Yesterday I posted about the beauty of slipping that first stitch and the edge it creates. That post generated some conversation that got me to thinking about slipped stitches and when to use them. So what is a slipped stitch any way?

Slipped Stitch

A slipped stitch is passed from the left needle to the right needle without being knitted. In other words you don’t work it. In the pattern I am working on the directions are specific, I have to slip the stitch purl wise, meaning act like I am going to do a purl stitch but don’t. That makes sense right?

Types of Slipped Stitches

As I said the dialogue got me to thinking about the different ways I have slipped a stitch depending on the pattern. So I pulled out my trusty knitting books…of which I have many, to research slipped stitches.


In knitting you have 2 basic stitches and therefore you have 2 basic ways to slip a stitch: Knit or purl wise. Translation you act like you are going to knit/purl but don’t, just slip the stitch to the left needle to the right needle. In this case the focus is on how you insert the needle.

Then you have SWYIF (slip with yarn in front) which means pull your yarn to the front of your work, then slip the stitch (knit or purl wise) or SWYIB (slip with yarn in back) same concept just move the yarn behind your knitting. If you are visual like me, here is a nice video demonstration.

You guys remember this scarf?? I did this around Christmas time

IMG_2344 this pattern calls for SWYIB/IF and that is how you get stripes on one side and checks on the other. Clever right? By merely not working a stitch and moving the yarn in front or make magic. Who knew?

During the color play class on the Stephen & Steven tour we talked about using slipped stitches with your colors to jazz up a project. I forget what Shawl this is by Westknits, but look….you see how the slipped stitch sort of lays on top of the other color creating a nice little Pop to the shawl?


SSK  (slip, slip knit) is another popular use of the slipped stitch. This is a way to decrease stitches. You pass each stitch to the right needle then knit them together.

So yes it will give you beautiful edges on your work..but those unworked stitches can do so much more.

Have you ever used the slipped stitch for anything other than edging?

Knit on my fiber friend..knit on