Knitting Nuances

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Master the Showy Decrease, part 2

The Vertical Showy Decrease (updated August 2017)

Hold on to your hat, because now we’re diving deep into the details of knitting a vertical Showy Decrease line. Don’t worry, I’ve done most of the work for you, but I am hoping you’ll pull out your needles and yarn to swatch this with me. If knitting all the options sounds like too much work, I’ll include a swatch at the end with just the best two options for you to try.

V_Showy_ComparisonWhat’s Different?

The  difference between the Diagonal Showy Decrease from the last post and the Vertical Showy Decrease is the position of the increase. When moved to the right of a k2tog, the increase holds the decrease in place and creates a vertical line. In this case, we don’t want the increase to show so the raised line really stands out.

Adding a Temporary Partner Stitch

The other difference is the vertical Showy Decrease line has a partner stitch that is ‘eaten’ by the k2tog on the next row/round. This stitch prevents the first k2tog from leaning to the right and better maintains gauge. Since we want the partner stitch to disappear it’s important that it stay nice and snug. So which increase works the best? Let’s take a look.

This swatch shows 4 options, from left to right, they are:

  1. Yarn over, then purl the yarn over normally on the next row.
  2. Yarn over, then purl through the back loop to close the eyelet.
  3. Yarn over in reverse, then purl normally to close the eyelet.
  4. Make 1 by adding a loop to the right needle (turn the yarn counterclockwise).

As you can see, the first two yarn over methods leave a gap to the right of the decrease. This was the first time I had knit options 1 and 2 side by side. I was a bit surprised to see how much gap was left even after the yo was purled closed on the next row. Let’s take a closer look.V_Showy_Compare_Details

How to Work a Make 1 Loop Increase: Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Make 1 Loop increase is worked by grabbing a strand of yarn with your left hand adding it to the right needle. We modify it for the Vertical Showy Decrease only by twisting it counterclockwise. The Make 1 increase results in the neatest looking Vertical Showy Decrease because the yarn is a bit shorter than the yarn over in reverse. I find it faster to yarn over in reverse so I tend to use it unless the increase is in a location where it will be highly visible, then I use the m1 increase.

V_Showy_HeightThere’s one more benefit to these two options. They result in more depth. Take a closer look at the two vertical lines on the right and you’ll see that they rise higher up off the face of the stockinette fabric because there’s a real stitch there to prop them up.

Here is the full set of instructions if you’d like to swatch this for yourself. There’s a simpler version below if you only want to compare the right two options.


When you knit one of our patterns, chances are you will use both the yarn over in reverse and make 1 loop increases. The swatch below lets you try first one, then the other to see which works best for you.

YOr (yarn over in reverse)

YO_ReverseA reverse yarn over increase is paired with a k2tog to create vertical Showy Decreases without an eyelet. When you yarn over in this direction, you can knit or purl it normally on the next round or row to close the eyelet (instead of working it through the back loop). It also prevents the rib from stretching out so don’t ignore this step).

To yarn over in reverse, wrap the yarn counterclockwise over the top of the right needle. The yarn sits like this / on the needle.


That’s it! You made it! It’s really pretty straight forward if you have yarn in your hands to try it. We’ll link back to this post in any pattern that uses this technique.

You can see how we used it in the Fiftyfifty Shell published in the spring Knitty and it really stands out when used with garter stitch.

Next UpIf you’re a designer and want to incorporate these ideas into your design just send a note and I’d be happy to help.


11 comments on “Master the Showy Decrease, part 2

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  6. lolinda
    January 28, 2015

    Thank you for your thoughtful, almost scientific, approach to these topics. I’ve been using the ‘yarn over reversed’ on the first purl after a cable to eliminate the hole. But your idea expands the use of this helpful technique. When knitting back on the wrong side is there any trick to knitting that stitch? Also can you use this technique while knitting in the round? Thank you again.

    • Laura Cunitz
      January 28, 2015

      Lolinda, Thanks for the comment and question! I like the Reverse Yarn Over because it can be closed on the next row by purling it normally instead of purling through the back loop which I always find awkward. If you’re leaving the eyelet open there’s no need to reverse the yarn over. Yes, it works in the round and I think it still creates a smaller gap when knit to close. The only time it’s hard is just in front of a purl stitch, then I use the Make 1 Loop counterclockwise instead. More on that soon.

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This entry was posted on December 2, 2014 by in Nuances, Showy Decrease.

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