Learning how to sc2tog is one of the basics of crochet to be learned early on in the craft. Single crochet is a foundational crochet stitch; stitching two together creates a decrease that aids in shaping and allows you to change your work from rectangles into other more advanced project shapes.
Decreasing in Single Crochet
When you see the instructions to "decrease in single crochet" and the instructions to "single crochet two together" (sc2tog), what you are seeing is the same thing. Joining two single crochet stitches together at the top to make it become one stitch is the way that you decrease in single crochet. Of course, you might also see the instruction to sc2tog when your design has a two-stitch single crochet cluster as a texture feature but this is uncommon, and in either case, the way that you work it is the same as if you are decreasing in crochet. This tutorial teaches you step-by-step on how to decrease in single crochet.
Sc2Tog as an Abbreviation
Sc2tog is the common crochet abbreviation for the stitch that you are learning here, but different designers use different terms so be sure to look at each pattern carefully to make sure that you are following their instructions correctly. For example, you may see it as dec sc or sc dec (for decreasing in single crochet).
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Understanding What It Means to sc2tog
Before we get into the steps of decreasing in crochet, it's important to get a fundamental understanding of what you are doing. You are going to complete the first part of a single crochet stitch, move to the next stitch in the row and complete the first part of the second single crochet stitch, then finish the two stitches together. This is why it is called "single crochet two together." The effect is that you create two single crochet bases with only one top, decreasing the number of single crochet stitches in the row in which you are working. Decreasing is used for shaping such as when you decrease little by little to get a crochet triangle, which is a shape that is used for blanket motifs, crochet bunting, large crochet shawls, and more.
Understanding what this is all about will give you a sense of decreasing in crochet regardless of the stitches that you are using. In other words, it helps you understand crochet decreases for double crochet, treble crochet, and other stitches. Every time that you decrease, you will be creating a cluster of two stitches by starting the first stitch, leaving it unfinished before starting the second stitch and then finishing both stitches together. Those stitches are named similarly (dc2tog, for example, when decreasing double crochet stitches), reflecting that what you are doing with a decrease is stitching two of the same stitches together.
Tip: If you haven't learned to single crochet, learn that first then come back and learn how to sc2tog.
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Begin Your First SC of the Pair
The first part of sc2tog is the same as a normal single crochet stitch. This begins, as always, by inserting your hook into the next stitch in your pattern where you are going to start your single crochet decrease.
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Yarn Over and Pull up a Loop
You are still making the first single crochet of your set of two so you will continue forward like normal by doing a yarn over and pulling up a loop. This is the same as any other single crochet stitch.
However, this is where things are about to change from sc to a sc2tog. You are not going to finish the first single crochet at this time. You are going to move on to making the next single crochet instead. There are already two loops on your hook; just leave them exactly where they are and keep on working.
(If this were regular single crochet, you would yarn over and pull through both loops; you'll complete this part later.)
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Insert Crochet Hook Into Next Stitch
Without finishing your first single crochet, begin your next single crochet as if you were working normally. This means that you go ahead and insert your hook into the next stitch. For now, just ignore the two loops already on your hook from the previous single crochet. Just imagine that you're making a brand new single crochet in the next stitch.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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Yarn Over and Pull up a Loop
Continuing with the single crochet process, go ahead and yarn over and pull a loop up in this second stitch. At the end of this step in the process, you should have three loops on your hook. That is the only thing that is different from the classic single crochet stitch. You now have the beginning of two single crochet stitches sitting side by side in your work and you are getting ready to join them into one stitch.
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Yarn Over and Pull Through All Stitches
You currently have two single crochet stitches unfinished on your hook. It's time to finish them in one fell swoop. Yarn over and pull through all three loops that are on the hook.
Note that if this were one single crochet stitch, there would be two loops on the hook, you would pull through both of them and it would be a finished single crochet stitch. Since you are working two of them together, there are three loops on the hook instead, and you are pulling through all three of them to close the stitch.
You have now united those two single crochet stitches into one stitch—sc2tog! That's it; that is all there is to the process of decreasing in crochet. Once you have learned how to single crochet and then how to decrease in single crochet, you can make almost any item that you want to in crochet.