PlanetJune Craft Blog

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Invisible Decrease

Link easily to this tutorial in your patterns: www.planetjune.com/invdec

If you’ve been making amigurumi, you may be lamenting the gap or bump that forms when you decrease. The standard methods of decreasing are to sc2tog, which can leave a bit of a bump and a small gap, or to skip a stitch, which leaves an obvious gap. There has to be a better way… and there is! The invisible decrease really is as good as its name claims – it’s almost impossible to see, even if you know what you’re looking for. (See my blog post for a comparison of these three methods.)

The invisible decrease method will probably take a few attempts to master, but, just like the magic ring, it’s one of those techniques that’s so good, you’ll wonder how you ever crocheted without it!

How do I make an Invisible Decrease?

Choose your preferred learning method! I have video and step-by-step photo tutorials, all for right- and left-handers. Continue to:


Invisible Decrease for right-handers

Before we begin:

Insert the hook into the front loop of the first stitch (2 loops on hook). DO NOT YARN OVER:

Insert the hook into the front loop of the next stitch. To do this, you’ll need to swing the hook down first so you can insert the hook under the front loop. (3 loops on hook):

Swing hook down…

…then up through the front loop of the next stitch

Yarn over and draw through the first two loops on the hook. (2 loops on hook):

Yarn over and draw through both loops on the hook. Invisible decrease completed:

Now let’s play a game: spot the decrease…

Good, huh? Give it a go with your next ami – I promise you won’t regret it…


Invisible Decrease for left-handers

Before we begin:

Insert the hook into the front loop of the first stitch (2 loops on hook). DO NOT YARN OVER:

Insert the hook into the front loop of the next stitch. To do this, you’ll need to swing the hook down first so you can insert the hook under the front loop. (3 loops on hook):

Swing hook down…

…then up through the front loop of the next stitch

Yarn over and draw through the first two loops on the hook. (2 loops on hook):

Yarn over and draw through both loops on the hook. Invisible decrease completed:

Now let’s play a game: spot the decrease…

Good, huh? Give it a go with your next ami – I promise you won’t regret it…

146 Comments »

  1. Frida said

    I LOVE YOU! Thank you for helping me with something that will make my amigurumis beautiful so that I won’t ever get tired of them looking awkward!
    You just saved the Fridagurumi species! ?

  2. Jessica said

    This is a revelation – thank you so much June! My amigurumis will all be done using this technique now :-)

  3. [...] made, especially on the navy ball. You could see the white stuffing! Then I remembered this invisible decrease from Planet June. Problem [...]

  4. Tania said

    I found this helpful morsel via crochetme from Kim Werker….thanks so much! I am going to try this out for my next project. It looks terrific.

    OT….what is the best yarn to use for amigurumis? I love that yarn you are using above..and I have only used yarns I have on hand..as I have to budget. If you need to point me in the right direction to read more on that, that’d be fabulous. :)

    • June said

      Hi Tania, I don’t use any ‘special’ (i.e. expensive) yarns for my amigurumi. Most amigurumi are made with worsted weight yarn. I like the ‘soft’ acrylics best; you can find them in any big craft store and they aren’t too expensive (especially if you have a coupon, or wait for a sale): Bernat Satin, Red Heart Soft and Caron Simply Soft all have that nice sheen to them, are nice and soft to work with, and make very pretty amigurumi.

      The other yarn I like, even though doesn’t have that sheen or softness (although it’s still softer than traditional ‘cheap & nasty’ acrylics) is Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice. It comes in amazing colours and it’s a little thicker than other worsted weight yarns, which makes for a good firm structure. You can see the difference if you compare, say, my AmiDogs (Bernat Satin) with my Dinosaurs (Vanna’s Choice).

      I’ve just written a whole book of amigurumi information like this; if you’re interested, it’s called The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi :)

  5. This is fantastic! I’ve never heard of this method, and I’m so glad that I’ve found your blog and these great instructions! Thank you SO MUCH!
    Caz :)

  6. Za said

    WOW!!!

  7. [...] Finns på PlanetJune – Engelsk förklaring hur du går tillväga. Kommentarer (0) Kommentarer [...]

  8. Dianne Unterbrink said

    I cannot thank you enough for this tidbit of EXTREMELY valuable info,!! So many times, so many less-than-invisible results. But now, thanks to you, my projects can look more professional than I ever dreamed possible. You are my new best friend!! :)

  9. jess said

    So clever! Thanks for this tuturial.

  10. ShirinElric said

    Omg!! I was already getting frustrated by the wholes…
    Thank you so much!!! I really needed this :D

  11. Amanda said

    How is it I’ve crocheted for decades and never heard of this??? Thank you sooooo much for sharing! You’re right, this will definitely be my go-to decrease method (just like magic ring is my go-to starter). Thank you!!!

  12. Lori said

    I have crocheted for over 40 years and never knew this Invisible Decrease. I am working on a project today, tried the decrease method above and it looks flawless. Just goes to show you CAN teach an old dog new tricks.
    Thank you for sharing,
    Lori

  13. [...] This also introduced me to the fantastic invisible decrease technique from planet june (found here: Invisible Decrease), and which I’ll use on everything that I can from now on! I crochetted this using a 4.5mm [...]

  14. Emily said

    This technique is fantastic! I’ve linked to it from my blog – I hope you don’t mind! Thanks for writing all your great tutorials, your site is really helping me get into having more satisfying fun with crochet! Em xxx

    • June said

      Yay, I’m glad you’re finding my site helpful, Em, and of course I don’t mind you linking to me! In fact, thank you for doing so :)

  15. Talia said

    I think I’m the only person on here who can’t do this stitch. I am following directions exactly but still getting a noticible bump each decrease. Do u know what I could be doing wrong? Lol it’s driving me batty that I can’t get them neat! Love your site by the way :)

    • June said

      Hmm, well without seeing your work it’s hard to say, but I have a couple of ideas for why it may be bumpy:

      • If you’re crocheting inside out (so that the backs of your stitches are on the outside), you’ll see a horizontal line or yarn where you’ve made the decrease (it’s formed by the unworked back loops and is usually hidden on the inside).
      • It may be that you’re not tensioning the yarn enough while you make the decrease. Try keeping the yarn tighter while you make the decrease and see if the decrease looks less noticeable.

      Good luck!

  16. Ana said

    Thank you for remembering us left-handers!! It is a pretty awesome decrease.

  17. [...] [?] – single crochet decrease (invisible crochet is a better choice to prevent hole forming, photo tutorial, video) ch [?] – chain slst [ • ] – slip stitch Choice Of Yarn & Hook Size Read [...]

  18. Jaki said

    This is brilliant – thank you

  19. baie interessant, dankie

  20. micheline laplaine said

    hello ! bonjour

    it is always agreable to discover many ideas to work, thanks to persons like you, thank you very much.
    en français : c’est toujours agréable de découvrir les nombreux conseils que vous donnez, merci beaucoup. micheline from paris france

  21. [...] Näkymätön kavennus toimii kohdissa, joissa molemmat puolet virkatusta työstä eivät ole esillä (esimerkiksi yleensä nurja puoli menee amigurumin sisälle piiloon). Hyvän kuvallisen ohjeen näkymättömän kavennuksen tekemiseen löydät PlanetJune-blogista. [...]

  22. Blaize said

    As with the magic circle, which I did have trouble with I will admit, it makes absolutely no sense to learn a different, inferior, technique and then have to retrofit oneself with better options that are no more difficult than the less-satisfactory ones. The magic circle, the invisible decrease. I have been crocheting for only a couple years, and have only made crocheted creatures for less than one, but I do NOT understand why these are not standard in every pattern, taught at every juncture, and considered foundational, rather than extra frills or tricks one learns later, after struggling with problems one has no idea how to solve. Brava! and thank you.

  23. Thea said

    Just found your tutorial. Thank you so much! I’ve been making little baby balls and they were looking very gappy.

  24. Thea said

    Yup. That works great and very easy. Thanks!

  25. sally said

    OMG thats fantastic you have changed my crocheting for ever!!!
    I always hated the way the decreases made my ami’s look, thank you, thank you, thank you :)
    x

  26. Julie said

    I’ve been struggling with the ugly gaps in sc2tog for years… glad I finally thought to look for an alternative. Thank you thank you!!

  27. [...] over at Planetjune has a great tutorial for how to make an invisible decrease in single crochet. Go check it out, it works [...]

  28. Rachel C. said

    So can you just replace this for any sc2tog or dec? Can you do that?

    • June said

      Rachel, you can replace almost any sc2tog or dec:

      • For amigurumi, you can replace any sc2tog or dec unless there’s something special about that round (it’s worked in BLO, the work is turned between rounds, or something else unusual that’s specified in the pattern).
      • For non-amigurumi crochet patterns, the invisible decrease is not always a good choice: if you turn your work between rows/rounds you’ll see the back of your stitches on every other row/round. The invisible decrease is invisible from the front, but NOT from the back. So if you’ll see the back of the stitches on your finished piece, don’t use an invisible decrease, otherwise the unused back loops will be visible as a horizontal bar on the finished work when it’s been turned.
  29. sarah said

    Thank you!!! This blew my mind, I thought I was just crocheting wrong!!

  30. Shanti said

    Thank you!!! I’m not big in amigurumis but it’s always great to lear a new technique and this is absolutely fantastic!!!

  31. Al said

    Hi, thank you so much for this tutorial! But if it comes to a time when I make an amigurumi with the wrong side facing out, how do I do an invisible decrease?

    • June said

      Al, if you’re working inside out (so the wrong side will be the outside) you can use the same technique, but go through the back loop instead of the front loop of each stitch when you make the decrease.

  32. Shar said

    Great instructions! Any suggestions on how to do a sc-blo (sc-back loop only) decrease? I am making a hat (http://www.classiceliteyarns.com/pdf/LushAngoraCap.pdf) with alternating sc then sc-blo stitches for texture. I’m at now ready to work the decrease rows and was hoping your invisible decrease might be applied, rather than the pattern’s standard sc2tog decrease directions. The only hitch might be the alternating sc, sc-blo stitches and how to make the decreases look appropriate for the next stitch.

    Thanks for the great tips! I think, with the help of your video, I can do a rsc edging on my baby beanies. Always wanted to perfect that stitch. You made it look simple.
    shar

    • June said

      I don’t think any kind of invisible decrease would work at all for that pattern, as the pattern says to work into the back loop of half the decrease and both loops of the other half. I don’t think there’s a better way to do it… You could try doing it as a sort of invdec by using the front loop of the 1st st (instead of both) and the back loop of the 2nd (or vice versa depending on where in the pattern you are), and don’t yarn over between the two loops, as with an invdec – but I don’t know if it would look any good!

      • Shar said

        I was afraid of that. I’ll try your suggestion, as I was mulling the same thing over while attempting to apply your invisible decrease to this pattern. If all else fails, I’ll follow the pattern as is, despite its decrease issues. Thanks!

  33. Tibbles said

    It’s the only way I decrease now, thanks a ton!

  34. Michelle said

    YOU ROCK!!!!! I literally googled “how to decrease crochet without gaps” and this was the first thing I found. SWEEEEEET!!!!!!! I will use this forever and NEVER go back to decreasing the old way that leaves unsightly gaps. THANK YOU!

  35. I thought you’d like to know that I posted on my blog how to convert this dec so that it won’t show on the WS.

    http://antsfibers.blogspot.com/2012/03/back-loop-invdec-tutorial.html

  36. Jennifer said

    It’s been said but I’ll say it again, THANK YOU!! I’m new to ami’s and can’t wait to add this technique to my arsenal of tips and tricks!

  37. [...] PlanetJune has excellent written directions on how to do it. I learn better by reading than I do by video, but I know there are videos on Youtube on how to do it- just look up “invisible decrease.” Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in Stuff I Learned. Bookmark the permalink. ← Hobbes The Harrison Dollhouse, K → [...]

  38. Renee` said

    OMG’osh! This is fantastic!!!!!
    Thank you for sharing with us!

  39. Krista said

    Thank you so much for sharing this, saved my ami from looking horrid! Thank you thank you!!

  40. Simone said

    I’m really thankful. I never liked the way this decresing looked and I had really big trouble with little balls I loved to make… but your way just made my day and I think there will be a lot of little balls now everywhere around me. Really really thanks to you.

  41. Cynthia Stenquist said

    This is the smartest tip I’ve read! Thank you Thank you!!!!!!

  42. Umberta said

    Brilliant!

  43. Jessica said

    Just found your blog via a Ravelry page, and I love it!! I’ve made a bunch of ami spheres and toys this year and never liked doing the decreases. Will be making more now and using your tips. Thanks!

  44. LeAnn said

    I dont know which has made my life and Ami better, this or the magic circle! Genius idea, thanks a bunch!

  45. Adriane said

    This is completely brilliant! I’ve always wondered if there wasn’t a better way to work a decrease! Thank you for the excellent tutorial! I’m going to give this a try on my next amigurumi piece!

  46. Trystan said

    Hi June. I taught myself to crochet at the very end of last year, and found your tutorial in march of this year. when i first tried this back in march, i didn’t like it because i couldn’t SEE where the decrease was! being new to crochet and making amis, i relied on seeing that decrease so i could find my place if i lost count of my stitches.

    just yesterday, i figured since it’s now five months later, i should give it a go.

    and now my only question i have is: why didn’t i come back to this stitch earlier?? it’s amazing!! thank you. :D

  47. Hi thank you so much for this info! I have shared a link to this fab tutorial on my blog and included two pictures … I hope that is ok … I am new to the world of blogging and hope this is the correct etiquette :) thanks x

  48. Lianne P said

    Haha I’ve been doing decreases like this all along! I *thought* I was doing sc2tog but I guess not. :P You may remember me from Facebook….I’m the person who had been doing a back-loop-only slip stitch all along (since I started crocheting in June 2012) thinking that was a single crochet! Your tutorial on front/back/both loops showed me the error of my ways. :)

    Love your tutorials…I’m learning so much!!!!

  49. metoob said

    this is amazing! i love it, but one question, will it work for 3 or 4 sc decreases?

  50. Rachael said

    Thank you for taking the time and effort to make your invaluable tutorials.. I have learned so much as a beginner and I am much more confident in making my amigurumi now.. Your site is the only one I refer to if I ever have a problem.. and you have gorgeous patterns as well!

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    June Gilbank
    Hi, I'm June. Welcome to my world of nature-inspired crochet and crafting. I hope you enjoy your visit!
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