Last week I mentioned I was having an issue with my left-leaning decreases.
This is the back of the offending project before I ripped it
out . . . twice. You can't see it here, but there are mirror decreases for shaping. I was cruising right along, diligently doing my decreases. My left-leaning ones were a little sloppy, but I was sure blocking would help. A couple more inches after this picture was taken, I had to admit that blocking wasn't going to miraculously fix the situation, so I ripped it out.
It was time to adjust my ssk. For some time now, my preferred method for ssk has been slip, yank, twist, knit. See the link for all the details. This method has served me well, and I've been happy with the results. But for this project, I was left with a sloppy, jagged line. I think it's a combination of the yarn and the sharp contrast with k2tog which always leaves a straight, smooth line.
I did a little experimenting and reverted to one of my old ssk
methods - slip 1 as if to knit, slip 1 as if to purl, knit them together through the back loop. I got to work right away and knit up several inches with the ssk adjustment. The left line was better, but it still looked sloppy when compared to the k2tog line on the other side. I still wasn't satisfied.
Back to the drawing board. I ripped it out again and did a little more research. I stumbled across this post from Wendy at Muddy Sheep. She claimed that if you work that ssk stitch through the back loop on the next row, it will smooth everything out. Depending on your pattern, this will either be a purl through the back loop or a knit through the back loop. I tried her suggestion with my slip 1 as if to knit, slip 1 as if to purl ssk, and it made a noticeable difference.
If you really want to get in deep, Wendy also mentioned this video from Cat Bordhi. Cat recommends slipping a stitch in the row below the ssk to create a "hungry" stitch. I tried this method too, but it didn't create the neat stitches I was looking for - maybe because I'm working back and forth, not in the round. I haven't totally discounted Cat's method and will probably experiment with it some more.
For now, working that ssk stitch through the back loop has made my left-leaning decreases much neater.
Third time's a charm.
Here's a quick bonus. Tin Can Knits is celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas by offering a free pattern every day from now until December 25. Today's free pattern is Antler Mittens. Check it out.