Saturday, October 25, 2014

Learn to use stacked decreases

If you've learned how to work a stacked decrease in my first article and possibly tried making an oak leaf, you're ready to come up with your own patterns that use this unique stitch. This article is going to focus on how to adjust the height of your stacks  and go over some of the math. Don't worry, it's not too hard.

The blue swatch shows different heights of stacked decreases along an edge. Trying stacks of different heights is a great way to start breaking down the decreases to fit you own purposes. These are the number of decreases that correspond to each stack:

Try it out and see what happens.

Swatch instructions:
CO 81 sts using the long tail cast on method.
Decrease row: K2, K5tog, K5, K5tog, [SB2, K3tog] x 2, K7, K5tog, [SB2, K3tog] x 4, K9, K5tog, [SB2, K3tog] x 6, K11, K5tog, [SB2, K3tog] x 8, K2. (26 sts)
Work a few more rows to stabilize the swatch, then bind off.

Stitch definitions

CO - Cast on

K3tog - Knit 3 stitches together.

K5tog - Knit 5 stitches together. Or use S2K3P2SO instead.
S2K3P2SO - Slip 2 stitches knitwise together, K3tog, pass slipped stitches over.
SB - Slip back to left needle.

To figure out your own math, start with the number of stitches you want to decrease it should be even. I'm going to represent that number with the symbol d For decrease.

Once you have d, you'll calculate the number of times you will repeat [SB2, K3tog], I'm calling that number r for repeat.

Then you'll just put r into the decrease instructions like this:

You'll notice that Kr is the first instruction, this is because you need to knit up to the K5tog in order to center the decreases over the right stitch. When you've finished the decrease, you'll have decreased d/2 stitches on either side of a center stitch. This center stitch is the 1 remaining stitch after you've completed the stack of decreases. Now that you have the instructions for the decrease, you can space them with as many or as few stitches as you want in between them.

This may seem complex, but if you try it out with a few numbers, you'll start to see the logic taking shape. Don't be afraid to draw out the shape you are aiming for and then fit your numbers to the drawing.

For now, this is as far as I'm going to explain. Once there's a video and article about stacked increases, I may write about more complex design info. You'll do best if you just try swatching as many possibilities as you can come up with. If you haven't yet tried it, Working on an oak leaf may help with understanding the numbers. It has 3 different heights of stacked decreases and can be a great template for your own math.

If you liked this article, let me know, I'd love to see people using these stitch combos and in new designs. Also, let me know if it makes no sense. It helps both of us to know when things aren't clear.


  1. I've been looking for something like this for the past 6 months!! I have a pattern in mind but I just couldn't figure out the curved edges and I think I've got it now thanks to you! Thank you so much! I'd love to read about the more complex design info you mentioned!

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