Variations on the SSK

Ok... I've got a question about SSK (slip slip knit) stitches that I've been thinking about lately while doing a lace project.

I know there are various ways to do a SSK. Some people slip both stitches purlwise, some slip them both knitwise, some slip the first one knitwise and the second purlwise. Some patterns actually mention which one to use, but most of the time it's not specified. And I've seen all the above mentioned in different books and web sites.

So which one do you prefer to use if the pattern doesn't specify? Does it depend on the project? the yarn? the pattern?

And on a related note, is there any difference between doing slipping both stitches purlwise to do a SSK and doing a K2tog thru the back loops? I admit I can't really see a difference.

YarnGuy716's picture

K2tog is a right slanting decrease and SSK is a left slanting decrease. To correctly do a SSK, you should be slipping the stitches knit-wise. Check out and look under basic techniques/decreases for examples and explanations of all of these.

Why make yourself crazy: a SSK is nothing but a knit 2 together through the back loop: k2togbl. Faster, easier and it gives you time to ponder the mechanics of P4togbl . . .

~Mike in Tampa
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I have to say it depends on the yarn and project. For socks I have been slipping the first as if to knit and the second as if to purl. Of all the different combinations to slip two stitchs, this seems to leave the least laddering on my gussets. On shoulder decreases and the like, I slip both as if to knit. I have, however, been recently turned on to knitting two together through the back loop and have been experimenting with that. It looks good so far, but I'll have to wait until my current sock is finished to know for sure.


Thanks Dick... this is *exactly* why I was asking the question. Sorry if there was confusion in my original post that I didn't know what a SSK was. Lace knitting has more than it's share of SSKs. :-)

I've read that the "improved SSK", which is what some people call slipping the 2nd stitch purlwise, lays flatter. Some people prefer one way over another when making socks.

You guys are a fountain of information. I probably would never have continued knitting had it not been for this site.

Aaronknits's picture

I have patterns that have indicated to slip both knitwise, and to slip one as if to knit and one as if to purl, but as Mike said, if it doesn't specify, I just knit 2 together through the back loop.

drmel94's picture

The standard SSK is slip one stitch as if to knit, then a second one, then knit through the back loops. Because the stitch mount is changed, it is NOT exactly the same as K2togbl, which twists the stitches. SSK is actually neater and a closer match to k2tog. I have been doing the "improved" SSK (slip 1st loop knitwise, 2nd loop purlwise) from and find that it works very well and doesn't disrupt the flow of my knitting as much. The page that YarnGuy716 mentions is here and is an excellent visual reference.

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kiwiknitter's picture

Just last month I read for the first time about doing SSK by slipping the second stitch as if to purl. I tried it on a raglan decrease and I like the results. Somehow, the decrease stitch looks better. I've never tried knitting the k2togbl; I'll give it a go and see how that works.

My knitting is totally tubular!

Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.  ~Billy Connolly