When it comes to crocheting in the round, not all projects will lie flat. But learning to crochet a flat circle is really useful if you want to make bags, coasters or circular decorations such as flowers and mandalas, like this giant granny mandala I made earlier this year in fresh spring colors.
The good news? It’s so easy to crochet a flat circle that looks seamless and perfect — as long as you have just six crochet tricks up your sleeve.
1. Start with the right number of stitches
You must have the right number of starting stitches in your first round. Too many stitches and you make waves; too few and you have a bowl.
Generally, the taller the stitch, the more stitches you need to start with in round 1.
- Single crochet: Use 6-8 stitches in round 1
- Half double crochet: Use 10 stitches in round 1
- Double crochet: Use 12-14 stitches in round 1
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2. Increase with precision
To make your circle grow just enough without getting too big around the edge, you need to follow some basic rules about how many times to increase as your work 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 remember for all circles!
Note that you must start with the recommended number of stitches in round 1 for this to work.
The increase pattern for all circles
- Round 1: Start with the recommended number of stitches listed above.
- Round 2: Make two stitches into each stitch of round 1 — an increase into every stitch.
- Round 3: Make two stitches into the first stitch of the previous round, one stitch into the next. Repeat this pattern — an increase into every other stitch.
- Round 4: Make two stitches into the first stitch of the previous round, then one stitch into the next two stitches. Repeat all the way around — that’s an increase every third stitch.
- Round 5: Make two stitches into the first stitch, then one stitch into the next three stitches. Repeat this pattern — in other words, an increase into every fourth stitch.
With every round, you make one more single stitch between the increases. By round 10, for example, you’d make eight single stitches between each increase.
This can be tricky to get your head around if it’s the first time you’ve tried to crochet a flat circle. Below, I’ve enlarged these photographs to show you exactly what’s going on. Follow along for practice.
Rounds 1 and 2
Start with a magic loop. Make three chains and 12 DCs into the ring, which will give you 13 stitches in round 1, shown on the left in the photo below.
Closed with a neat circle join. Then, join another color yarn for round 2 by making a DC into one of the DC stitches in round 1. Work a second DC into the same stitch and complete the round making two DCs into every stitch.
The result, shown in the photo above on the right, is a circle with 26 DC stitches. Close with a neat join again. So far, so good!
Rounds 3 and 4
In the photos below, 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 below, there is an increase every other stitch. In round 4, on the right, there are two single stitches between each increase. Work up these rounds, following these patterns.
Rounds 5 and 6
In round 5, on the left below, each increase is separated by three single stitches. In round 6 (below right), each increase is separated by four single stitches.
3. Count, count, count those stitches
An easy way to make sure you are on track in each round is to count your stitches. Each round should increase by the same number you started with in round 1.
The samples above started with 13 DC in round 1, so you’d add 13 stitches each additional round. The stitch count for rounds 2–6 should be:
- Round 2: 26 (13 + 13)
- Round 3: 39 (26 + 13)
- Round 4: 52 (39 + 13)
- Round 5: 65 (52 + 13)
- Round 6: 78 (65 + 13)
4. Say yes to seamless joining
Your flat circle may as well be perfectly round, too. No matter how hard you try, if you close each round with a slip stitch and start the next with three chains, you get a not-so-pretty seam.
Try this method instead: When you finish the final DC in any round of your circle, cut the yarn and pull it through the stitch. Thread it onto a darning needle and sew it through both loops of the first stitch of the round — but don’t pull tight yet. Bring the needle and tail end back to the front of your work and sew it between the front and back loop of the last DC of the round. As you pull close, you will see a figure eight shape in the yarn just before it closes. Adjust the tension slightly and you should have a seamless join.
Start the next round with a standing stitch DC. To do this, hold the new yarn to the back of your work, put the yarn around the hook twice, insert the hook into the next stitch, yarn around the hook and pull through. You will now have three loops on the hook — you can now complete a DC as usual. Take care to crochet over your tail end to secure it
5. Learn the amigurumi technique
In amigurumi crochet, single crochet stitches are worked in a spiral to achieve a seamless join, even when the entire circle is made in one colour.
This short step-by-step tutorial shows you how to crochet a flat circle using the amigurumi technique.
Make a magic loop and crochet eight SC into the loop. Then, instead of joining with a slip stitch, crochet the first stitch of round two into the top of the first stitch of round one.
You’ll close all the rounds this way, so it’s vital to add a stitch marker to note where your rounds begin.
In the third photo above, I have inserted a contrasting yarn as my stitch marker and then made the second SC stitch right into that same stitch.
The rules of increasing with each round of a circle are the same with the amigurumi technique. Having started with eight stitches in round 1, you’ll make two SC into each stitch all the way around until you reach that marker again. This will give you 16 stitches in round 2.
Complete more rounds, following the basic rules for spacing out increases. You can crochet a flat circle as large as you like as long as you keep increasing according to the simple rules described above, and remember to mark the start of each row so you know where you are up to.
By the end of round 6 (shown in the rightmost photo above) you can see the spiral effect more clearly and how flat the circle is staying.
6. If things go wrong, act fast!
Although the first five hacks will give you perfect, flat circles 95 percent of the time, you still need to be prepared to be a little creative and flexible if things start to go wrong.
Everyone’s crochet tension is different, and changing your hook size slightly, using an unusual yarn or just losing your concentration could derail your circle. This last trick will help you recognize these signs early so you can avoid re-doing too much work.
The potato chip
Compared to the flat circle in the center, the one at the top right looks super ruffled — 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 still include an increase in every stitch. The result tells you why amigurumi can be used to to crochet food!
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. That may be enough to solve the problem.
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 in control of when it happens.
If your circle edges start to rise up, try repeating the round you have just finished. For example, if you are on round 5, work another round 5 before going on.
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