Sunday, March 15, 2009

ssk vs. k2tog*

Apologies in advance: this post may bore you all to tears. But I do need your help, so please persevere for my sake!

EW's comment on my last post made me realize that the blog might appreciate an illustration of the differences between k2tog and ssk, so you all don't have to learn the hard way like I did. Until I started working on designing a project that highly featured both, I'd thought that they were perfectly interchangeable. And, being quite honest, I probably prefered the motion of the ssk, even though it had more steps. I'd read the TechKnitter's description of the difference (basically, ssk stretches out the stitches so they are a lot baggier than k2tog) but I'd filed that difference away as something that probably wouldn't affect my knitting much. After all, there are a lot of ways to perfect knitting that I never bother with, so why should I worry if my left-leaning decreases were a little sloppy? But then I started working on desigining a wristwarmer pattern that made the differences between the right-leaning k2tog and the left-leaning ssk all too apparent, so I've now got photographic proof.

The ssk is on the left and the k2tog is on the right. You can see how the k2tog creates relatively straight lines while the ssk meanders in clumsy steps. Now, if the project only included ssks, I'm not sure that it would be as noticeable. But when they are right next to k2togs, I've found the difference to be unfortunate.
I've found a number of suggestions for better left-leaning decreases online, but haven't found one that works particularly well with this pattern. Many of those techniques rely on being able to pick up stitches on the side of the decrease, which isn't possible in this pattern because the decreases are surrounded by yarn overs. I'm still hopeful that TechKnitter's solution will save the day, but I haven't had much success with it so far. (I think I'm messing up the yank somehow....)

In the latest iteration of this pattern, I'm using slip, knit (sk), which I think is better, but still not perfect.

Here the sk is on the left and the k2tog is on the right.

So. I'm opening it up again: any suggestions for a better left-leaning decrease that can be worked between two yarn overs?

* RJ, decoding is available at the end of this post.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Hmm, the TechKnitter's SYTK seems like a good solution actually....and wow, I was shocked at how different the k2tog and the ssk look in your lace pattern. I'll have to reexamine my ssk-ing to see if I notice the same effect.

I had noticed the my k2togs stuck out a bit from my knitting, more noticeably than my ssks, but if the big difference between there is where the excess yarn goes, that makes quite a bit of sense.

Ok, this comment isn't all that helpful, but I am more sympathetic to your problem now!