Being able to increase and decrease stitches in crochet is useful when you are making all kinds of things. If you are making bowls, bags, hats or anything else that starts with a circle, you will need to know how and when to increase stitches (If you would like a tutorial on how the crochet a circle, you can find one here!). Equally if you want to make something that’s flat, like a beard for your little person, or if you are making soft toys or you want to add shape to a pretty scarf or a purse you need to know how to increase and decrease stitches.
Increasing stitches is the same whether you are crocheting rows or in the round.
To increase a stitch, you simply make 2 stitches into one stitch.
When crocheting in rows, usually you would increase a stitch or 2 in from the outside edge. Here is the completed row with the increased stitches. The corner kept curling upwards, which is why the scissors are there!It is the same whether you are crocheting double crochets or trebles. You just work 2 stitches into the same stitch. Here is a row with increased stitches at each end worked in trebles.
When crocheting a circle, you usually increase by 6 stitches each time round. So as the circle grows, you leave more stitches between the increases.
To decrease when working in double crochet you work 2 stitches together. Put the hook through the stitch and pull the yarn through so that you have 2 loops on the hook.Then put the hook through the next stitch and pull the yarn through. You will have 3 loops on the hook. Put the yarn over the hook and pull it through all 3 loops.
Decreasing trebles has more steps but the principle is the same. You just work half the stitch before moving onto the next one, then work them together.
Put the yarn over the hook, stick the hook through the stitch and pull a loop through, yarn over the hook and through 2 of the loops an the hook. You should be left with 2 loops on the hook and a stitch that looks like half a treble. Work half a treble into the next stitch in the same way.Then yarn over the hook and pull through 2 stitches,
then yarn over thehook and pull through the remaining three stitches.If you want to see the crocheted beard I referred to earlier, that post can be found here!
Happy crafting! xx