New Stitch Wednesday: Increase and Decreasing

Happy Wednesday, crafters!

One of the most important things when working in any crochet pattern – especially an amigurumi pattern – is knowing how to increase and decrease in the row or round. Both techniques are simple, but they can seem daunting to a beginner. For this New Stitch Wednesday, I’m going to show you how to do a single crochet increase and one form of a single crochet decrease (or skip). Both are techniques I use almost every single one of my patterns.

You can increase and decrease with practically any stitch, but for the purposes of this tutorial, I’ve worked solely with the single crochet stitch.

When it comes to crocheting 3-dimensionally, knowing how to increase and decrease is great because it allows you to get a wide variety of shapes, as opposed to just squares and rectangles. When you understand these techniques, amigurumi patterns are easy! That’s basically all they are: a variety of increasing and decreasing rounds making different shapes.

Ready? Allons-y!

Increasing

To work a single crochet increase (sc inc):

  1. Start with a foundation swatch (mine is two rows of seven single crochet stitches across). When you’re ready to start increasing, work a first single crochet into the next space.
  2. Work a second single crochet in the same space as the last one. Basically, you are working multiple stitches in the same space. When worked in a row/block like this, it creates a slight upwards bend, like an inverted v (or ^), sloping downwards on either side of the increase.

Increase

See how easy? Depending on how drastic of an increase desired, some patterns my instruct you to crochet more than two stitches in the same space. This is usually written like: “work 5 sc in next st”.

(Note: When I write an increase into my pattern, I almost never use the “inc” abbreviation. Instead, I write it as “work 2 sc in next st”. That’s how I learned, so that’s how I write it.)

Decreasing

There are several ways to work a crochet decrease. The best way to describe the way I decrease is that I skip a stitch. This is commonly abbreviated in patterns as “sc2tog”, which means for you to “single crochet 2 together”.

To work a single crochet decrease (sc2tog):

  1. Start with a foundation swatch (mine is two rows of seven single crochet stitches across). When you’re ready to start decreasing, you will skip the next available space in the row below.
  2. Skipping the next available space, work a single crochet in the space following the next. (In picture 1b below, this is the space just to the right of my fingernail. In picture 2a, you can see the stitch that was skipped as I was mid-way through working the next single crochet. Picture 2b shows the same thing after I completed the single crochet.) Basically, you are just skipping a stitch and continuing your work in the next available space. When worked in a row/block like this, it creates a slight upwards dip, like a “v”, sloping upwards on either side of the decrease.

Decrease

Also pretty easy, right? With a little bit of practice, increasing and decreasing becomes second-nature. You can use these techniques to work hundreds – if not thousands – of different patterns, including my Sock Monkey Hat, Basic Beanie, and Disney Princess Amigurumi patterns! Happy crafting!

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