As some of you may have noticed, we have been hard at work getting some instructional knitting videos up on our website! As with all new ventures, there are sometimes some glitches, and we are always so appreciative when our customers bring them to our attention. In this case, the glitch was simply that I was trying to present a technique that I had never used in my own knitting before, and I goofed! A lovely customer emailed to alert us to the fact that our videos for the SSP (slip slip purl) decrease were incorrect, and I’m so glad she did!
Mistakes are nothing to be afraid of, because they are the best way to learn. I grabbed a couple of books off the shelf and looked up this decrease -- and wouldn’t you know, the two books showed two different methods! What’s a knitter to do?!
What I ended up doing was grabbing a bit of scrap yarn, and working both techniques in a tiny swatch, just to see what the difference really was. I cannot recommend this enough to anyone who is struggling to learn a new technique. There’s no pressure, no project to worry about, just some sticks and string, and a new understanding of what you’re doing and why.
The results of my little test were interesting.
According to both books, the SSP ought to look just like an SSK when viewed on the knit side.
And so that we could compare them, I first worked an SSK decrease the way that I normally do (slip one as if to knit, slip one as if to purl, slip both back onto the left needle and knit them together through the back loop), at the bottom of the swatch.
I then worked a k2tog tbl (knit 2 stitches together through the back loop), just to have another left-leaning decrease for comparison.
The third decrease is an SSP, worked as described in the Knitter’s Book of Finishing Techniques:
“On the Purl side, slip two stitches, one at a time, as if to knit. Transfer the stitches back to the left needle. Insert the right needle from left to right through the back of the stitches and purl the two together from that position. Drop the two stitches just purled together off the left needle.”
The fourth decrease in my swatch is the same SSP, but worked as described by The Knitting Answer Book:
“Slip the first stitch knitwise, slip the second stitch knitwise, insert the left needle into these two stitches knitwise and slip them back to the left needle together. Reinsert the right needle and purl the two stitches together.”
The last decrease is a traditional SSK (slip one as if to knit, slip one as if to knit, slip both back onto the left needle and knit them together through the back loop). This matches the SSPs a little better than my twisted SSK technique, but it still doesn’t match perfectly.
As far as I can tell, both book methods lead to the same outcome, but Barb (whose eyes are better trained than mine for this sort of thing), says that she likes the look of the Knitting Answer Book method the best. We’ll update the video as soon as we can to reflect our new-found information!
I’m so happy to have learned this new method, because as it turns out, I really think the SSP is a much better match for the k2tog, and from now on, I’m going to incorporate it into my knitting where ever possible!