When you decrease in crochet, you essentially make two stitches next to each other that are linked together at the top. In double crochet, this means you link together 2 side-by-side double crochet stitches. This is also known as "double crochet two together" and is abbreviated in crochet patterns as dc2tog.
Double Crochet Clusters
The same technique used for decreasing in double crochet is also sometimes known as the two double crochet cluster stitch. Clusters, similar to decreasing, link... side-by-side stitches at the top. If you link only two, this is the exact same thing as dc2tog, and it is a 2 dc cluster. If you were to create a 3 dc cluster, it would mean linking three side-by-side stitches; this is also known as dc3tog, which makes sense since what you are doing is double crocheting three stitches together into one. You can make crochet clusters of various sizes. It is traditionally only considered a decrease when it is a cluster of just two; technically you're decreasing with any cluster but when you're purposely decreasing as a shaping technique in crochet then you're almost invariably talking about a "cluster" of only 2 stitches for the decrease.
How to Double Crochet Two Together
This tutorial shows you how to dc2tog, linking two double crochet stitches together into one. This tutorial is specific to double crochet but it will also give you a basic understanding not only of clusters but also of decreasing in other stitches (such as sc2tog and hdc2tog as well as more complex stitches such as fpdc2tog). Learning the concept with a basic stitch as simple as double crochet offers a great foundation for learning decreasing and clusters for all basic stitches.
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Crochet To The Point Where You Want to Decrease
First you will work your crochet as normal until you get to the point where you want to create the decrease (also called the dc2tog or the 2 dc cluster).
In the photo here, you will see that we have created a starting chain and we have added some standard double crochet stitches. We have also done the first yarn over, which will be discussed in the next step, but as long as you know how to double crochet, this should all feel very familiar.
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Yarn Over And Insert Into Next Stitch
When you crochet two stitches together, you begin by starting the first of the two stitches in normal fashion. For the 2dctog stitch, this means that you will yarn over and insert into the next stitch, just like you would if you were crocheting a regular double crochet stitch.
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Yarn Over Again
You will continue with your first double crochet as normal, so you will yarn over. You aren't doing anything different, yet, from a regular double crochet stitch, but it's good to take it step-by-step when you're practicing something new in crochet.
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Still continuing as normal, you will pull the "yarn over" through the stitch. There will be two loops on the hook.
Now, if you were just completing the double crochet then at this stage you would do another yarn over and pull through the loops on the hook, right? But we're not going to do that; this is where we begin the differences that make it a 2dctog stitch, rather than 2 dc stitches that are side-by-side.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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Yarn Over and Insert Into Next Stitch
You already have the base of your first double crochet in the cluster. Now you're ready to create the base of the second double crochet in the cluster. So, now you're going to yarn over and insert the hook into the next stitch. Basically, you want to pretend that you're creating another double crochet, even though you haven't quite finished working the first one. Just ignore the loops already on your hook and proceed as normal with the first steps of this second double crochet... stitch.
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Yarn Over Again
You are essentially working a regular double crochet stitch, except that you already have loops on the hook from the first stitch in the cluster. So, working relatively normally, you will yarn over again.
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When you pull that last yarn over through, you will have three loops on your hook.
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Yarn Over Again
Now you're going to yarn over again. At this point, you're working to complete the top portions of both of the double crochet stitches, linking them together.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
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Pull Through Two Loops
This is, of course, where things are about to get different from a basic double crochet stitch. There are three loops on your hook. When you do the yarn over in step eight, pull it all the way through the first two loops on the hook.
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Yarn Over and Pull Through
There are now two loops on your hook. Yarn over one last time and pull through both of those loops. You have created your first double crochet cluster.
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You can dc2tog!
You now know how to dc2tog! That's it; you've placed 2 dc stitches side-by-side, starting each one on its own but finishing them off together. Practice it a few more times to really get the hang of it but basically you now know what you're doing.
You can use what you've learned here to decrease other crochet stitches as well. You can sc2tog, for example, by starting a single crochet, starting a second single crochet next to it, and then finishing them together.
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Understanding Double Crochet Clusters
When you dc2tog, it is normally for the purpose of decreasing in crochet, which is something that you do for shaping items, including garments and accessories. However, it can also be used as a decorative feature in crochet. In that case, it is more commonly called a 2 dc cluster.
You may find several sets of these clusters in a row, depending on your pattern. This photo shows a row featuring (from right to left) 4 dc stitches, 2 side-by-side clusters of dc2tog and then 2 dc. The finger are... pointing at the two double crochet clusters.
Remember to pay attention to the details in any crochet pattern, because even though this is the classic way to dc2tog, occasionally pattern designers have their own instructions.