The most basic single decreases are knit two together, which is a decrease that appears to lean to the right, and the many variants that mirror it by leaning to the left. The one I use is abbreviated as ssk.
Sometimes I want to decrease away a stitch without having it appear to lean to one side or the other. It turns out that the way to do this is to knit it together with each of its neighbors. This turns three stitches into two. I used to call these decreases bunny ears and bunny ears back, but now I’m calling them centered single decreases.
This post explains the basic centered single decrease, which brings the center stitch of the three to the front. I’ll be writing up the other three maneuvers as separate blog posts.
I’m trying an experiment. I prefer to learn from drawings, and so I have generally provided drawings of techniques. (Made by tracing photographs.) But it occurred to me that I could also provide the photos. I hope this is helpful.
I’m trying to get away from using “left” and “right” needles to help left-handed knitters who work in the opposite direction. (Though they will need to flip the images.) In this post I’m going to say “active needle” for the one the new stitches end up on, and “supporting needle” for the needle holding the stitches from the previous row.
Here are three stitches. I want there to be two. The stitch closest to the tip is stitch A (light green), the middle is stitch B (medium green), and the third is stitch C (dark green).
First, knit A and B together. Drop A, leaving B on the supporting needle. (See option two if B slips off by accident.)
Second, slip each of B and C knitwise.
Third, bring the supporting needle through B and C from the back.
Knit them together. Stitch B has been pushed to the front and is wrapped around the base of both new stitches.
Some people may prefer to use this method. It also works as a troubleshooting method for option one above if stitch B accidentally slips off the needle after being knit together with stitch A.
First, knit A and B together as usual. Stitch B sits in front. I’ve marked the leg of Stitch B that’s closest to the tip of the active needle with a star.
Second, reach down with the supporting needle, and pick up the starred leg of stitch B from behind,
Third, slip Stitch B in this same configuration and then Stitch C knitwise.
Fourth, bring the supporting needle through B and C from the back.
Knit them together. Stitch B is now sitting below the two new stitches, with its arms looped all the way around to hug them both. Stitches A and C are sitting behind and to either side of B. This makes B very prominent and makes for an interesting effect.
(Another way to think about this decrease is that it is making use of a technique called twice-knit knitting, )