How to Decrease When Knitting a Hat? Taper Your Knit Cap

HomeTechniquesHow to Decrease When Knitting a Hat? Taper Your Knit Cap

Decreasing in knitting is a helpful technique to shape your knitting project. It involves knitting two or more stitches together, which reduces the total number of stitches on the needle. This technique is commonly used to create a tapered end, decrease the size of a sleeve, or shape the crown of a hat. There are different ways to decrease in knitting, including knit two together (K2tog), slip slip knit (SSK), and knit three together (K3tog). It’s important to follow the pattern instructions to achieve the desired result.

Hey there, happy knitter! Are you looking to learn how to decrease when knitting? Decreasing is a great way to reduce the number of stitches on your needle and create beautiful patterns in your work.

In this article, we’ll go over all the basics of decreasing and give you some techniques you can use.

So let’s get started!

Overview of Decreasing

You can easily create stunning, intricate patterns with just a few simple techniques – decreasing is one of them! In knitting, decreasing refers to the process of reducing the total number of stitches on the needle by combining two or more stitches together.

Decreasing is usually done for shape and design purposes in various projects, from sweaters to hats. There are several alternative methods for decreasing as well, so you may want to experiment with different techniques before swatching your gauge.

When learning how to decrease, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the most commonly used decreases first. The knit 2 together (k2tog) decrease creates a right-leaning slant while its counterpart, purl 2 together (p2tog), creates a left-leaning slant.

Slip 1 stitch knitwise (sl1 kw) and pass slipped stitch over (psso) will create an even right-leaning decrease when worked together in succession. For left-leaning decreases that don’t cause any twist in the stitches, use slip 1 stitch knitwise (sl1 kw), slip 1 stitch purlwise (sl1 pw) and pass slipped stitches over (psso).

To practice these methods and perfect your tension when working decreased rows or rounds, work up some gauge swatches using each technique separately. This way you can be sure to get consistent results when following a pattern that requires specific types of decreases at certain stages of your project.

As you become more confident in your skillset, you can move onto other less common forms of decreases like ssk or centred double decrease which require a bit more finesse but add interesting textures and patterns into your knitting repertoire.

No matter which type of decrease you choose to use in your next project, understanding how each method works will help ensure successful results every time!

Gather Supplies

Gather your yarn and needles – it’s time to craft some cozy creations! Before you begin decreasing your stitches, there are several supplies you’ll need to gather.

First, consider gathering techniques that make knitting easier. A ball winder can be used to turn skeins of yarn into a more organized form so they can be worked with more easily. It can help save time when winding multiple colors or a large amount of yarn at once. You may also want to choose circular needles — these are two short needles connected by a flexible cord. They’re perfect for projects like sweaters and scarves that require lots of stitches at one time without taking up much space on the needle.

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When selecting yarns for your project, check out the recommended gauge range printed on the label — this will tell you how many stitches per inch (or centimeter) you should aim for when knitting in order to get the desired size or fit of your finished piece. You’ll also want to pick a fiber type based on its properties. Wool is great for warmth but is not always comfortable against sensitive skin, while cotton is lightweight but tends to stretch out over time if used too loosely. Finally, choose colors that coordinate together well — nothing says ‘homemade’ like mismatched hues!

Gauge swatches are another essential tool. They allow you to test out different sizes and types of needles before starting your project so that you know how many stitches per inch (or centimeter) will give you the right final size and shape. Start by casting on around 20-30 stitches using a medium weight yarn then knit until it’s about 4 inches (10 cm) long. Measure across this swatch and calculate how many stitches were made per inch (or centimeter). If it’s too loose, switch up the needle size until you reach the desired gauge range printed on the label of your selected yarns.

Now that all of your supplies are gathered and ready for use, let’s move onto understanding basic decrease methods! With just a few simple steps, we’ll have those stitch numbers lowered in no time…

Understand the Basics

To begin decreasing your stitch count, let’s take a look at the basics.

To start, it’s important to remember that when decreasing in knitting, you’re reducing the total number of stitches on the needle.

A few things to keep in mind include: choosing an appropriate pattern for your project and skill level, understanding basic knitting techniques such as knit two together, and knowing which type of decrease will be most effective for the desired outcome of your project.

When selecting a pattern for your project, choose one that best suits both the yarn you’re using and your level of knitting experience.

If you’re unfamiliar with certain techniques mentioned in the pattern description or directions, do some research or practice beforehand so you know what to expect while finishing your piece.

It may also help to ask more experienced knitters if they have any tips or tricks.

Once you understand how each decrease works and its effects on the final product, you can decide which ones are right for your project.

With all these things considered, it’s time to put these basics into practice!

You now have everything needed to start decreasing stitches successfully and effectively in order to create beautiful projects that reflect your knitting skills.

Moving forward, let’s learn about different decreasing techniques so we can get started on our next masterpiece!

Learn Different Decreasing Techniques

Let’s start by discussing K2tog, which stands for Knit 2 Together. This is the most common type of decrease used in knitting and it involves taking two stitches and knitting them together as if they were one stitch.

With SSK (Slip, Slip, Knit), you’ll slip a stitch from your left needle to your right needle twice, then knit those two stitches together.

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Lastly, K3tog (Knit 3 Together) is similar to K2tog but with three stitches instead of two – this technique will create a more dramatic decrease.

K2tog (Knit 2 Together)

You can decrease your knitting project quickly by using the K2tog technique. For example, if you’re making a scarf for a friend, you can use this technique to reduce the total number of stitches and finish faster.

K2tog is an abbreviation for ‘Knit 2 Together’ and it involves slipping two stitches from the left needle onto the right needle. Then, inserting your right-hand needle into both these stitches at once and knitting them together as one stitch. This will help decrease tension in your work by reducing the total number of stitches on the needle.

K2tog not only decreases tension but also helps create uniform edges that are necessary when creating items like mittens or hats with ribbing. Additionally, it helps maintain even stitch tension throughout your project which is important when creating items like sweaters or blankets that require consistent stitching.

The K2tog technique is easy to learn and will become second nature after some practice, allowing you to quickly reduce stitches while maintaining quality of your work. Without further ado, let’s delve into ‘ssk (slip, slip, knit)’.

SSK (Slip, Slip, Knit)

SSK is another great way to quickly decrease your project’s tension, allowing you to create even edges and maintain consistent stitch tension throughout. This slip stitch pattern requires that two stitches be slipped from the left needle onto the right needle one at a time (slip 1, slip 1). The stitches are then knitted together by inserting the left-hand needle into both loops on the right-hand needle, yarn over and pull through.

Stitches Slip Knit Together
Slip 1 Yes
Slip 2 Yes

This technique will reduce your total number of stitches while keeping an even tension in your yarn. It is particularly useful when knitting lace or ribbed projects because it creates an aesthetically pleasing look without disrupting the original yarn tensioning. With SSK, you can easily decrease without having to worry about creating unsightly gaps in your project! Transitioning seamlessly into the next section, k3tog (knit 3 together) is a great choice for decreasing three stitches at once.

K3tog (Knit 3 Together)

Now let’s move on to another type of knit decrease called K3tog (Knit 3 Together). This technique is similar to the SSK (Slip, Slip, Knit) decrease, but instead of slipping just two stitches off the left needle, you slip three stitches off the left needle and then knit them together as one stitch.

K3tog works best with light to medium weight yarns and can be used in a variety of different knitting patterns. It’s a great way to create more intricate stitch patterns while decreasing your total number of stitches. With some practice, you’ll be able to master this technique so that you can easily incorporate it into your projects.

Practice Decreasing

Working through this section, you’ll learn how to combine stitches to create a decrease in your project. Decreasing is an important part of knitting and can be applied to many projects such as hats, shawls, sweaters, and more. With some practice and troubleshooting tips, you can become an advanced knitter with the ability to confidently decrease when needed.

To ensure that you’re decreasing correctly, here are a few things to keep in mind:

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Preparing for the Decrease:

Check your pattern for any special instructions or techniques that need to be used when making the decrease. Make sure your tension is even throughout the row so there are no gaps between stitches.

Executing the Decrease:

Carefully follow each step of the pattern instructions for executing the decrease without leaving out any steps. Pay attention while counting your rows and make sure that they match up with what is written in your pattern.

Finishing Up:

Counting your stitches again after completing all of the decreases will help make sure that everything was done correctly.

With all these tips and tricks, you should now have a better understanding of how to properly execute decreases while knitting! As you continue practicing this crafty skill set, don’t forget to take breaks as needed and have patience with yourself as mistakes happen – it’s only natural! Now that you know how to safely decrease when knitting, you’re ready for finishing up your project!

Finishing Your Project

Now that you’ve mastered decreasing, it’s time to wrap up your project and bask in the glory of all your hard work!

Before you can do that, however, you need to plan out the last few steps. That means having a good idea of what kind of blocking techniques you want to use. Will it be wet or steam blocking? Will you need to weave any loose ends? These are important factors for project planning.

Once your project is ready for the finishing touches, blocking is key. Blocking can help open up stitches, make edges neater, even out rows and columns, and set your stitches so they look neat and polished.

If you’re using a wool yarn, there’s no better way than wet blocking. However, if it’s a synthetic blend, then steam blocking might be the best choice. No matter which technique you choose, make sure to measure before and after so that your finished product has the exact measurements as specified in the pattern.

This is especially important for garments like sweaters or hats since they need specific sizes for them to fit properly. Finally, take some time to weave in any remaining loose ends – this helps keep everything looking neat and tidy! By taking these extra steps at the end of each knitting project, not only will it look great but also help ensure that your hard work doesn’t unravel over time – now go show off all those beautiful decreases!


You’ve knit your way through decreasing and you should be proud! You can now confidently decrease by knitting two or more stitches together, reducing the total number of stitches on the needle.

The feeling of accomplishment when you finish a project that has been meticulously decreased is undeniable. It’s like a wave of joy washes over you as each stitch slowly disappears from the pattern.

So don’t be afraid to take on any decreasing project – with practice, it’ll become second nature and before you know it, your projects will look flawless every time!

Katherine Pearce
Katherine Pearce
Katherine Pearce is a knitting enthusiast and the founder of With a deep passion for the craft, Katherine aims to make knitting accessible to everyone, regardless of their skill level. Through, she provides online tutorials and resources to help others discover the joys of knitting and develop their skills.

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