Decreasing within a Graft

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This tutorial talks through how to create a K2tog (knit 2 together) and SSK (slip, slip, knit) within a graft. This graft is based on garter stitch grafting but it could easily be adapted for different stitches. Because this tutorial only focuses on how we decrease stitches, you’ll want to refer to the main tutorial for grafting garter stitch.

Because of the rhythm of the grafting procedure, we first encounter a new stitch when we work steps 2 or 4 on the needles; steps 2 and 4 open the next stitch, steps 1 and 3 close the previous stitch. Whether the decrease starts with step 2 or 4 depends on whether it occurs on the front or back needle. The principles of how the two stitches are worked together are the same regardless of which needle your decrease stitches sit on.

Adapting these decreases for other stitch patterns is simple enough – simply work them together in the same way as you would a single stitch at the same point in the graft repeat. For instance if you’re working a reverse stocking stitch graft and the decrease is on the front needle, you would first work the 2 sts together knitwise (leaving them on the needle), then purlwise (slipping them off the needle).



1) Working a k2tog in graft is the easiest decrease. Where we knit 2 sts together we graft 2 sts together. Having worked the first insert knitwise, slip off of the graft repeat, we are now facing the two stitches we wish to decrease.
2) Because this is a k2tog, which requires no re-orientation of the stitches, we simply work these two stitches together. Which means for the first part of the decrease stitch we purl these two stitches together and leave them on the needle. Having done this, we continue to graft the back needle stitches as normal.
3) We encounter this decrease stitch again as we start the next graft repeat, and this time it will be step 1. For a garter stitch graft, that means we knit these two stitches together and then slip them off the needle. And that’s it, the decrease is worked into the graft!



Working an SSK decrease in a graft is a little more tricky than a K2tog, as the stitches are re-orientated. Working into the back of the loop – i.e. twisting the stitch – is achieved during a graft by physically lifting and twisting the stitches.

You could technically graft into the back of the loop but that can cause a hiccup in the graft as you have to remember to work the relevant half stitches differently, and it’s especially problematic if only one or two stitches are worked that way. Hence I recommend physically twisting the stitches so that you can work your graft repeat uninterrupted.

4) To prepare for the SSK, we need to re-orientate both stitches – simply lift each stitch off the needle, separately, and place it back, having turned it to the right. This manouvre is equivalent to the slip, slip element of the decrease.
5) We then lift the two stitches together, ready to twist them to the left. This is equivalent to inserting our needle through both stitches through the backs of the loops.
6) Lifting the stitches, twisting them to the left and placing them back on the needle is a bit fiddly, but this is how they will look once this is done.
7) We will then insert our needle purlwise through both stitches together, pull the yarn through and leave them on the needle. Proceed to step 3 on the back needle.
8) We then encounter these stitches again as step 1 at the start of the next graft repeat. Which means we’ll insert the needle through both stitches together knitwise, then slip them off the needle. The SSK decrease is now finished!


As always, if you have a question about this technique or need some help with it, leave a comment below! I’m afraid I’m unable to offer help via email or private message, but you’re welcome to post in our forum.


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Woolly Wormhead


  1. emily

    So the SSK is very confusing. When you move the stitches do you purl, knit, or ktb?

    • Woolly Wormhead

      Once you’ve moved the stitches – which effectively twists them, or does the same as ktbl – you just treat those 2 stitches together as one stitch when grafting, just like you do with the k2tog.

      The only difference is that you need to re-orientate the stitches for the ssk within a graft, which is what steps 4 to 6 show 🙂