Become a Knitting Superstar™
Become a Knitting Superstar™
Become a Knitting Superstar™
Become a Knitting Superstar™
Become a Knitting Superstar™

Increasing and Decreasing

My Classes » Fearless Knitter » Increasing and Decreasing

Increasing and Decreasing

Increasing and Decreasing

Let’s take a break from scarves and purling to work on another very important aspect of knitting: increasing and decreasing.

There are many ways to do it, but increasing simply means adding more stitches to your needle to make your knitted project wider.

This is normally done just a few stitches at a time, so that as you knit, the project gradually and evenly gets wider.

Decreasing is just the opposite – by taking away stitches as you knit, your project gets narrower and narrower.

I’m going to introduce you to the most common of these stitches, the Yarnover, abbreviated “YO,” and the “Knit 2 Together,” abbreviated “K2tog.”

And we’re going to learn and practice them on a great and fast project – the basic dishcloth.

This project starts out easy and gets more challenging as you go – it’s perfect for advancing your skills while practicing the ones you’ve already learned.

Of course, we’ll also practice some more-advanced pattern reading as well.

In order to get started, you’re going to need to pick up some new yarn and needles, but don’t worry – this project won’t break the bank.

As you know, all good patterns lay out the materials, instructions, and any notes all in one standardized package.

It’s important that you read over the pattern before you head to the yarn store, so that you know what you’re looking for.

Diamond DishclothsI’ll walk you through what to get here, but just to get in the habit, please read over the following pattern.

Project – Granny’s Favorite Dishcloth

This is a traditional pattern whose designer is unknown.

Here is a link to the pattern on Ravelry.


1 ball of Sugar ‘n Cream cotton yarn, US size 7 (4.5 mm) needles.
Optional:* crochet hood size G (4.25 mm).

Pattern Instructions

CO 4 sts.
Row 1: K4.
Row 2: K2, YO, K across.
Repeat row 2 until you have 44 sts on the needle.
Next: K1, K2tog, YO, K2tog, K to end.
Repeat last row until you have 4 sts on the needle.
BO, weave in ends.

*Optional: Do a round of single crochet around the dishcloth, making a loop of chain stitches in one corner to hang the cloth up in the kitchen.

Shopping For Your Materials

You can find Sugar ‘n Cream cotton yarn at any craft store and possibly your supermarket or Wal-Mart. Your local yarn store may also carry it.

It runs between $1.87 and $2.50 per ball, which is great, because these dishcloths make lovely gifts, especially wrapped up with some pretty soap. Sugar 'n Cream Yarn

Here’s a quick yarn lesson – the weight, or thickness, of this yarn is called “worsted.”

It’s the next step down in thickness from the aran-weight yarns that we were looking at earlier.

The needle size that matches it is a US size 7 (4.5 mm), so pick up a pair of those as well while you’re at the store.

Worsted-weight yarn is the most common thickness of yarn used, so you’ll be using your size 7 needles on many, many projects to come.

If you’d like to make a little loop on one corner of your dishcloth to hang it up in the kitchen, also grab a crochet hook in size G (4.25 mm).

Don’t worry – even if you don’t know how to crochet, I have a video that will show you how to make the loop. So let’s get started!

Good luck finding the middle of your ball of yarn on this one – I usually have to “pull from the outside” on these yarns. It’s worth a try, though. ;)

Follow along with your pattern and these videos as we make the dishcloth together.

How to Increase – YO – Yarnover

Cast on 4 stitches using your new long-tail cast on, then knit one row.

Then, follow along with me to learn how to increase.

If you didn’t work along with me in the Learn-to-Knit course, I’ll just remind you that the fabric we are creating by knitting every row of this project is called garter stitch – its properties are that it is reversible (it has horizontal rows of bumps on both sides) and it lays nice and flat.

Dishcloth – First Increase Rows

Let’s work a few more rows and take a look at the dishcloth.

Moving on- we’re going to keep on repeating the increase row until we’ve got 44 stitches on the needle (time to practice your counting by fives.) Remember, yarnovers count as stitches too.

See how the dishcloth is starting to widen, nicely and evenly? That’s because we’re adding one stitch on every single row. We’re increasing!

Did you also notice how the yarnovers make decorative holes along the side of the dishcloth? It looks nice in this project, but people mostly don’t want sweaters and socks full of holes, which is why other types of more “invisible-looking” increases exist.

You’ll learn more about them in the next courses in this library.

Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting For This Project

Accidental Yarnover

If you accidentally forget to do a yarnover, or maybe do one at the end of the row instead of (or in addition to) at the beginning, the best way to remedy that on this project is to take out a row or two.

Don’t panic. We’ll do it together.

If you need to take out just a few stitches, you can review the video on how to back up your knitting (called “tinking,” for “knitting” spelled backwards) that we did during the chapter on ribbing.

Take Out Rows

If you find a mistake a few rows down in your knitting you’ll need to take out those rows (or, as my friend Brittany euphemistically puts it, “back up a little”).

Here’s how to do it properly and get going again without getting confused.

Get Sts Back on the Needle the Right Way

If you are having trouble getting your stitches back on your needles facing the right way, don’t worry. It’s time for a lesson in recognizing if they’re on right, and the quickest trick to fix it if they’re not.

How to Decrease – K2TOG – Knit 2 Together

Whew! Look how much you’ve learned, and we’re only halfway through this project.

When you have 44 stitches on your needle, it’s time to start decreasing.

Decreasing is quite easy – you just knit two stitches together as if they are one. However, since we need to maintain the decorative holes (yarnovers) that border the dishcloth, we’ll be doing two decreases, one on either side of the yarnover. Follow me.

Just continue in this pattern until you again have four stitches on your needle.

Now you can bind off and weave in your ends.

If you’d like to add a crocheted border and a little loop to hang up the dishcloth, check out this video on my blog.

PS – Don’t forget to link your project to the pattern on Ravelry.

You can put down any notes about the project – what you thought of the pattern, if you enjoyed it, anything you’d do differently next time… These comments help other people who are thinking about making the same pattern.

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