Decrease It Twice with the Double Decrease

Sometimes decreasing isn’t as simple as just knitting two together and calling it a day. Every now and then, a double decrease — decreasing two stitches at the same time — is required for a little more aggressive shaping.

Double decreasing may sound fancy, but it’s just a combination of skills you probably already have like knitting, slipping stitches, and passing slipped stitches over. And if you don’t have those skills, it’s easy enough to learn them. Craftsy’s how-to videos will make sure of that!

Double Decrease Knitting
Centered double decrease.  Photo via Twist Collective.

There are three ways you can create a double decrease:

  1. Double decrease that slants to the left (also known as SK2P): sl 1, k2tog, psso
  2. Double decrease that slants to the right: k3tog
  3. Double decrease that is centered (also known as S2KP2): sl 2, k1, p2sso

Left-Slanting Double Decrease (or SK2P)

Sl 1, k2tog, psso

Let’s break it down in case you’re unfamiliar with any of the abbreviations:
Sl 1 = slip one
k2tog = knit two together
psso = pass slipped stitch over

Slip one stitch knitwise. (Remember that when decreasing, you always slip knitwise. The rule is to always slip purlwise, but decreasing is the exception to this rule.)

Insert the right needle through two stitches at once and knit as you normally would.

Pass the stitch you slipped over the stitch that’s left after knitting the two stitches together.

Right-Slanting Double Decrease

K3tog = knit 3 together

Possibly the simplest — and easiest to remember — double decrease. K3tog means that you just three stitches together as though they were one stitch.

You probably noticed that knitting 2 together decreases one stitch. Throw one more stitch into that mix and you’ll get a double decrease. The k3tog is exactly like the k2tog except that you’re knitting three together instead of two. Easy!

Centered Double Decrease (or S2KP2)

sl2, k1, p2sso

Let’s break this one down:
sl 2 = slip two
k 1 = knit one
p2sso = pass two slipped stitches over

The centered double decrease is one of the neatest-looking decreases. To make sure you’re creating the decrease in the same place every time, it might be helpful to use a stitch marker to mark the center stitch.

Knit the row until you are one stitch away from the marked center stitch. Slip two stitches knitwise. Knit one stitch as you normally would. Pass the two stitches you slipped over.

Want to become an expert at knowing when to use double decreases (and increases) in your own patterns? Check out Sizing Knitwear Patterns with Faina Goberstein and learn how to plan your design, plus how to do the math to get the perfect sizing every time.

Which double decrease do you think is easiest? Have you ever used any of them in your knitting?

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