however, that once I’ve gone a few rows past the dec, it doesn’t look quite as bad or as noticeable. I think with time and gravity things even out a bit.

  20. Stella says:

    Yup, me too. I don’t know how to fix it either, but I just figure it adds to the charm of a handknitted piece. Thanks for all the suggestions and for bringing it up – I thought I was the only one!

  21. Stephanie VW says:

    ummm… I think I slip knitwise, and by putting the left needle through the stitches to the front of the right, I knit through the back loop. Just like Mary said.

  22. Mary Collins says:

    I have yet to figure out how to do that neatly either. However, the Content Protect software that we have installed to keep our kids from going places they shouldn’t, sent up a red flag warning that there was pornography on your blog! Apparently they think your SSKs are rude as well!

  23. Bonne Marie says:

    Darn this cyberknitting thing – wish I was sitting around with you all so you could see how I was holding my needles, etc…

    I’m thinkin’ I could be CURED!

  24. Marlena says:

    I am in the same boat. It’s weird, though. In my first ChicKami, my SSKs look beautiful. I thought I had them totally down. But in my second ChicKami and all subsequent SSK experiences, my work has looked sloppy. It drives me crazy because I know it SHOULD look perfect! I don’t know what I did right that one time….

  25. Kristy says:

    I have been reading Sharon Miller’s Heirloom Knitting book in anticipation of knitting a couple of her lace designs. She instructs to do a left slanting decrease (or ssk) as knit 2 together through the back loops. I have been trying this on my knitting, and it is much prettier. Still, my right slanting knit 2 togethers look even better. Wish I knew an exact cure for this problem.

  26. Paula says:

    From Anna Zilboorg’s Knitting for Anarchists, a fix that’s worked for me: Slip 1st stitch knitwise onto right needle, slip it back onto the left needle with the stitch leg in back, knit into the back of the 2 sts on the left needle. Has greatly evened out my ssk’s (if you can call it that, since the 2nd st is never slipped)

  27. Gwen says:

    I used to have this problem, but never do anymore. I think what I’ve changed is that when I slip the stitches, I keep them very close to the tip of the right needle, and then insert only the tip of the left needle into them to knit them, so the stitches are all tighter than the rest of my work. I do slip both stitches knitwise.

    If this doesn’t work for you, your ssks may improve with time. Mine certainly have. It could just be a matter of getting used to the stitch so you do it without thinking.

  28. Gwen says:

    I forgot to mention how I do paired decreases when I want them as a design element. I do SKP (slipping purlwise) for the left-leaning ones, and then a mirror image of that for the right-leaning ones: knit one, slip it purlwise to the left needle, then slip the next stitch over it. The decreases do show, but they look identical, and that makes me happy.

    Please let me know what you think if you try this method, since I’ve never seen it described anywhere!

  29. Jill says:

    I’ve always done my left-slanting decreases by slipping the first stitch purlwise, knitting the second, then passing the slipped stitch over. I’ve recently tried SSK and K2togTBL. Don’t like either of them quite as much. For me, the key lies not in the decrease, but when you revisit it on the purl row. I find that if I purl that stitch through the back loop, it sits down and behaves itself much more prettily.

  30. Barbara says:

    I used to hate SSK.
    Now I slip the first stitch & put it back on the left needle with front leg at back. Then go into first stich as if to purl & knit second through front loop. This seems to pull on the yarn to make both stitches the same size. Plus it has a better rhythm than other ways I have tried, especialy helpful for lace.

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