After you’ve learned the basic crochet stitches, you’re well on your way to making projects. You mostly take up your single-ended crochet hooks or even the interchangeable Tunisian crochet hooks without attaching the cord for projects such as a scarf or a dishcloth. But, for projects such as hats or a sweater or Amigurumi, you’ll want to get comfortable with crochet increase and decrease techniques. Both are easy-to-learn techniques that help you add or reduce the stitch count to the previous row or round.
To help you get crafty, we’ll guide you through how to increase crochet stitches.
Understanding What Crochet Increase Means
Crochet increases are techniques to increase the stitch count in a row or round, particularly to give shape to a project. Now, the increases are worked with the same single ended crochet hooks and yarn. There are a few different methods to do it which can be chosen according to the crocheter’s comfort and skills. You can work with a yarn over, make a chain stitch or work the same crochet stitch twice. Increases in crochet can be made anywhere – at the beginning of the row or round, at the end or edge, and in the middle of the row.
Increase Abbreviations in Crochet
Pattern designers instruct the crochet increases with “inc” or increase in the next stitch. You may also come across instructions such as “2 sc/hdc/dc/ tr in next st”. This means the same thing: make 2 stitches into the same stitch. The techniques are written in a variety of ways, the increases work in the same steps. Before you begin knitting the pattern, read thoroughly the introduction and/or stitch abbreviation guide to know how and where to work crochet increases.
Of course, you don’t just increase in single crochet, you increase all types of crochet stitches. For advanced stitches too, you work two stitches at one time. Even for Tunisian crochet, the increases work in different methods. You can either choose to work two stitches, make a chain or simply yarn over to get an extra loop on the hook.
How to crochet increase
A crochet increase is a technique to add one or multiple stitches. You can work increases in single crochet, half-double crochet, double crochet, and more. Say, for example, you are working in single crochet, here’s how you will make an increase. After you’ve made a slip knot on the crochet hook, work according to the instructions. When it mentions increasing, start with a single crochet stitch. Insert the hook in the 2nd chain or as indicated in the pattern. Yarn over, and pull up a loop. Yarn over, and pull through two loops. Insert your crochet hook under both loops of the same stitch. Make a second single crochet stitch. It really is as simple as that. To increase one stitch in single crochet, simply work two stitches into one stitch.
For other basic stitches, the instructions remain the same. For HDC, you make two stitches in one stitch, increasing the count. For DC and TR, you’ll have a lot of loops on the hook so be careful to not drop the loop or let it loose. Work with a uniform tension so that the stitches are consistent for the increased stitches. If you have multiple increases in a row or round, tug at your yarn so that the loops remain at the same tension.
For increases in basic Tunisian crochet stitches, the rules are different. The subset of crochet works and looks like knitting. Each row or round is worked in two rows with the specialty interchangeable Tunisian crochet hooks. Your increase starts in the foundation pass and gets worked in the return pass. There are different Tunisian stitches, TFS (Tunisian Full Stitch) or TSS (Tunisian Simple Stitch) or basics such as TKS (Tunisian Knit Stitch) and TPS (Tunisian Purl Stitch). Though different in the way you work with yarn all of them are worked in 2-row patterns, so you will be working the increase in either rows or rounds.
How and where to use crochet increases
Crochet increase techniques are used for shaping projects. It can be applied to make right-fitting hats, shapely socks, add handles to a basket, work armholes and fitting necklines among many other things. Amigurumi, the Japanese art of crocheting or knitting stuffed toys works with multiple increases and decreases. Here the use of invisible increases are required so that there is no visible gap in the fabric with the stuffing peeking out.
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