Some knitting patterns may have you decrease or increase stitches on certain rows. It might be every row, every other row, every 4th row, a different number, or even some combination. It can be downright confusing just which rows they’re talking about! Let’s take a look at what it all means.
Sometimes you’ll be asked to decrease or increase a specific number of stitches across a row evenly. The pattern will tell you how many stitches to decrease or increase, and you should know at that point how many working stitches you currently have. But what does it mean when you’re asked to do it “evenly”?
You don’t want your increases or decreases bunched up at one end of the row. Your work will be lopsided if you do that. You’ll need to figure out where to do each increase or decrease so they’re spread out evenly across the row.
Let’s suppose you have 100 stitches and the pattern calls for 10 increases evenly across the row. 100 ÷ 10 = 10, so you might conclude that you should increase 1 stitch every 10 stitches. However, this would not quite be even, for the 1st increase would occur on the 10th stitch while the 10th, or last, increase would occur on the 100th stitch. In other words, at the beginning of the row, you will have 10 stitches before an increase occurs, and at the end of the row, there will be no stitches after the last increase. This is not evenly increasing.
Add 1 to the number of stitches you are to increase or decrease and then divide the current number of working stitches by that number. That will tell you how frequently to work each increase or decrease. The numbers don’t always come out evenly, however. In this example, 100 ÷ 11 = 9.09. Obviously, you can’t increase 1 stitch every 9.09 stitches. Therefore, you have to cheat a little and increase 1 stitch every 9th stitch 9 times and 1 stitch every 10th stitch 1 time:
Increase 1 stitch every 9th stitch 9 times = 81
Increase 1 stitch every 10th stitch 1 time = 10
Work the last 9 stitches after the 10th increase = 9
81 + 10 + 9 = 100
Now that you know how to properly increase and decrease your stitches, you can get busy on all those projects you’ve been wanting to try. Happy knitting!
From The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting and Crocheting Illustrated, Third Edition, by Barbara Breiter and Gail Diven