SSK and SSSK Knitting Decreases
Single & Double Decrease Techniques using Slip Stitches
The ssk and sssk are methods you use in knitting to decrease the overall number of stitches on your needles. Decrease (and increase) techniques allow you to add shape to your knitted items, rather than only making rectangles.
ssk = Slip one, slip one, knit slip stitches together.
This is a single decrease, which means that it reduces the number of stitches on your needles by 1. It's quite a common decrease method.
sssk = Slip one, slip one, slip one, knit slip stitches together.
This is a double decrease, so would reduce the number of stitches on your needles by 2.
Both the ssk and sssk are left-leaning decreases, so they will appear to lean slightly to the left when viewed from the front of your knitting. That's why in knitting patterns you will often see these decreases on the same row as k2tog or k3tog decreases which are right-leaning.
Combining a right-leaning decrease with a left-leaning decrease gives your knitting a more balanced, symmetrical look.
In the video below, I show you the traditional way of doing the ssk first, then a few variations and modifications. Then I demo the sssk.
If you're a beginner, it might be best to stick with the first way I show you how to do the ssk, because I don't want to confuse you with different options :)
The first ssk I demonstrate is the most common way and involves slipping both of the stitches knitwise.
I then show an ssk where 1 stitch is slipped knitwise and 1 stitch is slipped purlwise, which is the method that most closely mirrors the right-leaning k2tog decrease. So if you want an even more balanced look, and the ssk is paired on the same row as a k2tog, then I would choose this one.
I then show an ssk where both stitches are slipped purlwise, which seems to be quite rare in comparison.
Note: In all of these methods, the yarn is at the back of the needles (wyib = with yarn in back) whilst doing the slip stitches.
After that, there are instructions for a modified ssk where the ssk is untwisted to give a smoother finish.
And finally, I show you how to untwist the ssk decreases on the next row instead, in order to add that smoother & neater finish to your work. Not many people do this so it's totally optional.
I demonstrate how to do this extra process on a purl row, and it involves simply purling up to where you did the ssk on the previous row, and then purl through the back of the loop (p tbl) instead of doing a regular purl stitch (which technically is where you purl through the front of the loop).
Note: If you are doing circular knitting and are knitting stockinette stitch, every row will be just knit stitches, so on the next row you would instead knit through the back of the loop (k tbl) when you reach an ssk.
Thanks for watching!