What Does Dec Mean in Crochet? Understanding Crochet Terms
Crochet is a craft full of its own special terms and abbreviations. They allow patterns to be written clearly and concisely, and in a standardized way that can be understood by all crocheters. However, in order to work from a crochet pattern, it is of course essential to understand what the various terms and abbreviations actually mean. One such abbreviation that you may find in a crochet pattern is “dec”. But what does “dec” stand for? What does it mean? And, importantly, how is it done? Read on to learn the answers to these questions.
What Does “dec” Stand For in a Crochet Pattern?
The term “dec” is simply short for “decrease”. A decrease is a method of reducing the number of stitches in a row or round, allowing the crocheter to create a piece with a gradually narrowing shape.
The two most common decrease methods that are used in crochet patterns are:
- single crochet decrease (sc dec), and
- double crochet decrease (dc dec).
However, you can also decrease with other crochet stitches such as half double crochet, extended single crochet, treble crochet, etc. Once you know the basic principles of how to decrease, you will be able to decrease with any of the basic crochet stitches.
Understanding Dec in Crochet
Executing a Dec
As explained above, a dec, or decrease, is a technique used to reduce the number of stitches in a row or round. This enables the creation of various shapes and patterns in crochet projects. Dec can refer to different methods of reducing stitches, such as single crochet decrease (sc dec), double crochet decrease (dc dec), and half double crochet decrease (hdc dec).
To execute a standard single crochet dec:
- Insert your hook into the first stitch, yarn over, and pull up a loop
- Insert your hook into the next stitch, yarn over, and pull up a loop
- Yarn over and pull through all loops on your hook
This process effectively combines two stitches into one, achieving the desired decrease.
Significance in Patterns
Dec plays a crucial role in the development of crochet patterns. By incorporating decreases, a crocheter can create shaping and dimension in their projects. Some common crochet items that frequently use dec include:
- Clothes: form sleeves, neckline, and waistlines
- Hats: adjust to head size or create an appealing pattern
- Amigurumi (stuffed animals): shape bodies, limbs, and facial features
- Blankets or Afghans: for waves in borders or to generate waves and ripples.
Patterns will state when and where to implement decreases. It is essential to follow these instructions accurately to successfully produce the intended design.
Types of Decrease Stitches
As noted above, decrease stitches can be performed with any of the basic crochet stitches. These methods are set out in more detail below.
Single Crochet Decrease (sc dec or sc2tog)
The single crochet decrease stitch, abbreviated as sc dec or sc2tog, involves working with two single crochet stitches to form a single crochet stitch. This method reduces the number of stitches in a row by one. To execute a sc dec or sc2tog, follow these steps:
- Insert your hook into the first stitch, yarn over and pull up a loop (2 loops on the hook).
- Insert your hook into the second stitch, yarn over and pull up a loop (3 loops on the hook).
- Yarn over and pull through all 3 loops on the hook.
Half Double Crochet Decrease (hdc dec or hdc2tog)
The half double crochet decrease (hdc dec or hdc2tog), combines two half double crochet stitches into one stitch, reducing the stitch count by one. To perform the hdc dec or hdc2tog, follow these steps:
- Yarn over your hook, insert your hook into the first stitch, yarn over and pull up a loop (3 loops on the hook).
- Yarn over and insert the hook into the second stitch, yarn over and pull up a loop (5 loops on the hook).
- Yarn over and pull through all 5 loops on the hook.
Double Crochet Decrease (dc dec or dc2tog)
A double crochet decrease (dc dec or dc2tog) involves merging two double crochet stitches into one stitch, effectively reducing the stitch count by one. To execute a double crochet decrease (dc dec or dc2tog) , follow these steps:
- Yarn over and insert your hook into the first stitch, yarn over and pull up a loop (3 loops on the hook).
- Yarn over and pull through 2 loops (2 loops on the hook).
- Yarn over, insert the hook into the next stitch, yarn over and pull up a loop (4 loops on the hook).
- Yarn over and pull through 2 loops (3 loops on the hook).
- Yarn over and pull through all 3 remaining loops.
Other Decrease Techniques
In addition to the three primary decrease stitches set out above, crocheters may encounter other variations, such as:
- Triple crochet decrease, which involves combining two or sometimes three triple crochet stitches.
- Extended single crochet decrease, which combines two or more extended single crochet stitches.
It is also possible to decrease by more than one stitch in a single decrease. This is achieved by performing the decrease technique over three or sometimes even more stitches.
Applying Dec in Projects
Decreasing in Hat Patterns
When working on crochet hat patterns, the dec technique is commonly used to shape the top of the hat and create a snug fit. In the final rounds of a hat, a dec can be performed at a specific frequency in each round, to decrease the number of stitches in each round up to the top of the hat.
Decreasing in Blanket Patterns
In blanket patterns, the crochet decrease technique can be used to create a variety of shapes, motifs, and pattern designs. Here are some examples:
- use dec stitch to create waves and ripples in a stripy blanket,
- give a less pixelated shape to colorwork motifs in tapestry crochet patterns,
- use dec across troughs in undulating borders, such as around a blanket made of hexagons.
Other Project Examples
Aside from hats and blankets, crochet decrease techniques are utilized in numerous other projects. Here are some examples:
- Scarves: Dec stitches can create tapered ends.
- Sweaters: Dec can be used used to shape armholes, necklines, and waistlines for a better fit.
- Amigurumi: Dec is essential in forming the three-dimensional shape of amigurumi creatures.
- Bags: Some bag patterns use dec to achieve specific shapes and designs.
Decrease vs Increase Stitches
As we have learnt, in crochet, dec refers to the act of decreasing stitches, which involves joining two or more stitches together to create a single stitch. This is often used to shape a fabric or create specific patterns.
On the other hand, increasing stitches adds new stitches to a row or round, resulting in a broader fabric or different design. Here are key points to remember:
- Decreasing stitches: dec
- Combines two or more stitches
- Reduces the total count of stitches
- Supports fabric shaping and pattern creation
- Increasing Stitches:
- Adds new stitches to a row
- Increases the total count of stitches
- Contributes to broader fabrics or different designs
An increase is typically performed by working two or more stitches into the same stitch of the previous row or round.
Other Common Crochet Terms and Abbreviations
As well as “dec”, there are many other key terms and abbreviations that are used in crochet patterns. This section provides details of a few more common abbreviations that you might encounter.
Some common crochet terms and abbreviations include:
- ch: chain
- sl st: slip stitch
- sc: single crochet
- hdc: half double crochet
- dc: double crochet
- tr: treble crochet
- fp: front post
- beg: beginning
- rep: repeat
In a pattern, these abbreviations can be combined with additional information about the stitch, like where to place the hook or how to work the stitch. Always read the pattern carefully and follow it step-by-step to ensure that you don’t miss anything.
Conclusion: What Does Dec Mean in Crochet?
“dec” is a common abbreviation used in crochet patterns. It stands for “decrease” and it is an essential technique in crochet that allows you to reduce the number of stitches in a row or round.
There are several ways to decrease in crochet, including single crochet decrease, double crochet decrease, and half-double crochet decrease. Understanding how to decrease is crucial for creating various crochet projects, from hats and scarves to blankets and amigurumi. By mastering this technique, you can add depth and dimension to your crochet projects while creating unique and beautiful designs.
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