Crochet Basics: How to Increase in Crochet
Here is a beginner’s guide to increasing in crochet – an essential skill for achieving shaped items like hats, bags, amigurumi, and much more! Use shaping to gradually straighten or round the ends of a piece, or as part of a decorative stitch pattern. Learn the general technique and the key points that you need to know about crocheting increases.
Increasing and decreasing the number of stitches in your work are the primary ways to achieve shaping, allowing you to make all kinds of items. Today, I’d like to focus specifically on increasing, but next time we’ll cover decreasing as well. Increasing technique lets you add stitches per round or row, increasing the size of your project. A project is made longer by adding more rows, but it is made wider by adding increasing stitches.
The best place to begin when learning to increase is working in rows with basic crochet stitches. This is true whether you’re using single crochets, half double crochet, double crochet, etc.
The technique is really simple. All that it means is that you are adding stitches to the row, so that the row you are working on will have more stitches than the row below it. This is done by working more than one stitch into a stitch from the row below.
If you are reading a pattern, it may call an increase “inc”. Other times, the designer will simply just tell you to 2sc (or 2 dc, etc) in the next stitch. Both mean the same thing: work 2 stitches in the same stitch.
When an increase is worked at the beginning of a row, the work will slant to the right. This is a single crochet increase. Single crochet in the first stitch and then single crochet in the exact same stitch.
Want to know how to increase in crochet at the end of the row? Simply crochet 2 stitches in the same stitch. This will make the work slant to the left.
Here you may see how it works:
Crochet increases in the round
Now that you understand the basics of a crochet increase in rows, let’s talk about increasing in the round.
The good news is that making increases in the round is essentially the same as in row — you just make two stitches into one space. However, things get tricky when it comes to shaping.
The math behind increasing in the round
There’s a bit more math involved when working in the round, especially when making perfect circles. Without the right number of increases, your circle will fail to lay flat.
If you make a circle and then continue in rounds without increasing, you will start to get a bowl shape — ideal for making this hats and baskets.
It’s essential to begin with right number of stitches — and the number varies depending on the height of the stitch (single crochet vs. double crochet, for example). From there, you’ll work increase into each stitch in the first round, then you’ll increase in every other stitch of the second round, then in every third stitch of the next round and so forth.
When increasing in the round, you may notice a seam where the rounds are joined. You can hide this in a few ways:
Fasten off at the end of each round and re-join the yarn with a standing stitch.
Shift the increases one stitch over with each new round, to stagger the increases. As a bonus, this helps keep the circle shape instead of making it turn into a hexagon.
Easy peasy! You now know how to increase in crochet! Happy crocheting! And feel free to leave a comment below or ask any questions, if you have difficulties with this technique.