How to Slip Slip Knit (SSK) More Neatly

Does your k2tog look neater than your ssk? Depending on how you knit, this neater way to ssk may neaten up your decrease stitches – give it a try! 

Check out our Cocoknits patterns for some knitting inspiration.

The Traditional SSK

I use this technique whenever a left-leaning decrease is required.


Step 1

Slip 2 stitches individually as if to knit.


Step 2

Insert left needle tip into the fronts of these 2 slipped stitches.


Step 3

Knit the 2 slipped stitches together; 1 stitch decreased. To neaten this decrease on the next round or row, work this stitch through the back loop.

Here are two tricks to try:

Neater Way To SSK – 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 lie a little bit flatter.

Neater Way To SSK – 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.


Step 1

On the RS work a ssk, either the traditional way or as in Trick One.


Step 2

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.



Hi Gayle,
We suggest you experiment with the techniques here and in the tutorial
How to Work an Alternative to SSK. We think the sl, k, psso might work well. You could also try slipping the first slip as if to purl to see if that gives you a similar effect to knitting into the back loop on the next round. Good luck!

Gayle Freeman

Thanks so much. I have a question. When doing the toes of socks how would one do the rows where you do an SSK on each row ?


Check out our new tutorial “How to Work an Alternative to SSK” for a video and more ideas.

Sharron arnold

Priscilla Bouic, when slipping the knit stitch and replacing it back to the LHS needle which ‘leg’ is in front.


Thank you, Priscilla, for sharing your “best way”. I tried it and love how it looks!

Janis Johanson
I live in the UK and never seen SSK on patterns in the UK , I always have to google SSK to check I understand what it means , then revert back to the to slip 1 etc . So much easier and I think neater !
Priscilla Bouic

In answer to Patriicia, about the SSK:
SSK is a fairly new invention in the knitting world. When I was growing up and learning to knit in the late 1930s and early 40s’ the only left decrease was Sl 1 purlwise, k1, pass the sl st over (SKP). Many fabulous knitters and designers, such as Sally Melville, still use this today, even though their publishers insist on writing it as SSK. By the time I was retired and returned to knitting a lot, the SSK was the “gold standard.” But it is NOT!!!! The best way is to slip only the first stitch knitwise, return st. to left needle and K2 tog TBL. The underneath twisted stitch tightens up the top stitch tension so it is not loose and wonky, and the look of it matches the K2 tog.
In addition, on the next row for a sock or sweater, you need to work the stitch above the SSK as TBL so it will lean in the same way as the SSK, making a nice smooth line up the garment.
Yet somehow the SSK (slipping both sts k-wise) persists as the standard for writing patterns.
Hope this helps in understanding about the SSK.


Thank you so much, I was very confused, haven’t come across SSK before. I’ve been knitting since I was 8 years old, I am now 75!

Rose Mongeau

Thank you so much for a great explanation.

Judy Seaman

Thank you! Both methods made a big difference!

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