for those of you who just need a little reassuring. If you got the manual with the secondhand machine you just bought or inherited, it's in there. You just need to do a little reading. ;)

The easiest decrease of all is just to move the stitch at the edge to the one next to it. Using a single eyelet tool, transfer the first stitch to the second needle. That puts two stitches on one needle and leaves the outside needle empty. Push it all the way back to what is called the non-working position or 'A' position. When you knit the next row the two stitches will knit together and you will have done one decrease. If you forget to put the empty needle back it will knit again and you will not have decreased - so be warned!

If you need to decrease two or more stitches at the edge of the work, you will just have to read your manual or get help! Seriously though, there are a couple of ways to do it, one of which I can try to explain, the other you need to see. Here's the easiest - you can move a stitch over as mentioned above, but then grasp the yarn that is going through the carriage arm and get a little slack in your fingers. Bring the needle out that has two stitches on it, just enough for the stitches to go behind the needle latch. Wind the yarn in your fingers around the needle once (in the "mouth" of the needle) and push the needle back with your fingers, so that it knits down the two stitches. You can continue doing this as many times as needed.

There's also a fully fashioned decrease, the kind that gives you a nice look on a raglan sweater. Use the three eyelet tool to move three edge stitches one needle inward so that the 3rd stitch from the edge is placed on the needle holding the 4th stitch. There will now be an empty needle at the edge. Push it down to non-working position. It's that easy. When you knit across the two stitches on one needle will knit down. Of course, there are other variations on it and lots of opinions as to which variation looks better. You can explore that later.

If you need to decrease several stitches, evenly, across a row you need a garter bar or you need to run the work off onto 6 - 8 rows of waste yarn, preferably a different colour than the colour you are using to knit with. (In case you didn't know, waste yarn is yarn you don't mind wasting.) Push into working position the number of needles required. Fold work so that you can use a single eyelet tool to pick up stitches of the last row knitted in the main yarn. Place 2 sts on the same needle at intervals across the work - space evenly - until all extra stitches are taken up.

Copyright©rvk Feb. 1999