Today we're going to learn about invisible shaping techniques. As we discussed in our post on the Magic Loop, amigurumi are stuffed toys, so the fewer and smaller the gaps between stitches, the less stuffing will show through and the neater your completed amigurumi will look.
This is where invisible shaping comes in handy. The photo below shows a single crochet decrease as the last stitch worked. You'll notice how there is a small gap at the top between the decreased stitch and the stitch immediately preceding it.
The same problem occurs when two single crochets are worked in one stitch for an increase; the stitch that the single crochets are worked into "opens up" and a gap may be noticed. These small gaps are usually a non-issue to most crocheters, but if you'd really like your projects to have that professional look, consider trying out our invisible shaping techniques. While we recommend these for amigurumis, they may be used in any project in which shaping is involved, like crocheted clothing.
The Invisible Increase
I'm assuming if you're interested in learning about invisible shaping in crochet, that you are an experience enough crocheter to know that every crochet stitch has two loops that may be worked into, as shown below.
When most crocheters are taught to work two stitches in one stitch, they are taught to work both stitches in both loops. This will sometimes stretch out that stitch so that a little hole is created at the base of the increase. We can eliminate this hole by splitting the increase between the two loops.
1. When a pattern says to work two stitches of any kind in one stitch, work the first stitch in the front loop only...
2. Work the second stitch in the unused back loop of that same stitch.
3. Your invisible increase is complete! And see how nicely the stitches are formed, without any gaps at the base? Easy peasy.
The Invisible Decrease
The invisible decrease is slightly more tricky than the invisible increase, but it's still pretty easy once you know how to do it. Normally crocheters are taught to decrease by working two stitches together. This can create a gap between the decreased stitch and the stitch before it. The invisible decrease is different in that you work one stitch across two stitches, thereby eliminating that gap.
1. When you are ready to decrease, insert your hook through the front loop only of the first stitch. In the photo above we are decreasing in single crochets; if you are decreasing in half-double crochets, double crochets, or any other stitch, yarn over the required number of times for that stitch before inserting your hook.
2. After you've inserted your hook into the front loop of the first stitch, without yarning over (this applies to all stitch types), insert your hook in the front loop of the next stitch.
3. Yarn over and pull a loop through both of the front loops.