Pattern does not state which Inc/Dec to use

Hi to all,

How do you know which Inc/Dec to use in a pattern if the pattern does not specify – such as to decrease doing armhole shaping, for example? Any good references to figure this out would be appreciated.


On sides that are going to be seamed, I generally use k2tog for everything. If you want to be a little more particular, you could use k2tog to lean right and ssk to lean left.

Best to experiment on a swatch if not sure. Most incs/decs do have some sort of lean and that might be obvious in your piece. Also, some incs create holes which can be decorative if that’s the look you’re going for. When in doubt, try your options, esp when paired. And certain incs/decs look better in diff st patterns. What works great in st st might not be as effective in garter, lace, etc.



My “default” increase in k1f, k1b and my “default” decrease is k2tog. Particularly if the increases or decreases are at the edges and they’ll be sewed in (as in a sleeve), they won’t really be seen anyway.

Thank you for inquiring about this! I also find it very frustrating when patterns don’t indicate what they want you to do!

I think it’s pretty clear: they want you to decrease, that is, make the stitches fewer, and the rows shorter. Or increase etc… Using a different one from theirs will not change the shape of the item. If they don’t specify, they probably don’t care which, or are allowing room for you to decide yourself. If you want eyelets, increase with yos. If you like being able to count your decreases or want them visible to a close examination, use kfb. If you want the least visible decreases, choose those you consider least visible. If you can only do k2tog, use that. If you want them mirrored, mirror them… which do you prefer?

What Redwitch says.
The pattern writer assumes you know what the different increases and decreases look like and let you select your own.

Look at the samplers on this site: they illustrate the differences.
Any good knitting reference will also show you the results of the various increases and decreases.

It’s not a bad idea for a new knitter to take some leftover yarn and make a sampler. Experiment with different incs and decs and stitch patterns.