where to join crochet round

The Ultimate Guide to Crochet in the Round

the-ultimate-guide-to-crochet-in-the-round

The most frustrating topic for me as a beginner was without a doubt, crocheting in the round. It sounds pretty simple in theory but when you start to crochet in the round and you run into problem after problem, you realize it isn’t as simple as it seems – when to increase, when to stop increasing, how many stitches do I start with, why is it still getting bigger?

These are some of the questions that ran through my mind throughout several of my crochet in the round projects.

I wouldn’t call myself a math whiz but I really had to put my brain to work as I learned the rules and little nuances of crocheting in the round. Over the years, I’ve developed a guide for myself – the ultimate guide to crochet in the round.

This guide has been an excellent resource for me as a crocheter and a designer and, although I have most of it memorized now, still refer to it on a regular basis.

I want nothing more than to remove the frustrations you have with crochet. Are you ready for the ultimate guide to crochet in the round?

Part One: There is a recipe for crocheting the perfect circle

A recipe is a tool anyone can use to recreate the same dish. You have specific ingredients and certain steps. I know you’ve followed a recipe before and  it turned out pretty good, right?

Let’s think of a crochet circle as the dish. Here is your ingredient (it’s a simple dish):

  • stitches

Once you know what stitch you’re going to use, you’re ready for the steps to create your “dish”. Generally speaking, your steps are composed of:

  • when to increase
  • how many stitches in each round

There are other thoughts and questions to this, yes, but for now we’re simplifying it all the way down to the type of stitch, when to increase and how many stitches you will have in each round because these three principles will never change.

Principle 1: The stitch you’re working in will determine how many stitches to begin with.

When starting your circle with:

  • single crochet stitches – begin with 6 stitches.
  • half double crochet stitches – begin with 8 stitches.
  • double crochet stitches – begin with 10 stitches.
  • treble crochet stitches – begin with 12 stitches.

Principle 2: No matter which stitch you choose, you will always increase in the same increments

First let’s define an increase: an increase is when you make two stitches into one – you increase your overall stitch count by one.


In order for your circle to remain flat (and not roll up on the edges), you must evenly place your increases throughout each round. There is definitely some math behind this concept but fortunately you don’t have to understand it. You only need to follow this:

  • round 2 → zero stitches between increases (increase every stitch)
  • round 3 → 1 stitch between increases
  • round 4 → 2 stitches between increases
  • round 5 → 3 stitches between increases
  • round 6 → 4 stitches between increases
  • round 7 → 5 stitches between increases
  • round 8 → 6 stitches between increases
  • round 9 → 7 stitches between increases
  • round 10 → 8 stitches between increases
  • round 11 → 9 stitches between increases
  • round 12 → 10 stitches between increases
  • round 13 → 11 stitches between increases
  • round 14 → 12 stitches between increases
  • round 15 → 13 stitches between increases
  • round 16 → 14 stitches between increases
  • round 17 → 15 stitches between increases
  • round 18 → 16 stitches between increases
  • round 19 → 17 stitches between increases
  • round 20 → 18 stitches between increases

Did you spot the pattern there? The number of stitches in between increases  goes up by one every round. Once you figure out this pattern, it becomes really easy to memorize!

Here’s a tip!  Each increase will take place in the second stitch of an increase from the round below. Knowing this makes things even easier. You don’t even need to count.

Principle 3: because this is all one mathematical equation, the total number of stitches in each round is the same.

I say that with one caveat – the total number of stitches in each round is the same depending on how many stitches you started with. Don’t worry if math isn’t your thing. Just refer to the information below based on what number of stitches you started with.

If you start with 6 single crochet:

  • round 1 → 6 stitches total
  • round 2 → 12 stitches total
  • round 3 → 18 stitches total
  • round 4 →  24 stitches total
  • round 5 → 30 stitches total
  • round 6 → 36 stitches total
  • round 7 → 42 stitches total
  • round 8 → 48 stitches total
  • round 9 → 54 stitches total
  • round 10 → 60 stitches total
  • round 11 → 66 stitches total
  • round 12 → 72 stitches total
  • round 13 → 78 stitches total
  • round 14 → 84 stitches total
  • round 15 → 90 stitches total

If you start with 8 half double crochet:

  • round 1 → 8 stitches total
  • round 2 → 16 stitches total
  • round 3 → 24 stitches total
  • round 4 →  32 stitches total
  • round 5 → 40 stitches total
  • round 6 → 48 stitches total
  • round 7 → 56 stitches total
  • round 8 → 64 stitches total
  • round 9 → 72 stitches total
  • round 10 → 80 stitches total
  • round 11 → 88 stitches total
  • round 12 → 96 stitches total
  • round 13 → 104 stitches total
  • round 14 → 112 stitches total
  • round 15 → 120 stitches total

If you start with 10 double crochet:

  • round 1 → 10 stitches total
  • round 2 → 20 stitches total
  • round 3 → 30 stitches total
  • round 4 →  40 stitches total
  • round 5 → 50 stitches total
  • round 6 → 60 stitches total
  • round 7 → 70 stitches total
  • round 8 → 80 stitches total
  • round 9 → 90 stitches total
  • round 10 → 100 stitches total
  • round 11 → 110 stitches total
  • round 12 → 120 stitches total
  • round 13 → 130 stitches total
  • round 14 → 140 stitches total
  • round 15 → 150 stitches total

If you start with 12 treble crochet:

  • round 1 → 12 stitches total
  • round 2 → 24 stitches total
  • round 3 → 36 stitches total
  • round 4 →  48 stitches total
  • round 5 → 60 stitches total
  • round 6 → 72 stitches total
  • round 7 → 84 stitches total
  • round 8 → 96 stitches total
  • round 9 → 108 stitches total
  • round 10 → 120 stitches total
  • round 11 → 132 stitches total
  • round 12 → 144 stitches total
  • round 13 → 156 stitches total
  • round 14 → 168 stitches total
  • round 15 → 180 stitches total

Did you spot the pattern on this one too? The number of stitches in each round goes up by the same number you started with every round. If you like little math brain teasers, you’re probably squeeing with delight.

Can you believe that’s all there is to it? As long as you have the first part of this ultimate guide handy, you’ll never have to think when crocheting your circle. Part 2 of the ultimate guide to crochet in the round isn’t so structured because we’ll be addressing variables that may change from person to person.



Part 2: Variables to crochet in the round and how to deal with them

There are certain things that will (potentially) impact your crochet circle even if you follow all the steps to part one. Fortunately, these things can be dealt with as they come up and you can learn from each experience. After you’ve read through part one and you’re ready to dive into your circle, read this section first.

Where do I join?

Knowing where to join at the end of each round is a real bear until you learn this simple rule. Before I tell you where to join with a slip stitch at the end of every round, you must first answer one question:

does your starting chain count as a stitch?

In many cases it does, however, that’s not always the case. If I’m working a simple double crochet circle, I always allow my starting chains to count as a stitch. Certain patterns may not include it in your stitch count. So how do you answer this question?

If your pattern says “join with a slst to the (first/second/third) chain”, you can conclude the chain counts as a stitch.

If your pattern says “join with a slst to the first stitch”, you can conclude the chain does NOT count as a stitch.

Now that you’ve determined whether your starting chain counts as a stitch or not, you’re ready for me to tell you where to join at the end of each round. I’ll illustrate this in the following pictures:

where-to-join-scenario-two

The photo above demonstrates where to join when your starting chain counts as a stitch. In this example, I am working in double crochet stitches. No matter what stitch you are working with, you will always join with the top of your starting chain.

where-to-join-scenario-one

The photo above demonstrates where to join when your starting chain does NOT count as a stitch. I’m working in double crochet stitches in this example as well. No matter what stitch you are working with, you will always join with the first stitch of that round.

What if I’m not supposed to join?

If your pattern indicates to work “in spiral” or has no joining instructions, you will need to mark the first stitch of every round to keep track of where you are. You will not have to worry about where to join but you will need to keep track of your stitch count and what round you’re working on.

How do I start each round?

This question only comes up if your are working a circle solo without a pattern, a likely scenario if you plan to make your own designs.

Since we have to increase in specific increments each round, we can make our lives a lot easier if we follow these rules every time:

On round two, make your starting chain and then make an increase in the next stitch (or first stitch of the round)

Doing so will require that your last stitch be placed with your starting chain. This will fill the little gap that is created if you increase here at the beginning of the round. Here is what that will look like:

round-two-example-one

On every remaining round, make your starting chain the first of the stitches between your increases.

For example here I have started on round four, a round that requires two stitches in between increases. My starting chain is the first one of those two stitches. Then I make the second of those stitches in the next stitch. Then I make my increase. When you do this, your last stitch will always be an increase.

round-four-example

If you start off the same every round, you’ll form a habit and be less likely to make mistakes.

When do I stop decreasing?

This is another question that will come up if you are flying solo on your crochet circle and design. The pattern, of course, will tell you when to stop decreasing.

You should stop decreasing when you no longer want your circle to lay flat anymore.

I feel like this is a pretty obvious statement and I certainly don’t want to insult your intelligence. However, this point brings up a real issue.

Just because you stopped increasing, doesn’t mean you’ll see immediate results.

The stitch you’re using is going to determine how many rows (of not increasing anymore) you’ll need before you see a shape transformation. I wish this part was as easy as giving you a chart to follow. Unfortunately, hook size, yarn, tension and gauge all play a role in this. Here’s a simple rule of thumb:

  • when working in single crochet stitches, stop decreasing approximately 6 rounds before you want the shape to change.
  • when working in half double crochet stitches, stop decreasing approximately 3 rounds before you  want the shape to change.
  • when working in double crochet stitches, stop decreasing about 1 round before you want the shape to change.

You may have to play around with this. It really makes hat sizing a struggle! For more information on hat sizing, check out

How to size a hat so it fits every time

I really wish something like this guide existed when I started learning the basics of crochet in the round. I really hope you find a lot of useful information here and it helps you be more successful in your hobby, charity efforts or business.

If you have a question related to crocheting in the round or you feel I’ve left out something very important here, please leave me a comment below. I’ll be adding to this ultimate guide to meet your  needs. I’m here for you!

Cheers!

Brittany copy



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