Double Crochet Increases and Decreases

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Working with increases and decreases can sound a little intimidating, especially if it’s a new technique for you. I promise, it’s pretty straight forward and easy to learn. You’ll come across this method quite often in crochet, especially with scarves, hats and other wearables.

Today I’m sharing a crochet tutorial on how to work an increase and decrease using the double crochet stitch.


Working with increases and decreases is something you’ll come across within crochet projects. Adding stitches creates an increase to widen or make a project larger. Combining two stitches into one creates a decrease to make projects smaller or narrower.

Working an increase or decrease can be done in rounds or in rows. In rounds, a great example would be when making a hat. If you’re working from the top down, you’ll need to use increases to make the hat bigger. Once you reach the appropriate diameter, you’ll stop increasing and continue the same stitch count to maintain that size. If you’re working from the bottom up to the top of the hat, you’ll need to decrease to make the hat smaller since you’re working from the widest part (the brim).

When working in rows, you might use increases or decreases when making wearables. Items like cardigans and sweaters might require you to add or decrease stitches based on the section of the project or the size and fit you’re working on. Some shawls and scarves make use of increase and decreasing to create an eye-catching design or style.

Let’s work on some double crochet increases and decreases together by making a small swatch:

Materials:
– Worsted weight yarn
– 4-6mm crochet hook

Notes:
– Increases are made by adding 2 DC into one stitch
– Decreases are made by turning 2 stitches into 1 stitch
– For simplicity, this tutorial will be working the increases/decreases into the end of the row. This technique can be done in various places throughout a project. It’s important to always read through the notes and details of each individual pattern for appropriate placement.

Stitches:
CH – Chain
DC – Double Crochet
DC DEC – Double Crochet Decrease
DC INC – Double Crochet Increase

Tutorial (working in decreases):

Begin with CH 11

Row 1:
Into the second CH from your hook and each stitch across the row, place 1 DC. CH 2 and turn.
(10 DC stitches)

Row 2:
Into the first stitch and each stitch across the row, place 1 DC until there are two unworked stitches remaining.

Yarn over, insert hook into stitch. Yarn over, pull up a loop (3 loops on hook). Yarn over, pull through 2 loops on hook (two loops remaining on hook). Yarn over and insert hook into next stitch. Yarn over, pull up a loop (4 loops on hook). Yarn over and pull through 2 loops on hook (3 loops remaining on hook). Yarn over, pull through all 3 loops on hook. DC DEC complete.
(9 DC stitches)

The above may also be written like this within a pattern: “In the last 2 unworked stitches, make 1 DC DEC.”

Helpful photos are below:

Your project will begin to narrow if you continue making a decrease at the end of each row. Because you turn your work, a continued decrease will result in a triangle shape. If you decrease every other row, one side will remain straight while the other side will narrow. In rounds, a decrease will begin to create a bowl shape when worked in a circle or oval.

Let’s try working with increases now:

An increase is much simpler than a decrease because you’re just adding 2 stitches into one space.

Begin with CH 11

Row 1:
Into the second CH from your hook and each stitch across the row, place 1 DC. CH 2 and turn.
(10 DC stitches)

Row 2:
Into the first stitch and each stitch across the row, place 1 DC until there is one unworked stitch remaining. Into the last stitch, place 2 DC. DC INC complete.

(11 DC stitches)

The above may also be written like this within a pattern: “In the last 1 unworked stitch, make 1 DC INC.”

Helpful photos are below:

Your project will begin to widen if you continue making an increase at the end of each row. Because you turn your work, a continued increase will result in a triangle shape (working from single point and widening). If you increase every other row, one side will remain straight while the other side will grow in width. In rounds, an increase will expand a circle or oval and if done in the appropriate place, will grow your project but will also remain flat (think of a mandala or coaster).

And that’s how you decrease and increase with the double crochet stitch. I hope you found this tutorial helpful! Looking for more tutorials or free patterns? Click the buttons below to see what’s available:

Happy Crocheting!

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