Evenly Spacing Increases and Decreases (Plus a Free Hat Pattern!)

     The Slouch Hat by Simona Merchant-Dest

If someone asked me to name my favorite knitted accessory, I'd be hard-pressed to choose. Some days I'd say scarves, some days I'd say mittens. Today, it's hats, because I have a fabulous hat pattern for you, by one of the authors of The Art of Seamless Knitting, Simona Merchant-Dest.

The Slouch Hat is a Fair Isle stunner. The thing I love most about it is the choice of colors. They're jewel-box tones that go together perfectly, with just the right amount of contrast to make the diamond pattern show up beautifully.

Knitted hats are good summer knits—there's no heavy wool sweater or blanket sitting in your lap as you knit! And this one is knit from a cotton-wool blend, so the yarn won't be too warm as it glides through your hands onto your needles.

Making this hat is a lesson in knitting techniques, too! You'll learn how to work a Fair Isle pattern seamlessly without a visible jog. Simona also tells you how to space increases and decreases evenly, which is something that all knitters need to know!

Spacing Increases and Decreases Evenly Across a Row or Round
To determine how to evenly space increases or decreases, divide the number of stitches on your needle by the number of stitches that you want to increase or decrease.

For example, if you have 115 stitches and you need to increase 8 stitches, you'd divide 115 by 8: 115 stitches ÷ 8 stitches to increase = 14.375 stitches In other words, you'll want to increase every 14.375 stitches for an even distribution of the increases. It's not possible to increase within partial stitches, but this number tells you that you'll place most of the increases every 14 stitches and increase every 15 stitches a couple of times. The difference between working some increases at 14-stitch intervals and a few at 15-stitch intervals is unlikely to be noticeable in the garment.

If you are working in rows, you'll want to position the first and last increases (or decreases) at least one stitch in from the selvedge. To prevent the last increase being made in the selvedge stitch, divide the first 14-stitch interval in half, working the first increase after just 7 stitches so that the last increase will be worked 7 stitches in from the end of the row.

The Slouch Hat, from the top

Depending on the type of increase you use, you'll either increase in the 14th stitch or after the 14th stitch. For example, knitting in the front and back of a stitch (k1f&b) requires one stitch to be involved in the increase and you'd work the increase in the 14th stitch; making a yarnover or working into the horizontal strand between two stitches (as in a raised make-one increase), doesn't involve any of the existing stitches and you'd work the increases after the 14th stitch.

When working decreases, remember that two stitches are required to work a decrease (k2tog or ssk, for example). This means that you would work 12 stitches, then work the 13th and 14th stitches together to end up with one stitch decreased in 14 stitches.

—From The Art of Seamless Knitting by Faina Goberstein and Simona Merchant-Dest

Download your free copy of the Slouch Hat, and check out our Sidewalk Sale for lots more knitted accessories!


P.S. Do you have tips on evenly spacing increases and decreases? Leave a comment and share them with us, and let us know what you think of the Slouch Hat, too!

Other Things You May Like to Check Out:


Increases and Decreases, Knitting Daily Blog
Kathleen Cubley

About Kathleen Cubley

Hello daily knitters! I'm the editor of Knitting Daily. I've been obsessed with knitting for about ten years now and my favorite projects are sweaters. I like the occasional smaller project, but there's nothing like yards of stockinette with a well-placed cable or a subtle stitch pattern here and there. I crochet a bit now and then—especially when I need to produce a baby blanket in time for the baby shower. I've been in publishing for 20 years and I'm finally exactly where I want to be: at the crossroads of knitting and communication. I live in Spokane, Washington and when I'm not knitting I enjoy gardening, snuggling with my dogs, swimming, reading, and playing in the snow in the winter. But, really, I'm pretty much always knitting!

13 thoughts on “Evenly Spacing Increases and Decreases (Plus a Free Hat Pattern!)

  1. Dear Kathleen, thank you so much for making Simona’s pattern available as a free download! I taught myself to knit a few years ago and was happy for a while with simple scarves and accessories. Recently, I decided to spread my wings with a sweater. I tried four or five different patterns before I found one that was easy enough to make–and fit, too! The construction is top down. The yoke has evenly spaced increases. Remaining rows are simple stockinette. Nice, but very plain. I’m already busy adapting Simona’s fair isle chart to dress up the yoke of my next sweater. I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, thank you! The tips in the download as well as the charts–fabulous!

  2. I make chemo caps and am always on the lookout for stylish hats–something that anyone would be willing to wear–something that doesn’t scream “I’m a chemo cap”! So, I’ve added the Slouch Hat to my list of patterns.

    When doing “evenly spaced” increases or decreases, I get out my split ring markers. Depending on the numbers involved, I may just eyeball it or I may count out the sts. If it’s a small number done over a lot of stitches I just eyeball it. Either way, I put the markers where I’ll do the increases/decreases. If they don’t look even, I can easily move them. Or if I can see that they’re going to hit at a bad point in the design, I can move them over 1 or 2 stitches. This also ensures that I keep them away from the edges. This is also quite helpful when I have to do them “every 14 or 15 sts”–it ensures that I get the correct number of 14 st and 15 st spaces.

  3. Oh Oh Oh! I have been so frustrated by the increase over row issue that I built a little app to solve the problem. It’s on my blog at tingtink.com/2013/01/increase-over-row/.

    Hope it helps a few people.

  4. Love the pattern. I’ve been looking for something to get me into multi-colored knitting, and this looks like the trick. Too bad I can’t find the original yarn anywhere…. the Belle Organic DK shows as discontinued on the rowan site.

  5. I can’t down load the hat pattern without making all kind of changes to my computer.

    Is there an easier, simpler way to access your patterns?

    Mickey Pederson

  6. My hint,

    For a smooth, even, decrease or increase, remove or add stitches over several right side rows and staggered so that they don’t all line up in one place, which may result in a hexagon 🙂

  7. Kathleen Cubley,
    i have a question for you….can you do a Fair Isle hat such as this one using the magic loop method? the reason i ask is, those 16 inch length needles cause my hands to cramp up and it sounds nice to not be so tight when knitting a hat such as the one here. is it possible? -n