A Neater Way to ssk

Do your k2tog’s look neater than your ssk’s? Depending on how you knit, this may neaten up your decrease stitches — give it a try!

The Traditional ssk

slip as if to knit, slip as if to knit.
Place your left needle into the fronts of the slipped sts and knit them together. In this photo you can see the right-leaning k2tog on the right lays flatter than the left-leaning ssk running up the left side of the decreases. The ssk’s are a little looser and sloppy looking.

traditional ssk

Here are two tricks to try:

Trick One

slip as if to knit, slip as if to PURL.
Place your left needle into the front of the slipped sts and knit them together. This helps the ssk’s to lay a little bit flatter.

trick one

Trick Two

If you want to go one step further to improve your ssk’s, try Trick Two which happens on the row/round following the ssk.

  • On the RS work a ssk, either the traditional way or as in Trick One.
  • In the following row/round:
    • If working flat, on next WS row: p through the back loop of the ssk from the previous row.
    • If working in the round: k through the back loop of the ssk from the previous round.

trick two



  1. Joan DeWolfe Reply to Joan

    I can’t wait to try this ssk method, because I always felt that it didn’t look neat using the original method. So THANKS!!!! Joan

  2. Merryl Rosenthal Reply to Merryl

    Thanks for the tip–will definitely try it. Happy Holidays!

  3. I’m finishing the gusset on a sock right now – wish I had read this before. I’ll try it for the last 2 decreases though!

    thanks Julie!

  4. Muriel Nash Reply to Muriel


  5. Judy Piette Reply to Judy

    Good idea Julie, works well and I am in the middle of a Hat. Thanks again, and Happy Holidays. To all the Family

  6. Deborah L Dibble Reply to Deborah

    Thanks for the tip, I’ll try it.

  7. Anki Ericson Reply to Anki

    This problem has always annoyed me and I’ve tried to solve it, maybe your trick has the solution, many thanks!

  8. Can’t wait to try this one !!!!

  9. Ann Hewitt Reply to Ann

    I’m definitely trying this! Looks SO much better!

  10. I will try your method thanks a lot.

  11. Oh cool! Thanks for the tip. I can’t wait to give this a try!

  12. I think I first read this in a Eugene Bueller pattern. I have used it ever since.

  13. I’ve tried ‘em all and none look at good as K2tog–but as you said, it may depend on how you knit. I’ve ended up staying with the old-fashioned Sl 1,K1, psso which looks the best in my view. I knit kinda tightly and do both methods (throw and pick) equally well as well as combination (p backwards and then k into back of st on knit side). I use whichever suits the project and the pattern stitches–sometimes combination is too fussy, but it sure makes stockinette look tidier for me because the purl sts only use the same amount of yarn as the knits.

    As to the history of this, it goes way back–about 20 years, anyway. EZ (which I think she credited to Barbara Walker) made the slip both as to knit popular, but soon after, others came up with the sl one to k and sl one to p version–sorry I can’t remember where I first saw it.

  14. Thanks. Will definitely try this on my next ssk

  15. Pam Wheary Reply to Pam

    I will definitely try this method. Looks very uniform!! I had also heard that you could do a SSK by knitting into the back of the next two stitches.

    • If you k2tog behind that twists the sts. When you try it you’ll see it does not create a mirror of k2tog. The other way to ssk is to sl 1, k1, psso. For some people this is the way to make it neatest, all depends on your knitting!

  16. Thank you! I will definitely be trying this trick.

  17. SSP (Slip Slip Purl) view continental video This is actually the best looking match for k2tog. Nice and tight and neat looking! Unfortunately it needs to be done on the reverse side (the purl row), which usually means a row later or earlier than when it is called for. If you’re knitting in the round, you can’t use this decrease, since the purl-side never faces you. …(On the purl row) Slip 1 k-wise, slip another k-wise. Return slipped sts to left needle. p2tog tbl: Insert right needle up into back loops of the two stitches and purl them together from this position.

  18. Thank you. It made an impressive difference. I will do ssk this way from now on. Just goes to show what a difference just a small change can make – in ways besides knitting!

  19. Thank you! That worked perfectly for decrease part at the top of a hat I was working on. Thank you, thank you! MUCH tidier.

  20. Try this. On the plain round, knit the stitch that results from the ssk through the back loop. It will then lean the same way as the ssk just as the knit leans the same way as k2 tog.

  21. Brilliant! Thanks for the tip. .. It looks so nice!

  22. This is the same as knitting two stitches through the back loops (k2togTBL)

    • Hi,

      It’s not the same. You have twisted the first stitch before you knit it, but not the second when you do it the way I have described. K2togTBL twists them both the same way. If you like k2togTBL, though, that’s fine.

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