Crocheting a flat circle seems pretty straightforward: crochet in rounds, throw in some increases and — bam! — you’ve got a circle. Except, you might have something that’s a little misshapen and not actually a circle.
The good news is this problem is totally fixable. All you need are a few rules to help guarantee you get perfect circles every time.
1. Start With the Right Number
Your first round really sets the stage for success, so make sure you have 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. A few guidelines to keep in mind:
- 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
2. Nail the Magic Increase Formula
To make your circle grow just enough without getting too big around the edge, you need to know how many times to increase and where to increase each round. Luckily, this is the same whether you’re making a crochet circle using sc, hdc or dc stitches.
Pro Tip: You must start with the recommended number of stitches laid out above if you want this formula to work its magic.
- 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.
Now, what does this actually look like? See below how to work a flat circle in double crochet.
Rounds 1 and 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, 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 and 4
In the photos above, the increase stitches are highlighted with green Vs 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, shown on the right, there are two single stitches between each increase.
An easy way to make sure you’re on track in each round is to count your stitches. Remember, you’re increasing by the same number of stitches you started with in Round 1. So, because our example started with 13 dc, each subsequent round increases 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 flat 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.
How to Fix Mistakes
Although the above tips will give you perfect, flat circles 95 percent of the time, there’s still a chance things can go wrong. After all, your tension could be off, or you could accidentally repeat a row or forget a few increases. When that happens, you may find yourself with a wonky-looking circle. Here’s what to do in each situation.
The Potato Chip
Compared to the flat circle in the center, the one at the top right looks super ruffled — that’s the potato chip effect. This is what happens if there are too many stitches around the outside of your growing circle. In this example, rounds 1 and 2 are correct, but the others have too many increases.
If your circle shows signs of ruffling, try pulling back a couple of rounds and skip a round. For instance, you could pull back to round 4, then crochet round 6 instead of round 5 before carrying on. Because you’re skipping a set of increases, you’ll have fewer stitches and hopefully a flatter edge.
The example on the top left shows what happens if you complete rounds 1 and 2 correctly, but then continue without increasing at all. The sides curl up, beginning the formation of a bowl or basket. When this happens, try repeating the round you’ve just finished. So if you’re on round 5, work another round 5 before going on to round 6. Problem solved!
I would like to learn how to crochet small animals but I have trouble getting started.
Like to learn to crochet
My mother crocheted beautifully. She made doilies, table cloths, and even bedspreads. She tried to teach me but I didn’t have the patience to past a chain stitch. (I can make very long chains!) Mom is gone now but I really want to learn. I bought a teach yourself crochet book and basic supplies. I know I will really enjoy this site.
I didn’t understand this 🙁 any video recommendations for beginners? I’m completely lost. I try so hard but it feels it’s experts teaching experts. :'(
Look up magic circle on YouTube
I like the YouTube channels called “Bella Coco” and “Hooked by Robin”. If you’re a beginner I’d recommend starting with something like a scarf. Something square with rows. It’s hard as a beginner to see the stitches clearly as you’re making them and square rows are easy to see. There is no counting needed in a square if you’re using a simple type of stitch because all you have to do is turn the work when you get to the end of the row. If you use worsted size yarn that uses a size 5.0 hook (or something similar) to start, it will help. Something bright colored and not fancy is also good when you’re a beginner. Some of the fancy yarns are tempting as a beginner but harder to work with. Magic circle can be tricky for some people so you can always start with a small chain that you slip stitch into a loop. I’ve found that circles using the double crochet stitch (triple in UK terms) are a bit easier for beginners than the single crochet (double in UK). When working in a circle I highly recommend using stitch markers at the beginning of each row of the circle so you know where to start/stop each row. Also some way to keep track of how many stitches you are planning for each row.
Looks easy enough.
I love to crochet, been crocheting for over 40 years, love it and I love this tip, sometimes I make a perfect circle and sometimes no, thank you would live to have a copy of this formula. I also am into cardmaking and wreath making. Love to work with wood.
I only like knitting, cooking, baking, painting, cake decorating send some of those things
ILove Arts and Crafts. I like to do deserts, and cook for others. I like to can things like jam and jellies I want to learn most of all how to crochet.
Is there a way for me to get a copy of “This Is the Secret to Crocheting Flat Circles” ? I will pay for it.
It is such important information.
I copy and pasted it to a Note on my phone. You could do that, or paste it to a word document and print it?
Very helpful and explained very clearly. Thank you!
Well done, excelling pictures! Thanks!
Excellent explanation. I have been following patterns for crocheting in-the round items with increases like this but didn’t fully understand the math. This really helps and now I can apply this to a pattern I am working now that is incomplete. Thank you.
Great helper video.
Thank you for this information. I was wanting to start making a bowl but had no instructions. By following your information I can now to do this without any problem. Thank you.
Very helpful thank you! The pattern I’m using is wrong! Someone in a crochet group shared your post and it helped me a lot I’m going to frog the whole thing and use this technique instead <3
I crochet Teddy Bears & toys for homeless children and have had this problem constantly but you have solved it! Thank you sooooo much. Elaine
Am trying to find a crochet pattern for round shell crochet in English can you help
How is an increase done with a circle of granny stitches? I also need to know how to decrease using granny stitches, please.
This is very, very helpful, thank you so much. Not only do I get to learn how to make perfect flat circles, but also a basket 🙂
Good and beautiful job. Thank you.
My work looks more like the potato chip
This the first time I’ve viewed Craftsy, and Hannah, your comment made me laugh out loud! I’m a beginner who hasn’t begun yet, and I’m sure my initial attempt will look like a chip, too! :o)