Interesting new (to me) Portugese-inspired decrease pattern

I borrowed a copy of Portuguese Knitting, by Rosa Pomar from my library. Some of the patterns included in the back use a simple decrease method for circular things–toes of socks, bottom of a small bag, etc.–that I had not seen elsewhere. It breaks up the lines of decreases to give a more “randomized” appearance to the tapered area while making a very smooth, rounded shape–because the decreases move one stitch over each round in the opposite direction that they lean. But it’s still very simple to keep track of on four dpns with no counting, st markers, or “reading” of the work required. The original portuguese method works stockinette st in purl on the inside of the work. that decrease pattern is essentially:

with sts equally divided onto four needles, purl to last 2 sts of next needle, p2tog, pass the resulting st onto the empty needle, which is now the new RH needle. repeat until there are only 2 sts on each needle, cut yarn, thread thru remaining stitches and pull to close.


Since as a continental knitter I prefer to work st st in knit on the outside, this means the rounds spiral in the opposite direction–so with a little head-scratching I figured out how to work the mirror image counterpart which will give the same effect if one is knitting continental, english etc (ie knit stitches on the outside of the work). My adapted method is

knit to last 2 sts on next needle, skpo (or ssk if you prefer), pass the st just created to the empty needle which now becomes the new RH needle. repeat until… etc… etc…

Here is what the little sample I worked up to test the idea looks like (it’s a little sloppy and I didn’t cut the yarn because I will reuse it for something else, but you get the idea).

I like how this looks and feels and it’s smooth and fun to execute. I think this may become my new favorite way to finish socks and anything else where I want a quick and uniform reduction without pronounced decrease lines.

I hope my explanation makes sense and I hope someone else finds this as interesting as I did!


That is an interesting alternative for decreasing. Thank you for posting it.

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Thank you for sharing! If you’re interested in various sock toes Roxanne Richardson has some You Tube videos you might like.

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Here’s some cotton socks I made for a toddler using this method for the toe. I’ve since realized that you could also achieve a similar result by using a K2tog then knitting one more st onto that needle before starting to work the next sts onto the empty needle. This give you a right dec that moves one to the left every round, same as the original portuguese method (but on rounds spiraling in the opposite direction). It’s a very different rhythm and flow; but some might find it simpler to do than what I described and used above. I’ll have to try that next time…

Well done! Thanks, too for the tip on k2tog.