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.


My kids’ school is having a knitting fundraiser. They were going to call it knitapalooza, but I suggested knitapurlooza instead. I guess the idea is to knit squares, sew them up into blankets, and then mail them to a third world charity that will distribute them. Much better to have your kids hit up the neighbors for sponshorships to knit squares than it is to run laps as with a jog-a-thon or walk-a-thon.

Cast on

Over the weekend I cast on for a cowl using some yarn my sister got me from Germany. Cast on 300 stitches on my new circular 4.5mm needles (also from my sister’s trip), joined in the round, and started knitting in a 1×1 rib. My sister liked a cowl that she saw in this shop, knit on the same needles and with the same yarn, but the instructions she got (jotted down in German) were to cast on 78 or so stitches and then knit up in garter stitch. The problem with that is then at the end I’d have to graft together the beginning and the end, and the fact that I hate back and forth knitting in garter stitch—too boring for words.

My goal is to do a round or two a day, so 300 to 600 stitches per day.

I’m surprised how weak my hands are. Pinkies and ring fingers on both hands are griping about being sore.

Knitting diamonds in the round, hm?

Blog stats are funny.  My incomplete and possibly incorrect posting for my original diamond lace hat is by far the most popular thing I’ve written (popular being a relative term, with only like 300 views).  Looking at the stats, it is mostly one off google searches for diamond lace knitted in the round, etc. etc.  So I really will make an effort to post the actual chart that I used for my second hat, which came off without any glitches and flew off my needles in two evenings.

I’m actually working right now on a cabled hat (v2) and am taking notes on the decreases.  The cables themselves are pretty easy (using Barbara Walker’s second knitting treasury as source, and her advice that fisherman’s sweaters are vertical cable samplers—so this hat is just a cable sampler).

But first I’ve got another monster project  (scarf) to finish.  My goal is 60 rows a night, but I’ve only done 18 and then 24.  At 24 rows a night, I will finish by Christmas, but with no time to spare.

Diamond lace knitted in the round part 3

Okay, my previous post on this diamond lace pattern was all wrong. I read Barbara Walker’s third book, and there is a throwaway line that when you knit in the round you can just skip the extra stitches at either side of the repeat pattern. I also figured out charting knitting patterns, and indeed that is true, both on paper and in reality. I banged out a test little cap that fits Grace’s American Girl doll.

And charting has helped me to figure out how to be more methodical in reducing towards the top of this hat. Not sure how things will pan out as I complete rows 11 to 20, but we’ll see, hopefully soon.

diamond lace

figured out the stitch for diamond lace by screwing up on rows 15 through 19, then trying to fix it and failing, undoing it, writing it out, and finally getting it right last night. Here are my rough notes, I will fix them up when I get home and can read my correct notes

The basic theory is that you enter and exit the diamond in certain ways. Entering is done with k2tog (to decorate the edge and to make up for the stitch you are about to add) then yf (for the hole in the diamond pattern). Exiting is yf (the hole) then ss k psso (for the decorative edge and to make up for the added stitch.

The tricky bit is the rows with just one hole (start and stop of diamond, rows 1 and 9 if I remember right—1 has one hole, 3 has two holes, 5 has two holes farthest apart, 7 has two holes, 9 has one hole) are done with the exiting pattern, that is, yf ss k psso, not the k2tog yf pattern. And to reduce the 3 knit stitches in the middle of the diamond to one stitch in the next row (surrounded by holes) you have to both psso and k2tog, so you do yf (hole) ss k2tog psso (one stitch from three) yf (second hole).

The first go around I didn’t know what the stitches were doing, and just blindly tried to adjust a straight knitting pattern to knitting in the round. Now I get what the stitches are doing in the finished work, it makes sense and I can see what really needs to be done. I guess I am a knitting engineer now, not a slave to the directions. Not a knitting scientist, however.

I will post the correct pattern tonight when I can read my notes and get it right.