Left-leaning decreases and right-leaning decreases look fantastic when done right! But when you have them all mixed up it may look rather messy.

There are actually two simple ways to know which way a knitting decrease will slant!

  1. Check which stitch is on top. If the left stitch is on top the decrease will lean to the right and vice versa.
  2. Keep an eye on your needle tip. The decrease will lean the same way as your knitting needle points when inserting it into the stitches.

The slant is determined by the position of the stitches

When making a knitting decrease, the direction of the decrease is determined by which stitch is placed on top of the other.

If the left stitch is on top of the right, the decrease will lean to the right.

For example, when knitting 2 together the left stitch ends up in front of the right stitch. This makes the decrease look like it’s leaning to the right.

If the right stitch is on top of the left, the decrease will lean to the left. 

When knitting 2 together thru the back loop the right stitch ends up on top of the left causing the decrease to lean to the right. The same goes for the popular skk, slip, slip, knit.

This took me ages to figure out, even though is rather obvious when you know it. I hope that you can have good use of this piece of knowledge too!

Where your tip points your decrease will lean

Keep a close eye on the tip of your working needle. The decreases tend to lean in the same direction that your working needle points when performing the decrease.

By the working needle I mean the needle you knit with, as opposed to the needle holding your stitches.

I will try to illustrate this with the knit 2 together (k2tog) and knit 2 together thru the back loop (k2tog tbl) decreases.

Right-leaning: When you knit 2 stitches together your tip will point to the right when inserted into the two stitches.

Left-leaning: When you knit 2 stitches together thru the back loop the tip points to the left when inserted in the two stitches you’re about to knit together.

I hope you put these tips to good use and that they can help with keeping track of the right-leaning and left-leaning knitting decreases!