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  • Writer's pictureBecca Norman

Left and Right-leaning Decreases

Updated: Feb 27

Bipartisan stitches

All knitting decreases (and increases too, for that matter) fall into one of two categories: right-leaning and left-leaning, which has nothing to do with their political views. I'm going to show you why both are important, and how to use them together in different combinations to create different looks.

If you still need to learn how to do these decreases, check out the other blog posts where I cover that, Here, and here.

Swatches and More Swatches

I made some swatches to show you different ways that left- and right-leaning stitches can be combined.

Remember that K2tog leans to the right, and SSK leans to the left (along with a few other methods; for more on that see this blog post)

Swatch #1
a sample of knittig decreases on top of a knitting chart
Decreases from left to right: K2tog, SSK, K2tog, SSK.

When you do K2tog, SSK (right to left) next to each other in the middle or wherever, what you get is two raised stitches and then all of the other stitches seem to just disappear underneath.

Swatch #2
a sample swatch of knitting on top of a printed chart of decreases
Decreases from left to right: SSK, K2tog, SSK, K2tog

This swatch has all of the same decreases but in reverse order, and see how different that is? Instead of the raised ridge in the middle, it's more flat. All of the stitches are just meeting together. The only problem with this is you run the risk of the sort of gapping in between, so you have to either make sure you pull it really super tight in between, but you still might get a gap, or the other option is to add a stitch - just a plain knit stitch - in between each of the decreases, and that will really help to smooth it out.

Intro to Knitting Charts

To give you a better picture and help you visualize how this is all laid out, I made a couple charts. The vertical line in the middle notates where a stitch marker is placed, and the / and \ symbols are the decreases. Ideally they would be 2 squares wide, but I couldn’t figure out how to do that with the program I was using.

a knitting chart showing decreases
This is the chart for swatch #1.

To further explain how to knit with a chart (if you enlarge the image, you should be able to read the key in the bottom right corner) the plain white squares stand for both knitting on the right side and purling on the wrong side. So all of the odd-numbered rows are just purled all the way across. If this were a stitch pattern for anything other that stockinette, there would also be dot or dash symbols to notate purling on the right side or knitting on the wrong side.

a knitting chart showing decreases
The chart for swatch #2

Charts are generally worked from right to left on the right side, and left to right on the wrong side, as well as bottom to top.

Don't be scared!

I know charts can sometimes seem intimidating and a little confusing, but if you are a visual learner, it really can help to visualize what you're reading when you look at the written instructions.


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