Decreasing in Seed Stitch

Hi I am knitting a tie and I have a question regarding decreasing in seed stitch. Why in the pattern does it say to do an ssk then knit 2 together on the end? In what situation would you ssp or purl 2 together? Is ssk and knit 2 together used for decreasing the right side of the work and ssp and purl 2 together used for decreasing on the wrong side of your work? In seed stitch should you worry about whether stitches lean to the left or right when decreasing? Or do you just decrease in pattern? I just want to have a better understanding of decreasing! Thanks!

When working in seed stitch, how do you know how to decrease while maintaining the seed stitch pattern? When should you use an ssk or ssp and knit 2 together or purl 2 together? Does it matter which way the decreases lean? For example: if your stitches are k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1 and you want to decrease the first 2 stitches how would you do that? Thanks!

The use of ssk at the beginning of a row and k2tog at the end gives you decreases that slant in toward the body of the piece, like this /----. It makes a pleasing line when there are multiple decreases on succeeding rows but you could also reverse the decreases and work them like this ----/ if you prefer.

You sometimes need to work decreases on consecutive rows and p2tog in the same location as k2tog or p2tog tbl (purl 2 together through the back loop) in the same location as ssk in order to continue the lines. The designer Sally Melville said that she never cared how the decreases slanted, she just put them in where needed. Most other designers do specify but it’s basically your choice.
In seed stitch, a single decrease is going to interrupt the pattern. Sometimes the line of decreases on following rows helps with the overall look of those decreases and perhaps make the interruption less noticeable.

In the example you gave k1,p1,k1,p1,k1,p1 I would decrease the first two sts as ssk and the last 2 as k2tog giving the /----\ slant to the decreases. If there’s a seam, these sts will be covered by the seam anyway. You might also consider decreasing one stitch in from the edges to make something easier to seam.

One way to work this out is to knit a swatch and try out as many of the possibilities as you can think of. See which looks you prefer.


Thank you for the very detailed reply! Referring to the example, where you said you’d do the first 2 stitches as ssk and the last 2 as knit 2 together, on the next row if you wanted to decrease again the first 2 and last 2 stitches what would you do? Or what if you wanted to decrease every other row what would you do? Thank you again for your help!

If the decrease was every other row, I’d continue the same ssk at the beginning of the row and k2tog at the end of row.
If the decrease is in consecutive rows, a p2tog where there was a k2tog works to continue the line. A p2tog tbl does the same for the ssk.

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Thanks! If in the row the first 2 stitches were ssk and the last 2 were knit 2 together, and you were decreasing in consecutive rows, would it be a p2together for the first 2 stitches then an ssp for the last 2 stitches? Then the next row would go back to ssk for the first 2 stitches then knit 2 together for the last 2? Is that correct? You mentioned you could do a purl2together through the back loop instead of ssp, can I just do an ssp instead it’s less confusing for me to remember but I’m not sure if that would work because that would mean the stitches are twisted right? So which is better in this scenario ssp or purl 2 together through the back loop?

Yes, you’ve got the idea for consecutive decreases. I don’t use ssp since I prefer p2tog tbl but give it a try and see what you think. I’ll try it too.

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Thank you so much! You’ve been a great help!! If you do try it I’d be interested in hearing your results to compare the 2 decreases!! Thanks again!!

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Ok, I had to look up a video for ssp. You still have to purl the 2 sts together through the back loop in order to get a left slanting dec on the RS of the work.

Here’s my photo of plain old p2tog tbl

And here’s ssp

Both are worked one stitch in from the edge. To me they look quite similar.


You’re a very lovely knitter! Thank you so much! Your help is VERY much appreciated! They do look similar! Thanks for your help!!

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Hi sorry to bother you again, I just have another question, I tried the sample in seed stitch (k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1) and I tried decreasing every other row. I did the ssk on the first 2 stitches, then purl, then knit, and then I knit 2 together on the last 2 stitches but on the row after where I was supposed to just knit in the row normally in seed stitch pattern I got confused because when I looked at the stitches they were not in pattern. The stitches are: purl, purl, knit, purl. I don’t know what to do with that because they aren’t in the proper seed stitch pattern setup. What would you suggest me doing? I tried many other samples and haven’t found a solution. Thanks again for your help!

Yes, decreasing a stitch by working 2sts together is going to cause a break in the seed stitch pattern. That’s to be expected at the edges where you’ve made the decreases. The important thing is to keep the pattern aligned in the main body of the piece.

So if you have a k1 then k2tog at the end of the row when you turn you’ll be faced with p1, p1. I keep the decrease stitch in stockinette (knit or k2tog on the front, purl on the back) and then revert to seed stitch (knit the Vs and purl the bumps). That way
the decreases on alternate rows or every row line up but the main pattern stays in seed stitch.

You might work a small swatch to see how this looks and how it’ll work out over several rows.

Okay thank you! So if I wanted to decrease these stitches:

(Knit- stockinette edge), purl, knit, purl, knit, purl, knit, purl, knit, (knit-stockinette edge). (Total of 10 stitches)

And If I knit the stockinette stitch edge then did an ssk, then knit in pattern to the last 3 stitches then knit 2 together then knit the stockinette stitch edge, then after decreasing I think the stitches would be:

Purl, purl, purl, knit, purl, knit, purl, purl

If I wanted to knit the row normally so that I could decrease on the next row (decreasing every other row), then how would I do it while trying my best to maintain seed stitch? Thanks again!

OK this is the WS row as you worked it out with the main body of seed stitch. The ends are going to be stockinette, both the edge sts and the line of decreases. That’s the way you would knit it to maintain seed stitch. You’re giving up the seed stitch on the 2sts either end of the row.
Purl, purl, purl, knit, purl, knit, purl, purl

So are you saying I should just accept that on the ends it won’t be in seed stitch pattern? Or am I mistaken? Is there a way to make it in pattern? Thanks!

Yes, the ends won’t be in seed. Is there are seam at the edges? What are you making?

The only way to stay in pattern is to work a double decrease. If you’re only deleting one stitch you’re going to interrupt the pattern. If you delete 2sts, the pattern will stay aligned.

I’m planning on making a tie so I won’t be seaming the ends. How do you do a double decrease? Would it work for a tie? Thanks!

A double decrease would narrow the tie faster or more abruptly than you might want. Even if you spaced it out less frequently, it still might not be the look you want. The only way to tell is to give it a try on a swatch.
Here’s a video for a k3tog for an example of a double decrease. You could also look for similar videos for sssk or a centered double decrease.

Even though I like to work decreases one or two sts in from the edges, for a tie decreasing at the edge might be less noticeable.
Check out how these patterns handle the decreases:

Thank you so much for all your help!!

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