Knitting left slanting decreases is one of most popular topics among knitters. They don’t look as good as right slanting decreases, they tend to look like “stairs” in lace knitting, they… well, if you are reading this – you already are unhappy with something about them.
You can find lots of tips how to make them look better. Some tips will work for you, some – don’t. It depends on what are you knitting, your knitting style, knitting tension, yarn and lots of other things. If you are patient enough – most probably you’ll find something what will work for you. Especially if you are Western style knitter. If you are Eastern style knitter – you’ll also find something, especially if you understand not only western languages. Things come a bit tricky if you a Combination (or Combined) style knitter (I am).
If you have no idea what knitting style you are using – these are good links which can help you to identify:
You are combined knitter when:
- You end with stitches mounted Western style AFTER you finish “knit row” in stockinette knitting
- You find your stitches mounted Eastern style AFTER you finish “purl row” in stockinette knitting and reverse your work for next “knit row”
Well, there’s also a “reversed combined” method and lots of others.
So, you are Combined knitter. When you knit, you stitches sit like this:
and you wrap your yarn like this:
You wrap yarn the same “counter clockwise” (when looking at the needle tip) way when knitting left slanting decrease
You purl as you are used – Eastern style:
and finally you are unhappy with your lace: right slanting decreases look good, left slanting decreases look like tiny stairs:
You know that blocking should fix most of this, but if you are like me – you want them to look better before blocking.
This is what works for me and requires the minimal amount of additional actions like twisting yarns / remounting / remembering to do something etc… I want my lace to progress as quick as it is possible and I don’t want to play with a single stitch for a long time. I think the method below would work for Western knitters also (see last paragraph, it works for me when knitting in the round). Sadly I can’t prove this for flat knitting – I purl Western style in some strange way, and my left slanting decreases then look the same as right slanting decreases :D (Sorry no tutorial for this as I don’t understand what I’m doing, guess this is only about knitting tension)
When you are Combined knitter, you know that “knitting to front / back of stitch” means completely different things for different knitting styles, so you prefer charts to written directions. From my early days on knitting I was being taught to knit to “leading leg” of the stitch if I don’t want it to be twisted. Sometimes it is in front, sometimes – it’s back, but it’s always “leading”.
This is what you have to do:
- Knit left slanting decrease Eastern way (yarn winds clockwise when looking at the needle tip). I know, at first you’ll say “it’s uncomfortable and slow”. Well, it’s worth learning, at least for some patterns.
- Purl this stitch as usual for Combined knitter, Eastern way. You do not want “twisted left leaning descrease”, so don’t forget you need to do this using leading leg of the stitch, as always! It will be “back leg” for this one:
What do you get from all of this? Well, better looking left leaning decrease. The top one is knitted using the method I’ve described above. The bottom one – usual “tiny stairs”.
You may ask – “and what about round knitting”? Well, for round knitting Combined knitters are forced to be Western style knitters – we have no reverse side of work to change direction of stitches. You can do the same – knit left slanting stitch Eastern style, then in next round (most of the time it will be “knit only” stitches) you knit that stitch as usual AND don’t forget to use correct leading leg – it will be different from other stitches.