Ssk - as if to knit or as if to purl?

When my pattern calls for “ssk” , do I automatically slip as if to knit every time?

How do you know when you slip as if to purl ?

In the case of SSK, you always slip as if to knit. There is a variation of it where you would slip on knitwise, slip one purlwise, then knit the two slipped stitches together - some say that this way is ‘improved’ but I’ve never found it any different so I stick with the usual SSK.

In patterns in general, if you are asked to slip 1 and it doesn’t specify which way, I always slip as if to purl.

I slip both stitches kwise. I slip sts kw on the knit side and pw on the purl side unless the pattern says differently. I don’t slip the first stitch on a row, but that’s when you’re supposed to slip them pwise. Unless the pattern says differently, and if the first stitch is a SSK, then I slip it kwise.


I agree. On a SSK, I always slip as if to knit unless it specifically says otherwise. Single slips (as in sl 1) I slip purlwise. Just puting in my two cents!

Nonaknits did a comparison of the different left-leaning decreases. I think you shouldn’t take everyone’s word for it that ‘x is best’, choose the one you prefer. If you can’t be bothered swatching yourself, here’s the link:

Well that’s basically what all of it comes down to - what looks good to each of us.


When an ssk appears, you slip as if to knit unless you are instructed to so otherwise. Some patterns will tell you to slip both purlwise and some will ask you to do the “improved” ssk where you slip one knitwise and slip one purlwise.