Crochet Straight Edges Every Time:
No Second-Guessing When Counting
Stitches or Rows Again!
Do you want your crochet projects to have straight edges every time?
Have you ever crocheted a project only to find that it looks lop-sided or uneven after you've already crocheted most of it?
Well, let me tell you, you're not alone in this!
Most crocheters have this problem, and there are several solutions to solve it.
But let me show you the easiest trick in the book! You can try it out right away!
The best thing about this trick for crocheting straight edges every time is you don't even need any supplies that you don't already have on hand.
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- Some yarn (or the project you are currently working on - also called your WIP in Crochet Slang)
- Crochet hook that fits your yarn (check yarn label)
- A second crochet hook (of similar size) - if you don't have a second hook, you can use only one, but you'll have to remove it from the first stitch you're on until you're done with your trick and insert it again to continue with your row.
- Snippets of yarn in contrasting color/colors
How To Crochet Straight Edges Every Time
Ok, so we all know that it's really difficult to keep count of our stitches, especially when working on larger projects like afghans or even scarves.
Tall stitches are quite easy to count, but single crochet stitches are a tad more difficult to keep track of.
Heck, I so often loose count in my amigurumi sometimes! There's always someone yelling, "Mooooom" from another room right when I'm in the middle of counting my stitches!!!
So let me show you what I do now so I don't get frustrated about losing count and having to start over again and again.
What you will need is a snippet of yarn (you know, those snippets of yarn you have lying around, leftovers from weaving in ends), yes, they'll come in handy now!!)
Straight Edges For Crocheting in Rows
First off, let's get clear on how exactly we place our stitches when crocheting rows of single crochet.
Let's say you are crocheting a square or rectangular project. You will have one of 2 options:
Method 1 (Craft Yarn Council Standard):
- Crochet into the second stitch of your row (skip a stitch at the beginning).
- Continue to sc along this row.
- Crochet your last stitch into the turning chain of the previous row (might be a little bit difficult for beginners, so if you're a newbie to crochet, stick to Method 2 below).
- Insert a snippet of yarn into your first stitch of every row.
Method 2 (Alternative Method):
- Crochet into the first stitch of your row (do not skip a stitch at the beginning)
- Continue to sc along this row till you reach last stitch of previous row.
- Do not crochet your last stitch into the turning chain of the previous row
- Insert a snippet of yarn into your first stitch of every row (use a snippet of contrasting color so you can spot it easily and not confuse it with your working yarn.
You will notice that both these 2 methods above produce straight edges. The only difference is the bumps on the side of Method 1 are less apparent than those in Method 2.
In my opinion, both methods are equally acceptable. If you don't like working into the turning chains (which can be quite tight sometimes), then I'd recommend sticking to Method 2.
Note: In both these methods above, the turning chain is not counted as a stitch. This is normally the case in single crochet. However, in taller stitches like double crochet or trebble crochet, the turning chain is counted as the first stitch of the following row.
How to Keep Count of Stitches in Crochet Rows
I'm sure you've heard this a million times: COUNT YOUR STITCHES!
I agree! This is great advice, but for some reason, it's quite difficult sometimes. It requires so much concentration and when you're working in a place that has just a little bit of distraction, keeping count of your stitches can become really difficult.
So what I suggest you do is use snippets of yarn to keep track of the beginnings of your rows.
Let me explain..., but first... if you're wondering...
Why Yarn Snippets?
Well, this might be a personal preference of mine, but I've experimented with different little tools like stitch markers, bobby pins, paper clips, earrings and safety pins.
I simply don't like the hardness of these items and have realized that snippets of yarn do this job really well.
They don't slip out easily, which means the stay in place... which is exactly what you want in this case.
I just leave them hanging straight, but if you are worried they'd fall out for some reason (if you've got little kids around or some fur babies), you could tie a loose knot to secure them in place.
You could even do a double knot for extra security, but make sure to tie a large enough loop that you can easily cut it off when you're done with your project.
Keep track of your stitches without counting them after Row 1
For this example, we are going to use the single crochet stitch working in rows and starting off with a chain.
Let's say, you're working on a pattern that says to crochet into the first stitch of the next row (Method 2 above).
What you do is, once you've finished your foundation chain, chain 1 to go up to the next row (number of chains will depend on what's written in the pattern you're following, but for this example, we are only chaining 1),
Work one stitch into the next st (without skipping a stitch), then insert your snippet of yarn into that stitch.
Ideally, your yarn snippets should be around 2 to 3 inches long to make sure they don't fall out.
Continue to crochet your first row to the end, and make sure to count that you have the correct number of stitches for this row. This is the only time you'll have to count your stitches for this project.
Work your last stitch of Row 1, turn your work, ch 1 to go up to the next row, work one stitch and insert your second snippet of yarn.
Continue to crochet Row 2. When you get to the end of that row, Insert your last stitch into the stitch that has a yarn snippet. This is your last stitch for this row. You can be sure of that and you don't need to count your stitches from now on.
Chain 1 to go to the next row, turn your work, work one stitch, then insert another snippet of yarn into that stitch. Continue to insert a yarn snippet into the first stitch of each subsequent row.
Once you repeat this on every row, you won't ever have to count your stitches again and you won't have to worry that you're accidentally creating more or fewer stitches. Trust me, we've all been there before!
If the pattern you are working on does count your turning chain as a stitch (Method 2 above), then insert your snippet of yarn into the top of that chain of each row (not after the first stitch as we did before).
Keep Track of Your Rows Without Getting Confused
Using this yarn snippet method allows you to count your rows easily too.
If you have enough snippets of yarn (which I'm sure you do, or you could just cut some off a yarn you're not that fond of), you won't make a mistake counting your rows.
If you're working on a project that uses double crochet stitches, it'll be quite easy to count your rows because the stitches are relatively long and obvious.
But counting rows for single crochet stitches can be quite tricky, because the stitch is so short, it can be difficult to make out where each row starts.
Using this method of inserting snippets at the beginning of each row will make counting your rows a lot easier for you.
To know how many rows you've completed, simply count how many snippets of yarn you have on either side and add them up!
Now, you're absolutely certain you have the correct number of rows without actually counting the stitched rows and possibly being unsure about which row starts where!
Straight Edges For Crocheting in the Round
When it comes to crocheting in the round using the joined rounds method, you can follow the same tip of using yarn snippets.
Simply insert the snippet into the first stitch of each round.
Normally, the chain of the next round doesn't count as a stitch. So once you've chained to go up a round, work your first stitch, then insert your snippet into that stitch and continue with your round (either with increasing or without, depending on your pattern instructions).
This way, you'll be sure you are working your last slip stitch into the correct stitch from the previous row (the stitch that has the yarn snippet).
If you'd like more details about how to crochet a flat circle, check out this blog post here.
The Last Thing You Need To Know About Crocheting Straight Edges
You know, most times there are simple solutions to frustrating problems.
I can't tell you how many crocheters get demotivated and feel like this whole crocheting straight edges issue is a real challenge for them!
I hope you found this little tip of using leftover yarn snippets useful.
If you have any questions, please write me a comment below.