Particulars of the Invisible Decrease

For anyone who has visited my Etsy shop or my Facebook page, you’ll know I make a lot of amigurumi. And if you didn’t know that before, it is the bread and butter of my little side business.

It has probably taken me the past thirty or more creations to hone the skill of decreasing rounds so that there are few bumps and holes showing on the finished doll; not an easy task.

There are a handful of ways to decrease in the round, with a couple of them dubbed as an “invisible decrease.”

The regular decrease when working in single crochet, or sc2tog, is simply inserting your hook into the next stitch, yarning over and pulling up a loop, repeating on the next stitch, yarning over and pulling through all loops on the hook. Simple pimple, right?

It does work and it will quickly tighten the round. It’s really good for when you need to shape the doll using decreased stitches, a skill some designers have mastered. (See the Etsy shop “Stuff the Body” for examples–she does a lot of designs that don’t involve sewing because she shapes the animals with increases and decreases. It’s pretty brilliant.)

But when you make a lot of typical amigurumi with your basic round shapes, you want to find the right invisible decrease that is smooth and really effective. It took me a while to figure out what I liked and what worked best for me, but this is my recommendation for the best invisible decrease when doing single crochet in the round:

Insert hook into the front loop only of the next stitch; do NOT yarn over. Insert hook into the back loop only of the following stitch; yarn over and pull through two loops, yarn over and pull through remaining two loops.

The pink highlights the stitches where the yarn has been inserted (one front loop, one back loop).

The pink highlights the stitches where the yarn has been inserted (one front loop, one back loop).

It takes a little while to figure out maneuvering the hook since you don’t yarn over in between the two stitches, but it’s because of that absence of the “yo” that there is almost no visible bump and it’s quite difficult to tell where the decrease is. It’s very effective.

If you really prefer to yarn over between stitches, the next best invisible decrease (in my opinion) is to work the front loops only of both stitches and yarn over after each insertion of the hook. You’ll get a slight bump and it’s not ideal for shaping, but it works fine.

Here are some more photos of the invisible decrease in action. You can see on both the head and the body that the bumps and “squished” stitches are minimalized, and the final doll looks really polished.

Give it a try! I’d love to know what you think.

Hippo Head

Hippo Body

Hippo Square


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