One of the many things I enjoy about both knitting and crocheting is that they both tend to be fairly straightforward. You start with X number of stitches, work them in stitch pattern Y, and when you're done, you have project Z completed.
Except sometimes, it's not all that straightforward. There are increases and decreases to be worked, colors to be changed in and out, stitch patterns to be changed between, finishing to be done...you get the idea. Once you start thinking about all that, your nice, easy hobby becomes a bit more daunting. There's no reason to panic, though -- all these things are really, when it comes down to it, still pretty straightforward.
Let's take a look at increases, for instance. When you encounter an instruction for an increase, try not to over-think it. Most of the time, the instructions are pretty literal.
In crochet, the most common increase is to work two stitches into one (e.g., "2 sc in next st"). This can be a little confusing if you over-think it, but it's really literally just what it says: you make a single crochet (sc) into the next stitch just as you normally would, then you go back into that same stitch and make another sc. That's all there is to it. (Note: it doesn't have to be a sc — this increase can be done with any type of stitch.)
Knitting increases are a little more complicated. Some involve making a completely new stitch between two other stitches, like the yarn-over (YO) or make 1 (m1). One of the most common, however, is the kfb, which stands for "knit in the front and back of the stitch." There is one little trick to this stitch, and that is that after you make the first knit (into the front of the stitch), you don't complete the ultimate step of removing the worked stitch from the left needle; instead, you immediately make the second stitch (into the back of the stitch). Only then do you remove the worked stitch from the left needle.
See? Increases are nothing to fret about!
One thing that will help you keep on track is to check your total stitch count whenever you're given a reference in the pattern. It'll look something like this at the end of a row: "-- 15 (17, 19)." If your stitch count is correct, you should be in pretty good shape.
Need more help? Visit our YouTube channel for new video tutorials on increasing.