?Strange stitch?

Hello Everyone,

I’m working on a lace pattern and I’ve come across a version of ssk I’ve never seen. Instead of slip 2 individually knitwise, k through front loops, it’s slip one knitwise, slip one purlwise, k through back loops.

Two problems: 1) that only works if the ssk is preceded by a yo - and if it is, the yo isn’t an added stitch, it’s just part of the stitch holding the 2 slipped stitches, 2) if it isn’t preceded by a yo the result is just a group of crossed strands creating nothing recognizable as a stitch, so with those I’ve just been doing the usual k through the front loops…

But the first problem results in a loss of stitches. I counted all the increases (yo’s) and decreases (k2tog & ssk) in a particular row and found that there are (supposedly) 8 increases and 8 decreases - but because the yo’s get included in the yo/ssk stitches, there are actually only 4 increases.

Is anyone familiar with this kind of ssk? Is it literally a ‘s1 knitwise, s1 purlwise, k through back loops’ or is there some special trick I don’t know about?

And I keep wondering, why kwise & pwise, and why through the back loops? What about that kind of stitch will be different from a standard ssk? Does it make the left lean more angled or something?

Anyone who knows, I would love to hear from you!


A standard SSK is to slip 2 stitches one at a time knitwise then knit through the back loops. There is a version that some do that is Slip 1 pw, slip 1 kw then knit through the back loops. It probably doesn’t matter which one you do as long as you are happy with the result and are consistent throughout the pattern.

Hi Jan, thanks for your reply. Actually, your answer was surprising because the usual ssk is knitted through the front loops, which is why I consider the ssk described in this pattern to be pretty odd. The main issue I’m having is that when a yo precedes the ssk it’s being eliminated when it’s knitted through the back loops, so I’m losing stitches with every row.

The pattern is pretty nice but at the rate it’s going, it’s pretty much going nowhere! So I’m thinking I’ll just ignore the ssk instructions, do the standard ssk’s, and see what happens. Who knows, it may look just as good, or maybe even better!

The improved ssk (sl1 k-wise, sl 1 p-wise, knit 2 tog tbl) is supposed to lie a bit flatter than the conventional ssk. You can do either one however after a yarn over and not lose the yarn over.

Hello Salmonmac!

Thank you for the video. I’ve identified the problem: semantics. When I see “tbl” I think literally, BEHIND the 2 slipped stitches on the working needle, so the main needle would be sticking out behind the working needle - the way “tbl” is done with a k2tog if you want a left-lean.

In fact, because I gave up trying to make it work the way I read it, I started doing what I call the standard ssk, (I never had a problem with the knitwise/purlwise slips - I just wondered why), and it’s been turning out just fine.

I’m still a little confused as to why it was described as “tbl” when the main needle is going through the loops in front of the working needle…or maybe that’s exactly it…when the working needle is behind the main needle it’s called “tbl” because of where the needles are positioned?

(You helped me out once before with a yo problem and I remember saying something about how what was logical to me wasn’t necessarily logical in the rules of knitting. This is exactly what I meant!)

Well, I’m not going to worry about it. I now know and that’s good enough. Thanks again for explaining it, and for answering the ‘why the knitwise/purlwise’ question - and also for showing me the yfwd before going through the loops, and then the yo and wrap. You’re a good teacher!

Front loops vs back loops… the way she describes it in this video is front loops and she puts her left needle in the front, BUT if you look at the way her right needle is in the stitches it’s technically back loops. I guess it’s just the way it’s described sometimes. Also she is slipping the first stitch kw and the second pw vs what I said. I may have heard it wrong or read it that way somewhere. I’d go with this video because her decreases are lovely.

Thanks for the video. I get Purl Soho emails all the time with so many good looking patterns and quality yarns - I’m not surprised to see such well-knitted decreases from them. And that is exactly what I call a standard ssk.

I’m smiling here because of the way you said ‘Front loops vs back loops…guess it’s just the way it’s described sometimes’. Problem is, for someone not completely familiar with lace knitting, they might think it’s an uncommon ssk, used mostly in lace knitting or something, and then spend a couple of hours trying to figure out how to k tbl of an ssk : ) …someone like me, for instance : ) …and then feel like a bonehead when they find out it’s just different wording for a standard stitch…like me! : )

However, it’s all in the learning, and oddly enough, I learn quite a bit while trying to figure things out - by taking different approaches, figuring out the interaction between stitches, changing the position of the yarn, etc., so it builds familiarity and know-how and it’s all good.

Thanks again - it’s so nice to know there’s a place to go for help when I run out of options.