Decreasing reduces the number
of stitches on a row. It is used to shape the knitted
fabric. They are generally are worked in the odd rows (RS
for needle knitters) and slant either right or left. Left
slanting decreases are worked on the right side of the
bottom rake (towards the last peg) and the left side of
the top rake (towards peg 1). Right slanting decreases
are worked on the left side of the bottom rake (towards
peg 1) and the right side of the top rake (towards the
last peg). For those of you who also do round loom &
rake knitting, remember that the numbering order of the
pegs is the opposite.
When working decreases on the knitting board, you need
to work them in pairs. Each side of the fabric will
slant in a different way so if you decrease on the left
bottom rake with a K2tog, you'll need to decrease on
the top left rake with an SSK. Most knitting board
knitters use an SKP but the preferred stitch is
actually an SSK because it is less sloppy.
Where you decrease depends on what your end goal is. If
you don't want your decrease to show, you should place
it on the edge of the knitted fabric but make sure that
you slant it correctly. However, if you want to make it
easier to pick up or join stitches, you should work the
decrease one stitch from the edge.
Stitches that are being decreased can hang in different
orders. For example, the first stitch could be on top
of the second stitch or vice versa, leaning to the left
or the right. The order of stitches is important, both
for appearance and for the way it pulls the fabric.
Information on how to evenly space decreases and
increases is coming soon. The math behind how to change
the wrapping pattern will be explained.
A series of adjacent decreases is
essentially binding off. After all, a simple form of
binding off is consecutive K2tog, P2tog, K2tog tbl, or
The diagram below shows the placement of
decrease stitches on the knitting board. Stiches
are paired by color to help you determine where to
place each decrease. Click on the diagram to see a
The chart below details the position of the
decrease stitch on the board and which stitch is on
top (moving across the board from left to right).
They are grouped in four, one decrease for each
side of the knitting board and each rake. It is
suggested that you use the groupings in yellow for
the most even results. Remember to setup the board
first before wrapping the stitch pattern and
knitting off. Click on the chart to see a larger