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Emily Explains : What does SSK really mean?

We’ve had a busy week here in the design office with a photo shoot, design meetings and even a visit to the Yarn Sellar in Maine (Thank you, Carrie!). I am so happy to be back in the office today to write and reflect on it all.

Since starting at Berroco, I’ve realized how important it is for me to go back and re-establish my basic knitting techniques. I want to really understand why a pattern calls for certain techniques at certain times. I feel relatively confident reading patterns, but feel hesitant as I am preparing to write my own. This week I have been practicing and trying to really understand how to find my gauge with the help from Norah and Martha, who have been so patient and kind in helping me with this endless struggle. In my spare time, I started knitting Lowry, a beautifully artistic pattern from Norah Gaughan vol. 13. I am already learning so much from this pattern alone.

One stitch I’ve been practicing for shaping, which is also frequently used in other patterns, is slip slip knit (SSK). This stitch creates a left-leaning decrease. Here’s how it’s done:

Start by slipping two stitches, one at a time, from the left needle and placing them on the right needle knitwise. Next, insert the left needle into the front of two stitches of right needle. Then knit them together.

For a better visual, watch Amanda’s wonderful video on decreases.

In the past I’ve wondered why a pattern sometimes calls for K2tog and other times calls for SSK?  Don’t they both do the same thing ( decrease 1 stitch )? What’s the difference?

Here’s the answer:

SSK stitches slant to the left.


K2tog stitches slant to the right.


Using K2TOG and SSK together creates beautiful symmetry to your piece. I hope this helps!

Happy Knitting!


15 thoughts on “Emily Explains : What does SSK really mean?

  1. Slip slip as if to knit each stitch….not intuitively obvious to me when I first tried this stitch.

    1. When I see ssk in a pattern I say to myself slip, slip, knit together.
      I hope the video and pictures help!
      Happy Knitting

      1. I think Krayola’s point was that the stitches should be slipped knitwise, rather than purlwise. I, too, once slipped my SSK purlwise and wondered why it looked a little funny.

  2. Usually when the ssk is explained it just says “slip two stitches” but it doesn’t say together or one at a time. Which is it? And why don’t they specify?

    1. I usually slip two stitches knit ways one at a time onto my right hand needle. ( I get into a nice rythym doing it that way ). Then I insert the point of my left hand needle into the front of the two slipped stitches and knit two together. I think that you could slip them together knit ways if you preferred. Go with what feels comfortable : )

      1. I think it is actually imperative that the stitches be slipped knitwise one at a time. If you slip them together knitwise and then knit them together (through the back loop) the resulting decrease would be a standard right-leaning k2tog.

  3. There is a center decrease, which I wish you would discuss. It can be used to decrease 1, 2, or 3 sts. I don’t know how it’s done, though. Thanks!

    1. That is a great suggestion Kevin! Amanda actually goes over a center decrease S2K1Psso
      at the end of this video. I hope this helps!

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