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DC3TOG crochet stitch is one of the stitches that you might not use every day, but that is useful to know, especially if you want to make a garment like a sweater.
What is a DC3TOG Crochet Stitch
DC3TOG stands for Double Crochet 3 Together and it’s a stitch that takes 3 Double Crochet stitches and joins them, reducing them to one stitch.
DC3TOG essentially decreases the stitch counts when turns 3 DC stitches into 1 DC. 3 DC stitches are crocheted together, leaving one and getting rid of the other two.
Because of its nature, DC3TOG is sometimes called a decrease stitch, and it’s one of the special stitches used for the shaping of crochet garments. Sometimes you can see a reference to cluster stitches when DC3TOG is used or a double crochet cluster stitch.
What can you make with DC3TOG stitch
The decrease can be used to shape parts of a garment like armholes or necklines on a sweater or shape the waistline of a dress or a skirt.
Sometimes the double crochet 3 together is used as a decorative stitch.
When the DC3TOG is used as a decorative stitch, it joins 3 DC stitches at the top and creates a shape of a triangle.
Note that when used as decorative stitches, especially when trying to maintain the same number of stitches in each row, DC3TOG needs to be paired up with 2 ch stitches in between to make up for the 2 DC stitches that are lost in each DC3TOG group.
Sometimes DC3TOG is referred as a cluster stitch or an inverted shell.
Here is how to DC3TOG crochet
Here is how to DC3TOG crochet at the beginning of the row
When you are doing DC3TOG at the beginning of the row, you would first CH 2 (to create partial first DC).
Next, yarn over, insert in the next stitch, yarn over and pull through. You have 3 loops on the hook.
Yarn over and pull through 2. You have 2 loops on the hook.
Yarn over and insert in the next stitch, yarn over and pull through. You have 4 loops on the hook.
Yarn over and pull through 2. You know have 3 loops on the hook (this only happens when you do DC3TOG at the beginning of the row).
Yarn over and pull through all 3.
And there you have it, DC3TOG at the beginning of the row.
Here is how to DC3TOG crochet in the middle of the row
When making DC3TOG in the middle of the row, crochet up to the point in your work where you need to make the stitch then yarn over, insert the hook into the next available stitch (front to back), yarn over, and pull the loop through. You have 3 loops on the hook.
Yarn over and draw through 2 loops. You have 2 loops on the hook. This is the first partial DC.
Yarn over and insert into the second stitch, yarn over and pull the loop through. You have 4 loops on a hook.
Yarn over and pull through 2 loops. You have 3 loops on the hook. This is the second partial DC.
Yarn over and insert hook, into the third stitch (front to back), yarn over, and pull the loop through. You have 5 loops on the hook.
Yarn over and pull through 2 loops. You have 4 loops on the hook.
Yarn over and pull through all 4 loops at the same time. You have joined 3 partial DCs into 1 DC.
Things to know about DC3TOG stitch
Sometimes DC3TOG cluster stitch is confused with a bobble stitch because they are worked so similarly.
Bobble stitch is even called a DC cluster stitch sometimes, just to add to the confusion. So what is similar and what is different between these two stitches?
As you saw from the steps above, DC3TOG is made out of 3 partially complete Double Crochet stitches that are then joined together into one stitch. The same is true for the bobble stitch.
Where the difference between these two stitches comes in is that DC3TOG is worked into 3 consecutive stitches, taking 3 DC stitches and joining them into one. That is the reason this stitch is often used for the reduction of the number of stitches and shaping. Because DC3TOG is made of 3 separate DC stitches joined at the top, it is shaped like a triangle or an upside-down shell.
Bobble stitch, on the other hand, is made of 3 partially complete DC stitches that are all crocheted into the same single stitch (at the bottom) and then joined into a single crochet stitch (at the top) so it is shaped like an oval, a bobble. A bobble stitch keeps the same number of stitches in each row.
A puff stitch is another stitch that gathers several stitches together, but it doesn’t reduce the stitch count in your work as, first, the stitches are added and then crocheted together to create the puff effect.
Some other things you might want to keep in mind about the DC3TOG:
- when it is used for decreases/shaping, it will often be on the edges of your work, being a first stitch and/or the last stitch in the row.
- when worked as a part of the design, when you get to the next row, you will have new stitches going into the top of your DC3TOG (and the ch spaces) below. If you are crocheting regular DCs over the DC3TOG stitches below, you will most likely be inserting your hook into the large loop at the top of the cluster (that is that single loop that joined 3 DCs together). You will be also working into ch-2 space between the clusters. At times you might be working into the loop that is after the large loop.
Even though DC3TOG is a decrease stitch, it is often used as a part of motif design. To make up for 2 DCs that are absorbed into the DC3TOG, a ch-2 (chain of 2 stitches) is added between each of the DC3TOG stitched. It creates a pretty pattern of upright triangles with a ch-2 in between. You can make a whole row of these to create a filigree design. This kind of motif looks great in a scarf, hat, cowl, granny square, or paired up with a double crochet shell stitch in the following row. You can also add more ch sp (chain space) in between the DC3TOG when working in a circle, and then complete using the slip stitch.
And there you have it! You now know how to make a DC3TOG crochet stitch.
There are many great free crochet tutorials to help you learn stitches like double crochet three together. If you want to see how to do it in real-time, here is one of the great video tutorials to guide you:
If you want to learn about other decrease stitches like DC2TOG, SC2TOG, or HDC2TOG, you can find them under the Crochet How-To category on this blog.
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