Learn to Crochet Flat Circles (It's All About the Increase)

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Crocheting a flat circle seems pretty straightforward: crochet in rounds, throw in some increases, and you've got a circle. Except, you probably don't have a circle — you probably have something a little misshapen.

The good news is, this problem is fixable. If you follow a couple rules, you can have perfect circles every time.

Start with the Right Number

Your first round really sets the stage for success, so make sure you've got the right number of stitches from the get go. Too many stitches and you make waves; too few and you have a bowl.

Generally, the taller the stitch, the more stitches you need in your first round:

  • Single crochet (sc): Start with 6-8 stitches in Round 1
  • Half double crochet (hdc): Start with 8-10 stitches in Round 1
  • Double crochet (dc): Start wtih 10-13 stitches in Round 1

It's All About the Increase

To make your circle grow just enough without getting too big around the edge, you need to know the rules of how many times to increase and where to increase each round. Luckily, these rules are the same whether you are making a crochet circle using sc, hdc or dc stitches. Only one set of rules to rule them all!

Note that you must start with the recommended number of stitches that we laid out in our first tip if you want this formula to work its magic.  

Increase Pattern for ALL Circles

  • Round 1: Start with the recommended number of stitches listed above.
  • Round 2: Make 2 stitches into each stitch of Round 1 (you're increasing in every stitch).
  • Round 3: Make 2 stitches into the first stitch of the previous round, 1 stitch into the next. Repeat this pattern around (you're increasing every other stitch).
  • Round 4: Make 2 stitches into the first stitch of the previous round, then 1 stitch into each of the next 2 stitches. Repeat this pattern around (you're increasing every third stitch).
  • Round 5: Make 2 stitches into the first stitch, then 1 stitch into each of the next 3 stitches. Repeat this pattern around (you're increasing every fourth stitch).

With every round, you work one more regular stitch between your increase stitches. By Round 10, for example, you'd make 8 single stitches between each increase.

That's all well and good, but what does it actually look like? Follow along in the photos below as we work a flat circle in double crochet.

Rounds 1 + 2

Start with a magic ring . Make 3 chains and 12 dc into the ring, which will give you 13 stitches in Round 1, shown on the left in the photo above.

For Round 2, worked in a new color (the circle on the right in the above photo), make a dc into one of the dc stitches in Round 1. Work a second dc into the same stitch and complete the round making 2 dc into every stitch.

By working 2 stitches into every stitch, you've doubled your stitches in Round 2. You now have 26 stitches.

Rounds 3 + 4

In the photos above, the increase stitches are highlighted with green V's and the single stitches are shown in bright pink lines. In Round 3, shown on the left, there is an increase every other stitch. In Round 4, on the right, there are two single stitches between each increase.

Keep Count

An easy way to make sure you're on track in each round is to count your stitches. Each round, you're increasing by the same number of stitches you started with in Round 1.

Our example started with 13 dc, so each subsequent round will increase by 13 stitches.

  • Round 2: 26 (13 sts from previous round + 13 sts increased)
  • Round 3: 39 (26 + 13)
  • Round 4: 52 (39 + 13)
  • Round 5: 65 (52 + 13)
  • Round 6: 78 (65 + 13)

Give Spirals a Go

There's another method for crocheting circles, used primarily in amigurumi : instead of joining each round and making a complete ring, you work in an ever growing spiral pattern . The same formula for increasing applies.

Fix It, Fast!

Although the first five tips will give you perfect, flat circles 95 percent of the time, there's still a slight chance things can go wrong.

Maybe your tension is off, or maybe you weren't quite paying attention, and repeated a row, or forgot a few increases. You may find yourself with a circle that's starting to look a bit wonky...

The Potato Chip

Compared to the flat circle in the center, the one at the top right looks super ruffled — we call that the potato chip effect. This is what happens if you have too many stitches around the outside of your growing circle. In this example, rounds 1 and 2 are correct, but the rest of the rounds have too many increases.

If your circle shows signs of ruffling, try pulling back a couple of rounds and skip a round. For example, pull back to round 4 and then crochet round 6 instead of round 5 before carrying on. You're skipping a set of increases, so you'll have fewer stitches and hopefully a flatter edge.

The Bowl

The example on the top left shows what happens if you complete rounds 1 and 2 correctly and then continue without increasing at all. The sides will curl up. This is exactly what you want if you are making a bowl or basket — but you need to be the boss of when it happens.

If your circle edges start to rise up, try repeating the round you've just finished. For example, if you are on round 5, work another round 5 before going on to round 6.

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