Monday, February 08, 2010

"Walkerized" decreases

Barbara Walker started the whole thing when she changed slip-one-knit-one-pass-slip-stitch-over (sl1-k1-psso) to slip-slip-knit (ssk). Did you know that most decreases can be modified in a simi­lar way? 

For example, the most common way to do a double decrease when you want the decrease to slant gently to the right is “ssk, return the stitch thus formed to the left-hand needle, then pass the next unworked stitch over the stitch just worked, then pass the just-worked stitch again to the right-hand needle.” A Walker-style modification of that de­crease would be as follows. “Slip two stitches separately as if to knit.[1] Insert the left-hand needle into both stitches togeth­er from the right and transfer them back to the left hand needle.[2] Then knit three together.” You may find that, once learned, this is a faster way to do the stitch.

Suppose you want a double de­crease gently slanting to the left? The traditional way: “slip one stitch as if to knit. Knit two together. Pass the slipped stitch over the k2-tog.” The Walkerized decrease is very similar to ssk: “Slip one knitwise. Slip two as if to k2-tog. Insert left hand needle into the front of the three slipped stitches and knit them all together.” 

Instead of having three mo­tions, one to slip an old stitch, one to pull a new stitch through, and one to pass a slipped stitch over, you now have two: slip stitches, and pull the yarn through.

Notice a pattern? The basic idea is to perform all of the slipping of stitches first, lining them up, then pull the new stitch through. Try this for a central dou­ble decrease: “Slip two as if to k2-tog, slip one knitwise, then insert l. h. needle into all 3 stitches and knit them together.”

[1]this straightens out the two stitches so that they don’t knit crossed.

[2]this motion is the mirror-image of “slipping two stitches as if to k2-tog,” which is used when you want to make a central two stitch decrease.
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