It's time for more decreasing tutorials!
Purling two stitches together through the back loops is like purling two stitches together through the front loops (just to be painfully obvious), except it will pull the stitches in a different direction than a standard P2TOG would. The result can be very pretty. Or at least not lopsided.
Here's the video, which can also be found here.
I haven't had a chance to try out purling stitches together through the back loops, but I'm sure I will soon. I'm starting another dishcloth tonight, and I think I'm going to check the patterns in the book to see if any of them feature that technique.
I love when patterns let you know what stitches and techniques you'll need to use to work the pattern. It's a great way to find something to make that lets you seek out something new you want to try--or to avoid something you dislike. I tend to get in a rut (I'm knitting my seventh toboggan from some old pattern I found last year as a Christmas present. It's my third hat like this for just this season!), so I have to use those guides pretty carefully or I'll just seek out the same techniques over and over.
But there's not a lot wrong with that if you're trying to finish up those holiday gifts. Or that's what I keep telling myself. Christmas Day is one week away from today, and I hope you're happy with your holiday crafting progress. And if you're not, I hope you have a solid back-up plan. Mine is gift cards and some jars of dry soup ingredients that my husband put together. The soup jars look hearty and folksy, and I've noticed that Ravelry has a few cute ideas for making gift card holders. Be sure to select the 'knitting + crochet' option just so you can check out all of the cool ideas people have.
Best of luck to you in this final stretch!