CSD-back-yo: centered single decrease with center stitch in back and an added yarnover

I’m shifting from using the “bunny ears” names for a set of four knitting stitch methods, and I’m rewriting the instructions while I’m at it. “Centered single decrease” is a more descriptive name for the basic maneuver. Today’s post is about a version of the CSD-back decrease, in which the center stitch hides at the back of the decrease and is replaced by a yarnover.

The goal of this stitch pattern is to start with three stitches and decrease away the center stitch by knitting it together with the stitches to either side, in such a way as to make the center stitch hide behind the outer two stitches, which lean toward each other. In the process, a yarnover is added to the middle, above the center stitch.

It will probably take a while for me to edit the older stitch patterns on my blog that contain it, but I plan to use this name from now on.

Terminology note:

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.

Instructions for CSD-back:

Illustration and photo of three stitches on the supporting needle, ready to be knit together.

Setup: Here are three stitches sitting on the supporting needle, ready to be decreased together.

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).

Step 1

Step 1: Slip stitch A knitwise.

Step 2

Step 2: Knit stitch B without removing it from the supporting needle. Pass the slipped stitch (marked with a star) over the stitch that was knit into stitch B.

Step 3

Step 3: Bring yarn forward between the needles so it will form a yarnover when the next stitch is made. Stitches B and C are still on the supporting needle: knit them together.


Result: The end result looks as if there’s two decreases sitting on the needle next to each other, but only one stitch has been decreased away. Three stitches have been turned into two, and the middle of the three original stitches is hiding in back. There’s a yarnover in between the two outer stitches.

On the next row

There’s two options for how to work the three stitches on the needle in the next row.

Closeup of some lace using the maneuver
Option 1

Option 1:

Just treat them like normal stitches. That is, purl them if working flat; knit them if working in the round. This will end up obscuring the yarnover because the top of stitch B will be extremely visible, as shown in this closeup of some lace where I preferred the effect. (Mirth, version 1). I don’t remember my reason for not using Option 2 here, but I’m sure I had one. Option 2 is my default, though Option 1 is easier.

Option 2: purl one below

On the next wrong side row, pick up the top of stitch B and purl it together with the yarnover. The name for this maneuver is purl one below, abbreviated as p1-below.

P1-below, step 1

P1-below, step 1: when coming to the center stitch of CSD-back-yo, it will look as if the yarnover is a purl stitch coming up from stitch B, except that stitch B will be stretched open by all the other stuff happening to it. I’ve marked a star in the middle of stitch B in the illustration to show where to place the active needle for the next stitch.

P1-below, step 2

P1-below, step 2: insert the active needle through stitch B from the far side, and make a purl stitch. This will effectively purl stitch B together with the yarnover above it.

Troubleshooting the p1-below:

I usually don’t notice that I forgot to p1-below until I come to this stitch again on the right side. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix: don’t undo all that work!

Troubleshooting the p1-below: step 1

Troubleshooting the p1-below, step 1: Here’s how things will look when coming to the center stitch of the CSD-back-yo on the next right side row. The horizontal bar marked with a star in the illustration is the top of stitch B.

Troubleshooting the p1-below: step 2

Troubleshooting the p1-below, step 2: Pick up the top of stitch B with the active needle.

Troubleshooting the p1-below: step 3

Troubleshooting the p1-below, step 3: Slip the next stitch off the supporting needle (marked with a dot) and pass stitch B over it. Then knit the slipped stitch.

All fixed!