Shaping armholes


I am really new to knitting and so far only knitted a hat and some booties for my baby girls. I am now attempting to knit a vest. I know my question is pretty basic. Here is what the pattern tells me to do:

So I understand that I need to continue with the pattern and the casting off of sts is clear. I am not sure how to decrease 1 sts at the end of every row. So that would be my first question, how do you decrease a sts at the end of a row?.
My second question is what does every foll alt row mean?
Last question is, does ws mean wrong side?

Thank you

On one side of the row, k2tog. On the other side, ssk. I usually do this a couple of stitches in (so…k2, k2tog). Then knit in pattern to the last 4 stitches and ssk, k2. Do this each of 2 rows. After that, you knit 3 more rows doing the same decrease on the first of the 3 rows and the 3rd of the 3 rows.

1 Like

I forgot to describe those 2 stitches. Not sure how new you are to knitting. K2tog is knit two stitches together as if they were one stitch. SSK is slip 2 stitches knit-wise and knit both together through the loops on the back of the needle. One leans to the left and the other leans to the right. (I can never remember which).
Here is a video if you need it.

Yes, every following alternate row is every other row and ws is indeed, wrong side. Which size are you making?
Good for you for venturing out into a vest.

Armholes are tough for me it was the hardest thing to learn!

Wonderful, thank you for that explanation. So just to make sure that I understood correctly. Because now I am a bit confused. So the first 2 rows I simply cast off 4 sts at the beginning of the row right?
Than the next two rows I K2 than K2tog at the beginning of each row and at the end I do the ssk which you sent me a video for and then K2? So when they say dec 1 sts at each end of row it means actually to decent 1 sts in the beginning and one in the end? That’s confusing.
Then the next 3 rows I do the same only I do the dec only at the first and last of these 3 rows while the middle one i just follow the patt?

Thank you for your help!

Thank you for clarifying those short terms! It is clear now.

I am making the second size

Are they really that tough? Good to know I am not the only one who is finding this one difficult!

Sometimes the easiest thing is to write the dire tions out row by row and then check them off as you go. Having stitch numbers is a help
So after the cast off, call row, row 1.
Row 1 decrease at each end
Row2 decrease at each end
Row 3 decrease at each end
Row 4 decrease at each end (85sts)
Row 5 decrease at each end
Row 6 no dec
Row 7 dec at each end
Row 8 no dec
Row 9 dec at each end (79 sts)

I like to work a stitch or two and do the ssk near the start and k2tog near the end of the row, but that’ a personal preference. What is your pattern name?


Amazing. Thank you so much for your help!

I completely missed the part that the size which I am knitting asks for 4 rows and than 5 rows dec. Also, I read the instructions as though they were saying that I need to dec at the end of each row not at each end of every row… small mistakes that can lead to a big misunderstanding. Thank you for clarifying all this for me and for also explaining how to dec, I would have never known that! I will try your method out and will do the ssk at the beginning and the k2tog at the end of each row.

I am using the Sirdar knitting book number 471 and the pattern is called “the westbury vest”
Here is the way it should look:

Here is what I managed to do so far:

Oh, very nice!
I was wondering if this was stockinette stitch. In that case, a few of the decreases are going to be on purl rows. For those you may want to use a purl2tog on the reverse of the k2tog and a purl2tog through the back loop on the reverse of the ssk. This will contonue that nice line of decreases that you see in the video that Metylda posted.


Oh wow, someone did it on, nice!
You guys are so helpful! Thank you for mentioning the purl side. I didn’t even think about that. What would I have done without your help?!
I live in the middle of no where and there is no one here I know who knits. This forum is such a life saver! Thank you.
I am sure I will have many more questions later on.

1 Like

Thank you, salmonmac for helping to explain this. Sometimes I can’t get online while I’m working. I guess I should have asked what size to help with.

No problem. Your response and video link were very helpful.

1 Like

All the questions about decreasing for arms and shoulders and picking up stitches for necklines remind me of when I first started knitting. I was 8 years old. By the time I was 10, I was knitting raglan sweaters with matching hats for Cabbage Patch dolls. I was even taking custom orders and selling them at school for $10/set! I was constantly asking my mom to take me to Walmart to get more yarn.
Anyway…when Grandmama first wrote out the pattern, I had to ask what all the abbreviations meant: k2tog, s1 k1 psso, PM, c8, etc. At the time I only had a pair each of straight 6, straight 8, 11" circular 6, and 11" circular 8. Granddaddy made me stitch holders out of wire coat hangers. And I raided my dad’s toolbox for some washers to use as markers. But I had so much fun. This is a skill that has stayed with me all my life. My boys aren’t interested, but whenever they have kids of their own, I’d love to teach them all these crafts.

1 Like

Since you guys are being so helpful and knowledgeable, I will just continue to ask questions here about this pattern. I hope you don’t mind helping me out a bit more.

Here are the instructions for shaping the armhole and neck for the front of the pattern:

Ok, so. The cast off is again clear. My problem is with the 2 rows dec. if I am supposed to dec 1 sts at the edge of every row, that should make up to only 2 sts less. But when I look at the amount of sts needed it goes from 52 to 49. That means that there are 3 sts less. How is that?
Another question is, how do I dec here? Do I do the K2tog or the ssk? And do I do it at the edge, so no k2 before the dec?

Another question is about the neck. What is patt2tog???

Ok, I will stop here.

Looking forward to hearing back from you.

I think that may be a typo. All the sizes show a decrease of 3 stitches. So it MAY need to be 3 rows. But I’m not really sure. Anyone else know about this?

As for the decreases, you can do the k2 between the decrease stitch and the edge if you want. Depending on which side the arm is on will tell you whether to ssk or k2tog. I try to have the stitches lean toward the garment rather than the edge. Salmonmac was correct, ssk at the beginning of the row and k2tog at the end. (I can never keep straight which stitch leans which direction.) when it says patt2tog, you would decrease using the pattern stitches. So if that potion of the pattern has you doing purl stitches where the decrease should be, you would actually p2tog. I’m not sure what type of pattern the fabric has.

Let me know if this helps.

Yes, in regard to the decreases, it looks like an error to me, too. Since there are decreases almost every row through this section, you could put in a dec at the armhole edge on the row immediately after the cast off, the row that is “Pattern across”.

ok, great. So it is a typo, ok, I will dec at all 3 rows.

So with the k2tog and ssk. If it is Left front, would I do the ssk because it goes to the left? And the right front I will do the k2tog because it goes to the right?

Thanks for clarifying the patt2tog!

I have more questions which I will send tonight once my girls are sleeping and I have more time to write in peace.

Thank you so far

Yes, on the left front, a ssk is nice since it slants left and follows the line of the armhole.
Happy knitting!