Evenly Spacing Increases and Decreases (Plus a Free Hat Pattern!)

     The Slouch Hat by Simona Merchant-Dest

If someone asked me to name my favorite knitted accessory, I'd be hard-pressed to choose. Some days I'd say scarves, some days I'd say mittens. Today, it's hats, because I have a fabulous hat pattern for you, by one of the authors of The Art of Seamless Knitting, Simona Merchant-Dest.

The Slouch Hat is a Fair Isle stunner. The thing I love most about it is the choice of colors. They're jewel-box tones that go together perfectly, with just the right amount of contrast to make the diamond pattern show up beautifully.

Knitted hats are good summer knits—there's no heavy wool sweater or blanket sitting in your lap as you knit! And this one is knit from a cotton-wool blend, so the yarn won't be too warm as it glides through your hands onto your needles.

Making this hat is a lesson in knitting techniques, too! You'll learn how to work a Fair Isle pattern seamlessly without a visible jog. Simona also tells you how to space increases and decreases evenly, which is something that all knitters need to know!

Spacing Increases and Decreases Evenly Across a Row or Round
To determine how to evenly space increases or decreases, divide the number of stitches on your needle by the number of stitches that you want to increase or decrease.

For example, if you have 115 stitches and you need to increase 8 stitches, you'd divide 115 by 8: 115 stitches ÷ 8 stitches to increase = 14.375 stitches In other words, you'll want to increase every 14.375 stitches for an even distribution of the increases. It's not possible to increase within partial stitches, but this number tells you that you'll place most of the increases every 14 stitches and increase every 15 stitches a couple of times. The difference between working some increases at 14-stitch intervals and a few at 15-stitch intervals is unlikely to be noticeable in the garment.

If you are working in rows, you'll want to position the first and last increases (or decreases) at least one stitch in from the selvedge. To prevent the last increase being made in the selvedge stitch, divide the first 14-stitch interval in half, working the first increase after just 7 stitches so that the last increase will be worked 7 stitches in from the end of the row.

The Slouch Hat, from the top

Depending on the type of increase you use, you'll either increase in the 14th stitch or after the 14th stitch. For example, knitting in the front and back of a stitch (k1f&b) requires one stitch to be involved in the increase and you'd work the increase in the 14th stitch; making a yarnover or working into the horizontal strand between two stitches (as in a raised make-one increase), doesn't involve any of the existing stitches and you'd work the increases after the 14th stitch.

When working decreases, remember that two stitches are required to work a decrease (k2tog or ssk, for example). This means that you would work 12 stitches, then work the 13th and 14th stitches together to end up with one stitch decreased in 14 stitches.

—From The Art of Seamless Knitting by Faina Goberstein and Simona Merchant-Dest

Download your free copy of the Slouch Hat, and check out our Sidewalk Sale for lots more knitted accessories!


P.S. Do you have tips on evenly spacing increases and decreases? Leave a comment and share them with us, and let us know what you think of the Slouch Hat, too!

One Comment

  1. Sharon W at 7:43 am February 8, 2018

    Many thanks, this was most helpful.

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