We’re still knitting Christmas balls, and no, they won’t be ready for this year, they’re for next year. Last week we’ve elaborated a little bit about a few types of increases and decreases that might be suitable for knitting a ball. This week we’ll try to match increases and decreases. Visually the same Let’s start with the idea that we’re proud of our increases and decreases. We would like to use them as a decorative element in the ball. Visually both left lifted increase – knit 1 – right lifted increase and knit 2 together – slip slip knit show as a double column of stitches lying on top. Let’s try to combine them! But … by reading the description alone you notice that something isn’t right: the increase goes over 3 stitches, the decrease only over 2! What looks like a two columns of stitches in the increase is in fact half a stitch, a stitch and another half stitch. It’s actually shifted to the left or the right by half a stitch compared to the decrease. So they don’t align! The same stitch count To keep things symmetrical and in order to use the same number of stitches I’ve combined left lifted increase – knit 1 – right lifted increase with knit 2 together – knit 1 – slip slip knit but then they don’t look the same! Similar effects result from the following combinations: left lifted increase – right lifted increase with knit 2 together – slip slip knit right lifted increase – knit 2 – left lifted increase with knit 2 together – slip slip knit We’re still looking for a different solution: Double decreases! In a double decrease you work three together into one stitch. Right lifted increase – knit 1 – left lifted increase is a similar increase, because you create three stitches out of one. You’re actually using the same loop from the stitch below the middle stitch for both lifted increases. But that makes a hole and that’s a no go for Christmas balls, the filling would come out! The example above shows the slip 1 as if to purl – knit 2 together – pass slipped stitch over double decrease. It can also be done with the slip 2 together as if to knit – knit 1 – pass slipped stitches over double decrease, as shown below, but that makes for a somewhat awkward result. The decreases almost disappear into nothingness and create an inward fold in the fabric while the increases lie explicitly on top of the fabric and create an outward fold in the fabric. Two stitches Juxtaposing make 1 left and make 1 right or the other way around creates something rather nice to look at and it combines perfectly with slip slip knit – knit 2 together. But none of these is stretch proof. This increase and and both decreases leave holes when stretched. Unobtrusive So maybe in the end it’s best to make the shaping as unobtrusive as possible … Make 1 left – knit 1 – make 1 right or make 1 right – knit 1 – make 1 left combine both rather well with slip slip knit – knit 1 – knit 2 together, although the decrease still tends to stretch a bt too much. The best result I found was the combination of right lifted increase – knit 1 through the back loop – left lifted increase with the slip 1 as if to purl – knit 2 together – pass slipped stitch over double decrease. Note the knit 1 through the back loop. It changes everything and makes this increase the most invisible I’ve found so far! Picking up the loop for the left lifted increase tends to be a bit difficult when working this way. I’ve found it easier to work the right lifted increase, then to slip the next stitch as if to knit through the back loop, then to pick up the loop for the left lifted increase with the left needle, then to work the middle stitch from the right needle and then to complete the left lifted increase. The conclusion? There’s no perfect solution, but thinking things through leads to a better result than just picking the one increase or decrease one happens to use most frequently.