Knitting, More or Less

Increasing and decreasing are mysterious concepts to new knitters. The day I learned to knit, the person who was teaching me was working on her sweater project while I practiced knitting back and forth in garter stitch.

She suddenly stopped knitting and said, "Shoot—I should have been increasing this whole time, and I've been decreasing!" I looked at her with my eyebrows raised, and she told me not to worry about it. I would learn about increasing and decreasing later. Alrighty then.

I soon did learn the concepts, and their importance to knitting. Without increases and decreases, we'd only have rectangles! Shaping is what makes knitting fit our bodies, and it's a crucial technique to understand. Most of you know how to work the increases knit into the front and back of a stitch (kf&b), or purl into the front and back of a stitch (pf&b), and the decreases knit 2 together (k2tog) and purl 2 together (p2tog). Many knitters use only that set of increases for all of their shaping. And that's okay. You are the boss of your knitting, after all.

But the world of shaping your knitting really opens up when you add some different increases and decreases into your repertoire.

An increase I like to use is the lifted increase, because it's practically invisible. Here's how it works:

A nice set of decreases to use when you want the decrease to be part of the design is the SKP, or slip, knit, pass. As you can see from the photos below, this decrease is really pronounced, and becomes part of the design detail of the work.

SKP decreases. You can see the different look of the same stitch when worked on the left side of the work and on the right side of the work. (Photos from The Knitter's Companion by Vickie Square)

To work an SKP:

Step 1. Slip one stitch knitwise, knit the next stitch.
Step 2. Use the left needle tip to pass the slipped stitch up and over the knit stitch and off the right needle.

(Illustrations from The Knitter's Companion by Vickie Square)

There's so much to learn about shaping your knitting with increases and decreases. I'd like to recommend a new video tutorial to you: The Art of Seamless Shaping with Simona Merchant-Dest. Simona will teach you several more increases and decreases, and show you how to place them to cleverly shape your knitwear, plus, she'll demonstrate all of this while knitting seamlessly! She's a genius.

Get your copy of The Art of Seamless Shaping today!


P.S. What's your favorite increase or decrease? Leave a comment and let us know!

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