Lesson

Chapter 5: Decreasing

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Overview

Decreasing is going to be a bit more difficult than increasing. The first thing to know about decreasing is that you will end with less stitches than you started with, rather than more stitches like increasing. For example, you’ll want to go from 18 stitches, down to 12, meaning you decrease 6 times throughout the round.

The tricky part is that there are a lot of ways to decrease, all of which offer different pros and cons, so let’s talk about them…

What you'll learn

01

Single Crochet 2 Together (sc2tog)

02

Sharp Decrease (dec)

03

Invisible Decrease (invdec)

04

Skipping Stitches

05

When to Decrease

What you'll need

Cotton Yarn

Any color

Crochet Hook

Size G6 / 4.00mm

Abbreviations

ch

Chain

st

Stitch

yo

Yarn Over

sc

Single Crochet

inc

Increase

sc2tog

Single Crochet 2 Together

dec

(Sharp) Decrease

invdec

Invisible Decrease

The Lesson

Note:

These boxes are checkboxes

  • (07:45)

These time codes correlate to the video for this lesson

The Three (main) Ways to Decrease

These methods are mostly used for single crochet, but some of the methods, like sc2tog, can be used for other stitches (which you’ll learn later on).

01

Single Crochet 2 Together (sc2tog)

  • (00:55)

In patterns you’ll often see “dec” written as the abbreviation for a decrease. Usually, they are referring to this method. But a more accurate abbreviation (which you also will find in patterns) is “sc2tog”.

This the easiest method, but in my opinion not the best mostly because it can be very noticeable and doesn’t decrease as sharply as other methods. That being said, the “Single Crochet 2 Together” is the method you should use as a beginner.

Step 1

Insert the hook in the next st
yo (yarn over) and pull through

Step 2

Now repeat the process, Insert the hook in the next st, yo and pull through again.

There should be 3 loops on the hook now

Step 3

Finally, yo and pull a loop through all 3 loops on the hook to finish the stitch.

02

Sharp Decrease (dec)

  • (01:39)

I like to simply call this a decrease, but the correct name would be the sharp decrease, or a slip stitch 2 together (slst2tog). This is because it can be used to make a really flat and sharp end to your piece. It’s great to use at the end of your amigurumi projects to really close in the hole, but I wouldn’t use it throughout a project because it can be very noticeable.

Step 1

Insert the hook in the next st
yo (yarn over) and pull through

The beginning of this stitch is exactly the same as the sc2tog, but the end is different.

Step 2

Insert the hook in the next st, yo and pull through again.

Then pull this same loop through the two on the hook.

Notice how this really pulls the stitch in and makes it close in more rapidly. Great if you need to make a flat bottom, but not if you were trying to make a less noticeable decrease, like in a beanie.

03

Invisible Decrease (invdec)

  • (02:35)

A personal favorite; like the name suggests, the invisible decrease (aka: InvDec) is the least noticeable decrease. It’s mostly used in amigurumi, but can really be used for any pattern as long as you’re working in the round. It’s a great alternative to the sc2tog.

The two cons are that invisible decreases can be a bit difficult to do at first, and they don’t decrease as drastically as the other method (sharp decrease) will.

But before we learn this awesome stitch, we need to talk about the front and back loops of your stitch again…

The Front and Back Loops

Okay, so now that you know the difference between front and back loops, let’s learn the invisible decrease:

Step 1

Insert the hook in the front loops of the next 2 stitches

The easiest way to do this is to go one by one

Step 2

Now you just have to make a single crochet.

yo, and pull through the two front loops.

Finish by yo again then pulling through the last two loops on the hook.

Note:

I rarely, if ever use the sc2tog for my pieces. This is because its basically the same thing as the InvDec, but more noticeable. Think about what you’re trying to accomplish in your piece before you choose which method to use.

04

Skipping Stitches

  • (04:25)

I should also mention you can also skip stitches to decrease. It’s really only useful at the very beginning of a Row when you’re working flat. I left it out of the list because:

A) It’s really easy and obvious, you just… skip a stitch..

B) It’s the worst method to use when your working in the Round because it leaves big holes in your piece, so, disclaimer: do not use skipping stitches to decrease in the round.

05

When to Decrease

  • (04:49)

Now if you want to use a decrease in your piece and you’re working in the Rnd, what do you do?

Well, you can decrease at any time you want, but to make it even and steady we have to decrease evenly throughout your piece. Remember how when we were increasing we only increased by what we made in our first Rnd (6)?

When you’re starting out crocheting, I highly suggest you stick to the exact same method but replace the increases in the tutorial with decreases.

For example, we have 18 stitches and we want to go evenly by the same amount we started with (6 stitches in Rnd 1, remember?), so we decrease 6 times throughout the round. Where we do this is the same as increases too.

Let’s look back at Rnd 3 from Chapter 4 (not Row 3, but Rnd 3, when we were increasing in the Rnd).

Rnd 3: [sc 1, inc] repeat 6 times total (18)

In that Rnd we:
sc 1 in the first stitch, then increased in the next, repeating that process 6 times total, and ended up going from 12 stitches, up to 18.

Now we are going to do the same thing but decrease instead of increase.

[sc 1, dec 1] repeat 6 times (12)

Now that you know the basics to decreasing, we can finally, make three-dimensional projects like amigurumi. You’ll also have to learn how to stuff and sew a piece together though, which we’ll go over in our next project for a sphere / hacky sack and again in Chapter 10.

Continue to Project 4...

This is one of the first patterns I ever made. I used to make tons of these for friends and family because they’re super simple to make and only take a few minutes.

Add a bobby pin in the back to make it a hairpin, or add a safety pin to pin it to a garment!

Continue to Chapter 6...

First, you already know almost all the steps for this stitch from the sc2tog from the last chapter, and it’s going to be just a bit easier to go from the half double crochet to the double crochet.

I know, it’s a weird name, but it’s called the “half – double crochet” because it’s just a little bigger than the single crochet and a little smaller than the double crochet (which is double the size of a single crochet).

Comments

  1. Dominique

    When I started to crochet I only knew sc2tog, after a while a learned invdec. Just awesome that decrease. And now I learned the sharp dec, this opens a whole new world for me!

    1. Louie Mensinger Post author

      Yah I started with the sharp decrease and always wondered why my decreases looked so weird! When I found the InvDec it changed my life, but I still found some use for the sharp decrease too 🙂

  2. Emma Bowles

    I am so grateful for this website, I started teaching myself to crochet at the start of this week and I feel like I am making great progress because of this amazing resource. Thank you so much!