I had great fun last week speaking to the Kawarthas Knitting Guild, on the topic of Entrelac.
I met some lovely people (ladies and a gentleman), and we learnt some new things, and had a good discussion.
We got talking about decreases, as you do with Entrelac. Directional decreases. Entrelac uses a p2tog which leans tidily to the right, and an ssk which leans tidily to the left.
S., a knitter almost as opinionated as me (and I mean that as a compliment!), said that she'd done a workshop on decreases a few weeks before. I made my usual confession about ssk being my favourite decrease. (It's not really about which decrease it is, it's more than I have a favourite decrease...)
And then she asked me about double decreases... you know, the s2k blah blah blah decrease.
And oh boy, do I have an opinion on this!
When you need to decrease two stitches, particularly in lace, you often see the following decrease used: sk2po. It's described as being a centered double decrease.
Well, yes and no. And I hate it.
It's worked as follows: slip 1 stitch knitwise, k2tog, and then pass the slipped stitch over the k2tog. It's absolutely centered, yes. It doesn't lean, in that it doesn't cause the fabric to lean - but it certainly looks like it leans. See the decrease on the left in this swatch:
And then look at the right decrease.
The one on the right is how I think you should do a centered double decrease: s2kpo. Slip 2 sts together knitwise, knit 1, then pass the 2 slipped stitches over the knit stitch.
Very tidy. Doesn't lean, decreases two stitches, and looks centered. It has a very strong vertical line which I think looks terrific.
It surprises me how many patterns call for the sk2po decrease for a centered decrease. I think it's ugly, and it can mess up the line of the pattern stitch.
Look at my Swallowtail shawl, for example. I love this pattern, don't get me wrong. But I think the leaf motifs would be much more attractive if the top decrease was centered.
What do you think?