how to yf sl 1, k2tog, psso

As I usually do after publishing a new post, I scanned my previous hits and such and found a new search term that somehow hit my blog: “how to yf sl 1, k2tog, psso”.

Well, I know how to do that, and I even have a feeling that the search string contains a typo! So to help out future people who are accidentally thrown here searching for how to knit, here’s my mini tutorial.

yf sl 1, k2tog, psso

Taken as a whole, this instruction will reduce three stitches down to one stitch in the next row. The “standard” way to do this is not to bring the working yarn forward (the yf part). This is a non-standard way of doing this three into one reduction. Obviously the pattern author has some reason for requesting that the yarn be brought forward, but for my money it doesn’t make much difference in the final product (see my pictures at the end of this article).

The next sections will break down each part of this instruction.

yf sl 1

Translated, yf sl 1 means “Yarn forward, slip one.” There are two parts to this “move”—first to bring the yarn forward, then to slip one.

yf or Yarn Forward

Ordinarily when one knits, the yarn is held in the back of the work. When doing purl stitches, the yarn is held in front of the work. So the instruction yf or “yarn forward” means to bring the yarn in front of your work as if you are about to purl.


Usually, before a reduction like this, you do a yarn over, or “yo”, not a yarn forward.

sl 1 or Slip One

Slipping a stitch is simply moving one stitch from the left needle to the right needle without working it. There are two ways to slip. First, you can stick the right needle into the next stitch as if you are about to knit. Second you can stick the right needle into the next stitch as if you are about to purl.

The first way (sticking your needle into the next stitch as if you are about to knit) is the “non-standard” way to slip a stitch. This way of slipping results in a twisted stitch. If the pattern author wants you to slip in this way, it is usually indicated by a note that says “slip one as if to knit” or something similar. The only exception to this is when performing Barbara Walker’s SSK move, or “slip-slip-knit”. In that move, both the slips are done as if to knit.

The second way (sticking your right needle into the next stitch as if to purl) is the “standard” way to slip a stitch. If the instructions say “slip 1” or similar, with no other explanation, you can safely assume that you should slip as if to purl. This way of slipping the stitch does not produce a twist in the stitch.

k2tog or Knit Two Together

Just as the instructions suggest, this move asks you to knit two stitches together. One thing that the instructions leave out is the fact that you’re supposed to move the working yarn back to the back of the work.

To knit together two stitches, you insert your needle into the second and next stitch at the same time, and then knit one stitch from the working yarn. Pictures are easier than words here. One tip to a novice knitter or one who happens to knit very tightly is that sometimes it is easier to do this move if you first put your right needle into both stitches purl-wise to loosen up both stitches.

psso or Pass Slipped Stitch Over

Take the left needle and stick it into the stitch you passed to the right needle earlier. Lift that stitch up and carefully move it over the stitch you just made. Drop it off the end of the needle and it will fall neatly into place around the stitch you just made, facing the opposite direction of the two stitches you knit together.


So I tried this and it looks ugly. The yf is clearly wrong, or the designer is being extra cutesy for no reason at all. I think the instruction and the search string should have been yo, sl1-k2tog-psso.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.