Knitting Rules – The Truth about Slipped Stitches

Mojo Jojo Cowl in Berroco Mojo

Mojo Jojo Cowl in Berroco Mojo

I just completed a quick-knit cowl with some lovely yarn Santa brought for me. The yarn, Berroco’s Mojo in a bee-utiful shade of blues (Color 8001/Dye lot 2078). With two stitches to an inch on size US15 needles, this super bulky yarn knits up really quickly … the cowl took maybe four hours of knitting (and I’m a slow knitter).

The pattern, Mojo Jojo, is a free Ravelry pattern. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to knit up with the two hanks that Santa brought me but when I searched Ravelry (and I am moving to Maine in a few months) I found the cowl pattern and decided that THIS was a good plan. The pattern uses what is called a “faux cable”. I’m not sure that I agree with that term as it looks more like a stretched stitch to me but if you really want to stand back a few feet and squint, I guess one might say it looks like a cable … or maybe not. Regardless, the cowl is very attractive and it was a quick and easy knit project that I completed in a few hours. I will get a lot of wear out of it in Maine next winter.

Mojo Jojo Cowl Close-up

Mojo Jojo Cowl Close-up …  faux cable?

The faux cable is created by slipping one stitch, knitting four stitches and then passing the slipped stitch over the four knitted stitches. When knitting this cowl, I followed my slipping stitches rule #2. I slipped the first stitch knitwise because I was going to use it again in the next row.

So, let’s talk about slipping stitches in knitting.

A lot of knitters struggle with how to slip stitches and what is the “right” way to slip a stitch. So, here are the rules of slipping stitches according to me (the Queen Bee!)

Rule 1. If the pattern doesn’t state how to slip the stitch, the default is to slip the stitch from the holding needle (usually the left-hand) to the working needle (usually the right-hand) purlwise. There is no twist to the stitch, it’s passed from one needle to the other. Insert your working needle (right) purlwise (from the right to the left) into the first stitch.

Slip purlwise

Slip purlwise

Rule 2. If you are going to use the slipped stitch again in the same row, then slip the stitch knitwise as in a SSK (slip slip knit) or PSSO (pass the slipped stitch over). This way the stitch is twisted as it is slipped from one needle to the other.

Slip Knitwise

Slip Knitwise

Rule 3. If the directions tell you to slip the stitch(es) knitwise, then follow the instructions.

There you go! So simple that I even complicated the process with adding rule number three which, technically, is an obvious rule and should not even be mentioned. However, I have learned that I should not ever assume so the obvious becomes rule number three.

Gone knitting!

Annie says … On slipping and decreasing

I “promised” way back when (I took the weekend courses with the wonderful, beautiful, talented, Annie Modesitt) to post some tips that I gleaned from the classes. There were so many wonderful bits that she offered and, today, I’d like to share a couple of those with you!

Tip 1

When asked to slip a stitch, the default is always to slip the stitch purl-wise by inserting the right needle into the stitch to be slipped from the right to the left in front of the left needle.

Insert right needle as if to purl (from right to left in front of left needle) ... OMG, my thumb has dry skin!

Tip 1.1

Annie attributes the following tip to her friend Sally Melville (I have all of her books. Now, it’s time to actually read them rather than looking at the pretty pictures and reading snippets!)

When slipping stitches: if you’re going to use the stitch again in the same row, slip the stitch knit-wise. If not, slip the stitch purl-wise (the default, see tip 1).

Tip 2

Annie has her way of decreasing down to a science. When you want to decrease with stitches leaning to the left, you would “typically” be told to “SSK” or “slip, slip, knit”. To do this you slip one stitch from the left to right needle knit-wise as if you were going to knit it (see tip 1.1), slip another stitch from the left to right needle knit-wise and then knit the two together (bring the left needle through the front of both stitches on the right needle, wrap the yarn as if you were knitting, slide the new stitch on the right needle and slip the two old stitches off the left needle.)

Slip - Insert right needle into stitch from left to right as if to knit

Knit - Insert left needle left to right into the front of the 2 slipped stitches

An easier way …

SSK is very manipulative (to the stitches, anyway!) The more you manipulate the stitches, the more likely they are to get stretched out. So, you end up with the same thing if you K2togTBL (knit two together through the back loop) or as Annie writes it K2togL (knit two together left). To K2togTBL, insert the right needle through the back loop of two stitches, wrap the yarn as if to knit, slip new stitch onto the right needle and the two old stitches off the left needle. One stitch decreased. The decreased stitch leans to the left.

Insert right needle through the back loop of two stitches

Another way to think about this (decreasing to lean either left or right) is to watch your needles.

A K2tog (Annie would write this K2togR) will lean to the right (in the direction of the direction of your left hand needle) …

K2tog - right needle points to right ... decrease will lean right

SSK or K2togTBL or T2togL will lean to the left … again, watch your needles!

K2togTBL - Right hand needle is pointing to the left, decrease will lean left

The final result … whichever way you choose to make a decreased stitch … is the same. Look at the first two (on left side of needle) stitches. One is a SSK and one is a T2togTBL.

After ... two left leaning decreases (one on l. is K2togTBL, on r. SSK)

Tip 3 and Tip 4

Totally unrelated to knitting except for the fact that it’s about a knitter.

Annie uses Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals make up. I’m going to look into it because I love the idea of sunblock being in the makeup!

She also loves to knit on Signature needles. I’m coveting my first pair and will report on their beauty when the gift fairy brings me some.

But for now, I’ve gone knitting!