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How to work a ssk (slip, slip, knit) decrease

October 3, 2013

The ssk (or slip, slip, knit) is a has a rather counter-intuitive name because it is not really as it seems. You are doing more than just slipping and knitting, you are in fact decreasing a stitch by slipping two stitches and then knitting them together through the back loops. The ssk is used often in knitting as the opposite or counter or mirrored decrease to the k2tog (knit 2 together). It leans the opposite way – k2tog leans right and ssk leans left.

::: how to work a SSK (slip, slip, knit) :::

1. Slip 1 stitch knitwise. [tutorial on how to slip stitches here]

2. Slip 1 more stitch knitwise.

3. Insert your left needle through the front of the 2 slipped stitches.

4. wrap your yarn around the right needle (it’s in behind) and pull the loop through both of the slipped stitches, knitting them together.

Slip 2 sts knitwise (one at a time)

Slip 1 stitch knitwise


Slip 1 Stitch Knitwise

Slip 1 Stitch Knitwise

Put left needle through the fronts of both slipped stitches

Put left needle through the fronts of both slipped stitches

Wrap yarn around the right needle and pull the loop through both slipped stitches

Wrap yarn around the right needle and pull the loop through both slipped stitches

This is what a completed ssk looks like.

This is what a completed ssk looks like.

31 Comments leave one →
  1. Patricia permalink
    January 1, 2020 2:11 pm

    Thank you so much for this tutorial. In England we tend to S1,k1 pass skip at over, that works the same way. Thanks again.
    I’m loving the Bunny vest Flopsy.

    • January 2, 2020 7:50 pm

      It’s ALMOST the same, but the effect of the finished stitch is slightly different.

  2. Victoria permalink
    December 12, 2019 2:08 pm

    I feel like I am misunderstanding the short row heel. I’m making an adult large and the first row instruction is sl1, k6, k14, ssk, k1 which is a total of 24 stitches out of the 24 stitch heel flap. Which means there is no gap for me to ssk over on row 3. I’ve knit these socks before for kids and dont remember having this issue. Thank you so much I have knit many of the simple collection and love it all.

    • December 12, 2019 2:43 pm

      Hi Victoria – It would be just k14, k6 is for the smallest size, does that help?

  3. Jackie permalink
    June 28, 2019 2:38 am

    Is that not just knit 2 together through back of loop

    • June 28, 2019 2:12 pm

      Hi Jackie – it’s similar, but not quite. By slipping the sts knitwise you are re-orienting them, which give a slightly different overall effect.

  4. barbarag. permalink
    January 4, 2019 7:55 am

    I also had a question on the ssk with the gothic lace- thank you for the easy to follow instructions- Barbarag.

  5. Barbara permalink
    December 21, 2018 8:51 am

    I am learning dbl pointed with the simple mittens-how do I stop a “run” in the mitten where I change needles?

    • December 27, 2018 7:42 pm

      Hi Barbara – you want to give the first and second stitch after a needle change an extra tug. They are coming out a little loose it sounds like.

  6. stacy westerman permalink
    December 8, 2018 9:19 pm

    I am knitting the polygon blanket. Round 1 says [ssk, purl to last 2 sts before marker, k2tog]. There are 18 stitches within each marker, so I end up with 3 stitches before the marker. If I have to knit the last two together, does that mean I just slip off the third to last stitch?

    • December 10, 2018 10:03 am

      Hi Stacy – I don’t think I understand. YOu are suppolsed to pur to the last 2 sts before the marker so if you are 3 sts before the marker you should purl one more then knit the last 2 sts together.

  7. November 11, 2018 3:06 am

    I am knitting the easiest mitts pattern but I can’t see that at the decrease you get 4 sets less, it seems to be three only, is this an error in the pattern?

    • November 11, 2018 9:23 pm

      Hi Linda – no error. You should have 2 markers in the pattern and each decrease round decreases 4 sts.

  8. Gert permalink
    June 21, 2018 10:02 am

    What is the difference if you just knit two through the back loops instead of SSK?

    • June 25, 2018 4:31 am

      SSK lies a little bit flatter, because the stitches have been re-oriented when you slip them knitwise. But really, it’s pretty much the same thing!

  9. CBentz permalink
    February 16, 2018 7:41 am

    Well, Fiddlesticks, I have been doing this ALL WRONG! Thank you so much for the tutorials so I can go back & do it the right way.

  10. yardena permalink
    February 11, 2018 9:34 am

    Hi, Sorry if this is the second note you are getting from me. I don’t think the other note went through.

    I am knitting the Harvest sweater and all is going well. However , i am running into not understanding the instruction when it comes to the sleeves. “Decrease round: k1, ssk, knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1 Knit 8 (8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 7, 6, 6, 5, 5, 5) rounds”

    Do I decrease continuous for 5 rounds ( I am size 3x) or do I decrease every 6th row?
    Your help will be greatly appreciated.
    Solong, Yardena

    • February 14, 2018 12:39 pm

      Hi – You are decreasing every 6 rounds, so there are 5 rounds of just plain knit in between.

  11. YVONNE BEVERIDGE permalink
    March 17, 2015 3:17 am

    What a wonderful site this is. My mothers day gift to my Mum everything she needed to make your Thistle scarf, she was so pleased with it. She is almost 80 although very experienced, she couldn’t remember or didn’t know SSK, I don’t even knit but was able to tell her over the phone after looking at this site, everything is made so clear. I will stick to the crochet though, I love the wooden hook I bought.


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