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Beginner Basics: Crochet.101

Circles


Knowing how to crochet in the round opens up a whole other world of possibilities. Hats, booties, bags, trims and granny squares are just some of the wonderful things you will be able to make. There are two basic methods to learn: working in a spiral and working in rounds that are joined. Knowing how to do these two techniques will prepare you for the variations that you are sure to encounter as you peruse pattern directions.

MAKING A RING

No matter which method you use or whether you are making a hat from the top of the crown down or making a cuff from the bottom up, you need to start with a ring to form the foundation for your first round of stitches. The only difference between a hat and a cuff is how many chain stitches you begin with.

making a ring
making a ring making a ring  

1. To make a practice ring, chain six. Insert the hook through both loops of the first chain stitch made. Yarn over and draw through the chain stitch and the loop on the hook in one movement.

2. You have now joined the chain with a slip stitch and formed a ring.  


WORKING IN A SPIRAL

A spiral is worked around and around without interruption. This method is usually done in single or half double crochet so there won’t be a big difference in height between the beginning and the end of a round. The only tricky part is to count the stitches accurately and to keep track of the increases from one round to the next. Use a small safety pin as a stitch marker and a pad and pencil to make notes before you begin.

working in a spiral
working in a spiral working in a spiral  

1. Chain five. Join the chain with a slip stitch, forming a ring. Work ten single crochets in the ring. Fasten a safety pin in the last stitch made to indicate the end of the round.

2. Work two single crochets in each of the first nine stitches. Unfasten the safety pin from the last stitch. Work two single crochets in the last stitch. Refasten the safety pin in the last stitch made—you now have twenty stitches. To practice one more round, *work one single crochet in the next stitch, then work two single crochets in the following stitch. Repeat from the * to the end of the round, unfastening, then refastening the safety pin in the last stitch—you now have thirty stitches.  


WORKING JOINED ROUNDS

This method can be used for any height stitch, because the beginning and end of each round are equal in height. This is accomplished by beginning each round with a chain of stitches that equal the height of the stitch being used. To end each round, a slip stitch is made in the first stitch to join the round or, in other words, complete the circle. Although this method of concentric circles is more advanced than working in a spiral, it is easier to keep track of the number of stitches because you can easily see where the round begins and ends. However, you should still keep track of the increases using a pad and pencil.

working joined rounds
working joined rounds working joined rounds  

1. Chain five. Join the chain with a slip stitch forming a ring. Chain three (equals the height of a double crochet stitch). Work twelve double crochets in the ring, then join the round with a slip stitch in the top two loops of the first stitch.

2. For the second round, chain three. Work two double crochet in each of the twelve stitches. Join the round with a slip stitch in the first stitch—you now have twenty-four stitches. To practice one more round, chain three, *work one double crochet in the next stitch, then work two double crochet in the following stitch. Repeat from the * to the end of the round. Join the round with a slip stitch in the first stitch—you now have thirty-six stitches.  


Tip:
To save time weaving in ends, crochet over the foundation chain tail as you work the first round of stitches into the ring.

A FEW WORDS ABOUT INCREASING

How increases are distributed around depends on three main factors: what stitch is being used, the weight of the yarn, and what shape is to be achieved. There are no hard and fast rules, but generally the taller the stitch the more stitches will be worked in the first round and all rounds thereafter, as opposed to a shorter stitch. A thinner yarn requires more stitches in the first round than a thicker yarn. To keep the work flat or to create a conical shape, there might be some rounds that have no increases at all. So expect the unexpected and just go with the flow!


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