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If you want to hone your skills, you have to learn how to decrease in crochet. It is, alongside crochet increase, one of the crucial shaping techniques. Although it may confuse you at first, the decreasing method is quite easy.

In this article, you will see how to decrease with some basic crochet stitches.

What is a Crochet Decrease?

We use this technique to decrease the number of stitches in the row, by joining two stitches at the top. This creates a “two-legged” stitch and reduces the overall stitch count by one. We can have multiple decreases in a row, shaping the piece exactly how we need it.

Decreasing works both with basic stitches and with more complex ones. For example, we can make single crochet decrease, but we can also decrease with puff stitch or alpine stitch.

Decrease in Crochet Patterns

Crochet designers use such abbreviations to signify a decrease:

  • *Name of the stitch* decrease (example: sc decrease)
  • *Name of the stitch* dec (example: dc dec)
  • *Stitch name* 2 tog (as in ‘together’, for example: tr2tog)

All of the above means you will turn two stitches into one, but you can also find instructions such as dc3tog or tr4tog. The number signifies how many stitches to crochet together.

How to decrease in crochet

Below you can find a tutorial showing you how to decrease with single crochet, half double, double crochet, and treble crochet.

Video tutorial

video by Crochetpedia

Step-by-Step Guide to Decreasing in Crochet

Here’s an example of how to decrease with single crochet.

Single Crochet Decrease (sc dec)

How to make a crochet stitch.
How to sc decrease
  • Insert your hook into the first stitch.
  • Pull up a loop, so you have two loops on the hook. Don’t finish this single crochet.
  • Insert your hook in the next stitch and pull up a loop again. Now you’ve got three loops on your hook.
  • Grab the yarn with your hook and pull through all three loops. You’ve completed the single crochet decrease.

Are There Different Methods of Crochet Decrease?

The main method stays the same, but you can use various stitches to decrease. The same method allows you to decrease with three, four, or more stitches. All you need to remember is never to finish the stitches you want to combine – the last move of the hook joins them together.

Invisible Decrease

We use the term invisible decrease to describe a technique that…

  • doesn’t leave any noticeable gaps or bumps in the fabric.
  • creates a seamless piece of crochet, meaning the decreases are spread out and don’t line up visibly.

While we should place decreases evenly, lining them above each other creates a visible seam.

Decreasing in the Round

We often use decrease in the round in amigurumi or flat circular pieces, such as mandalas. The method remains the same, but the pattern should tell you exactly where and how much to decrease to avoid irregular bumps.

Tips and Tricks for Perfecting Your Decrease

These tips and tricks will allow you to quickly learn how to decrease in crochet.

Practice Makes Perfect

Like any other crochet technique, mastering decreases requires practice and patience. Make a lot of swatches, try beginner-level projects, or learn alongside our videos. With time, you will become more comfortable with this technique and develop consistency.

Use Stitch Markers

If you are not yet familiar with crocheting, you may lose track of your decreases pretty quickly. Use stitch markers to keep track of your decreases, so you don’t miss or skip any as you work.

Make Sure Your Tension is Consistent

Practice consistent tension to achieve neat and uniform stitches. Avoid pulling the yarn too tightly or crocheting too loosely because it will result in uneven stitches. Experiment with changing the type of yarn or the size of the crochet hook to make crocheting easier.

Read more about this subject on our other websites

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FAQ

What is the purpose of decreasing in crochet?

Decreasing helps you shape the crochet piece by making it narrower in specific places. You can shape both flat and three-dimensional projects this way.

Can I use a different stitch to decrease?

Yes, you can use most stitches to decrease, not only basic stitches. However, the designer should explain more complex variations separately in the pattern notes.

How do I know when to decrease in my crochet project?

The pattern you follow should tell you exactly where and how to decrease.

If you work on your original project, first study the shape you want to achieve. Find it in other crochet patterns to see how to make it. Then, swatch the shape with the increases and refine it until you achieve your desired result.

How do I fix a mistake when decreasing in crochet?

The easiest way is to unravel until you reach the place of your mistake and redo the part.

Is it possible to decrease too much in crochet?

Yes, too much decrease will result in a distorted shape. In the case of flat projects, too much decrease will make your work roll upwards. With three-dimensional projects, the decrease will squeeze the top of your work towards the center.

What is the difference between a single crochet decrease and a double crochet decrease?

We make the first decrease using single crochet stitches, and the latter using double crochet stitches.

Can I decrease in the middle of a row in crochet?

Of course, you can decrease wherever you want – at the beginning, end, or in the middle of the row or round.

Can I decrease in a round or spiral crochet project?

Yes, and you can read more in the “Decreasing in the Round” section.

Are there any tips for achieving a smooth decrease in crochet?

Here are some key tips:

  • Keep the right tension to avoid unnecessary bumps and gaps
  • Don’t stack the decreases on top of each other if you want them to remain invisible (especially in amigurumi).
  • Use decreases as part of the design (triangular shawls and their central decreases are a fantastic example).

Can I use a decrease to create shaping in my crochet project?

Of course, that’s what decreasing is all about.

How do I decrease evenly in a crochet project?

To decrease evenly, you have to go through a little bit of calculations. You can use a sheet of paper and a pen, or go for an online calculator.

Firstly, find out how many stitches you already have in the row, and how many you want to have. Deduct the latter from the former. This will tell you how many stitches you should remove (or how many decreases you need).

Then, divide your current stitch count by the number of decreases. You will end up with a rough estimation of how to place them. For example, if your final number is 5, you should crochet 3 stitches, and then crochet 2 together.

Summary

We hope that this article helped you learn how important decreasing is. You now know how to decrease using basic stitches, and what to do to master this technique. With this information, you can tackle both flat circular projects and simple amigurumi patterns. Have fun!