Crochet A to Z: Increasing and Decreasing

I’m doing the A to Z Challenge for the month of April with the theme “Learn to Crochet A to Z.” For more details, and to see previous posts, click here

Crochet A to Z-3

Hello! Today we’re going to talk about something that sounds a lot more intimidating than it actually is: increasing and decreasing, or how to add and subtract stitches. You’ll use this if you want to make something other than a rectangle, so it’s definitely a good skill to know. Increasing is a little easier, so we’ll start with that!

Increasing

It’s very simple: just put two stitches in the same stitch.

That’s it.

Okay, it gets a little more complicated if you’re doing a more complicated stitch pattern, but that’s beyond the scope of this series. :} Basically, if you’re making a row of stitches, you’ll have something that looks like this:

IMG_3994

This is a row of double crochet. We just finished making a stitch. Normally we would go into that next stitch, the next pink one, but if we’re making an increase, poke the hook into the same stitch – the one you already went into. Then finish your stitch like normal.

This will add one stitch into the row.

Decreasing

There are a couple of ways to decrease. The first is just skipping stitches, which is the easiest, but I wouldn’t recommend it in the long run because it leaves holes in your work. It can look really cool with more openwork patterns.

The second one is working two stitches together. I’ll show you how to do it using a single crochet (remember, you can check out my tutorial on that in the link at the top of the page!)

IMG_3996

You’ll single crochet along the row as normal until you reach the two stitches you want to decrease together. Into the first stitch, insert your hook, yarn over (wrap the yarn around the hook) and pull up a loop. There will be two loops on the hook.

IMG_3997

Do the same thing into the next stitch: insert the hook, yarn over, and pull up a loop. Now there are three loops on the hook. If you want to get technical, you’ve completed the first two steps of two single crochets, but you haven’t finished them off. That’s what we’re going to do in the next step.

IMG_3998

Finally, you’re going to yarn over (wrap the yarn around the hook), and pull through all three loops. This squashes the stitches together and effectively decreases them. The silver needle is pointing to the completed decrease in the photo above.

This method works for other stitches other than the single crochet, as well. The basic concept is that you work the stitch until there are two loops left on the hook, then you do the same thing into the next stitch. At that point, there will be three loops on the hook, whereupon you yarn over and pull through all the loops. I’ll walk you through how to do it with a double crochet.

  • Yarn over and insert the hook into the first stitch.
  • Yarn over and pull through the stitch. There are 3 loops on the hook.
  • Yarn over and pull through the first 2 loops. 2 loops are left on the hook, which means it’s time to work into the second stitch…
  • Yarn over and insert the hook into the second stitch.
  • Yarn over and pull through the stitch. There are 4 loops on the hook.
  • Yarn over and pull through the first 2 loops. 3 loops remain on the hook…
  • Yarn over and pull through all 3 loops.
  • Decrease complete!

As you can see, it’s not difficult to make a decrease, but it does look a little complicated at first. Don’t be afraid – once you try it, you’ll see it’s actually quite simple.

You can also increase and decrease more than one stitch – for example, you can make 3 stitches into one stitch, or single crochet 3 stitches together. There’s also such a thing as an invisible decrease. Google yields many tutorials for each of these things, so I’ll turn you over to the power of the Internet, or I’m always happy to supply links or tutorials!

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