A Neater Way to ssk

Do your k2tog’s look neater than your ssk’s? Depending on how you knit, this neater way to ssk 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.

A Neater Way To ssk // Traditional ssk

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’s to lay a little bit flatter.

A Neater Way To ssk // Trick One

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.

  • 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.

A Neater Way To ssk // Trick Two


  1. Joan DeWolfe

    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

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

  3. Nancy

    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


  5. Judy Piette

    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

    Thanks for the tip, I’ll try it.

  7. Anki Ericson

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

  8. Suzanne

    Can’t wait to try this one !!!!

  9. Ann Hewitt

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

  10. Tommye

    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. Karen

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

  13. Janey

    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. Suzanne

    Thanks. Will definitely try this on my next ssk

  15. Pam Wheary

    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. barbara

    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. Michelle

    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. Kathy

    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. Kim

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

  22. Louise

    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.

  23. Rita

    Thank you, Julie. I have tried your trick 1 (New Stitch recommended) but really like your Trick 2 and will definitely give it a try. Look very good.

  24. Linda

    Knitting my first pair of socks and not happy with the SSKs – will try one of your tricks!

  25. Carol

    I don’t always use ssk as I first learned psso and ssk is slower and awkward for me. I think I’ll check and see if my pssos match the k2togs and maybe try this method if they don’t.

  26. I knit 2 together through the back loop. I’ve been most pleased with this method.

  27. Deborah

    Or: knit 2 together (from the front) through the back loops. It matches the K2tog much better than either version of ssk. 🙂 Just learned this one *very* recently.

  28. Mariel

    Thanks for the tip, but seems like too much work. I knit continental and instead of the slip slip knit, knit wise as traditionally done, I knit 2 together through the back loops. The stitches don’t stretch as much and it looks neater.

    • That’s fine! I always tell my students to do what works best for them. I post tips in case they are helpful to someone but if they don’t work for you, that’s fine – carry on;-)

  29. Meral

    What wonderful tips! I’ve been going over my ssks afterwards with a cable needle to pull them straight — such a pain to do ! Will try your tricks in hope of seeing an improvement! Thanks!

  30. Mary

    Brilliant! My ssk has always been ugly and Trick One combined with Trick Two looks so much better I can hardly believe the difference. Thank you very much indeed!

  31. Shirrell

    I just got finished trying both trick 1 and 2 and it really works. Thank you so much for this great tip.

  32. El

    Great tip! But I don’t think Trick 2 will work with garter stitch in the round

  33. El

    Oh, purl through the back loop, I think

  34. Mary

    My issue with ssk is that I’m left handed. It took me ages to figure it out. I’d like to learn these methods. Any suggestions?

    • Hi, It makes no difference if you are right or left handed, the techniques are still worked the same way. Continental knitting is usually easier for lefties – and faster overall- so you might look on youtube.com for videos on switching over to continental knitting-

  35. Oh thank god! I thought it was just me being an idiot! My lace patterns now match rather than looking totally unrelated!

  36. Janna

    This is the best mirror for the K2Tog I have tried yet. My sock gussets and toes thank you very much.

    • That’s great to hear! It’s funny, with some yarn a good old sl 1, k1, psso seems to work best – but I still like to k the resulting st through the back when I come to it on the next row…every yarn and knitter is unique! Maybe that’s what keeps us knitting;-)

  37. Tiffany

    I just found this site & your tips and it’s brilliant – thank you 🙂 I was already doing Trick #1 but combining Trick #1 + Trick#2 makes a very neat, very straight line. Exactly what I wanted! Thank heaps.

  38. Lindy Barnes

    hen you K or P through the back loop in the stitch below what do you do with the stitch on the needle?

    • You are knitting or purling through the stitch on your needle – not the row below. Hope that helps!

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