Now that you know how to single crochet, let’s start learning how to make things bigger, thus, give them more shape. Increasing in crochet is important for making basically any shape other than a square, and it’s a pretty simple concept. The end goal is to make the ending count of stitches bigger than the number of stitches in the last row.
For example, if you made 12 stitches in the last row, your goal now is to end with 18 stitches.
But before we go into the logistics, let’s go over the two ways to crochet: in the flat and in the round. We’ll also go over how they are used, then talk about how to increase for both techniques.
What you'll need
Size G6 / 4.00mm
Increase (sc 2 in the same st)
Round (worked in the round)
Row (worked in the flat)
These boxes are checkboxes
These time codes correlate to the video for this lesson
Working in the Round
Working ‘in the round’ means you are literally working around in a circle without ever turning. I find this a lot easier than Joining in the Round which we’ll talk about in Chapter 10, but you also have to keep better track of where the round begins and end.
When working in the round, rows turn into rounds. For example, in pattern instructions, you’ll see Round 1 instead of Row 1 (which is used for working in the flat). When you’re working in the round you typically work in a spiral and don’t change directions.
Rnd = Round
This creates a virtually seamless piece, making it really useful for circular or spherical shapes like beanies and amigurumi. You can also make 2 dimensional things like coasters and blankets while working in the round, though it’s more difficult to get sharp edges than working in the flat.
Increasing in the Round
Increasing in the round is pretty straight forward; it means simply single crocheting into the same stitch twice to get more stitches at the end of the round (Rnd) then you did in the beginning. When you see the symbol ‘inc’ (for increase) it means do this technique.
The hardest part is getting something in the round started, so let’s look at how that’s done first.
While there are a couple of different ways to get started including the “Magic Loop Method” (see Chapter 10), I’ll be teaching you the most simple way to get started which is called the “Chain 2 Method”.
To keep track of where your row begins and ends, either use a stitch marker or try sewing in a spare thread between the last stitch of Rnd 2 and the first stitch of Rnd 3. Don’t forget to move this marker up at the beginning of each new round.
Inc 6 times (12 stitches total)
Okay here’s the tricky part; find the first sc you made in Rnd 1, and sc 2 times (aka increase) into that stitch.
You should have 2 single crochets in one hole now. That’s an increase.
Now you have to put an increase into every stitch around in a circle, 6 increases total, 12 stitches total.
[sc in the first stitch, inc in the next stitch] repeat 6 times total (18 stitches total)
As a general rule of thumb, especially when starting out, try to be sure to increase in each Rnd by the same amount as whatever amount of stitches you made in Rnd 1.
For example, since we started with 6 stitches, we want to increase 6 times evenly in each round. When the increase are evenly spread out, the piece will make a perfect circle.
So to do this in Rnd 3, we sc 1 in the first stitch, then inc in the next, and repeat that process 6 times total.
The full pattern of stitches for Rnd 3 will look like this: sc 1, inc, sc 1, inc, sc 1, inc, sc 1, inc, sc 1, inc, sc 1, inc
[sc in 2 stitches, inc in the next stitch] repeat 6 times total (24 stitches total)
From here on out the pattern gets pretty consistent, sc in one more stitch than the last Rnd and then increase in the next one.
We’ll be putting this to the test in our project for this chapter when we make a coaster.
Working in the Flat
If you made Project 2 – a mini bow – from the last chapter, you’ve already worked in the flat. Working flat basically means turning your work after each row. Also, it’s usually split up into a “Row” for each step, written something like ‘Row 1:’, rather than a “Rnd” (round) which we just learned about.
Increasing in the Flat
There are two ways to increase while working flat.
The first way is by simply working two single crochets into one stitch (the same way you inc in the round). I would avoid doing it this way if you intend on making your piece truly flat for something like a scarf or blanket because this will tend to make your piece curve a bit or end up lumpy.
The main way to increase while flat is by adding extra chains at the beginning of the round and single crocheting into the extra chains which will add stitches into the final row. By adding just one increase into each row, you can get a steady increase, or try adding a lot more into each row to make more obtuse edges. It’s really simple, here’s a quick how to:
To start, make a chain however long you want the shortest side. For me, I’m going to work kind of small.
Turn, ch 2
Skip the first ch, sc in the next one
Sc in each stitch from the last row across (5 stitches total)
Turn, ch 2
Skip the first ch, sc in the next one
Sc in each stitch from the last row across (6 stitches total)
To finish, you cut the yarn, ch 1, and pull the yarn through the last loop. Then sew the tail into the piece to hide it.
Continue to Project 3...
For our 3rd Project for Crocheting 101, we’ll be playing around with increases and working in the Round to make these coasters.
In this project, we’ll also be dipping our toes into how to read patterns, which are basically the blueprints to a project. In patterns, we often use abbreviations for stitches to make it easier to write and read.
Continue to Chapter 5...
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.