Keeping straight edges in crochet is easier than you think. There are different methods to achieving nice and uniform edges, and it all depends on one little chain. Seriously.
How to Keep Straight Edges in Crochet
There are two generally followed methods of starting a new row in crochet, and which method you choose dictates how evenly (or unevenly) your edges will come out. Yes, it really is that simple and it’s all about the turning chain.
Depending on which pattern you’re following (and all crochet pattern designers are different) you will either count the turning chain as a stitch or you will not count the turning chain as a stitch. Which way is the correct way? Meh, it’s up to you . When I polled nearly 30,000 crocheters in my crochet group on Facebook, the results were quite interesting.
I personally do not ever count mine as a stitch, and none of my crochet patterns are written to count them. Even if I am crocheting a pattern from another designer and it calls for the turning chain to be counted, I typically make a slight alteration and crochet in the way that I feel it looks best.
I do what I want. 😉
Stitch count keeps sides straight in crochet
The most important thing for keeping straight edges in crochet is to count your stitches. I know what you’re thinking… “Ain’t nobody got time for counting!” and trust me – I AGREE! But even the most confident of crocheters can still miss a stitch.
An experienced crocheter can miss a stitch especially if the item is super wide/long, if they are watching (let’s be honest: listening to) TV, if their kids are in the same room, or if the dog wants to go outside… or come inside… if the wind is blowing from the east… anything really. So yes, counting those crochet stitches can make all the difference in the world.
I must also confess that I don’t count my stitches after every single row *gasp* but every so often I will stop and make sure that I am still on track. That way if I do have to frog (rip it, rip it out), it is only a few rows instead of the entire. stinkin. thing.
Do not count the turning chain
Counting (or not counting) the turning chain in crochet is all personal preference. I have found, however, that when I do not count the turning chain as a stitch, my edges are not as “holey” and my edge stitches stay much more uniform and orderly.
In short, my crocheted edges are straighter when I do not count the chain as a stitch. Instead, when you make your first stitch in each new row go into the very first stitch since the chain is not counted. When you get to the end, go into the last completely formed stitch. That’s it!
Instead of doing a chain-3 for this double crochet and counting it as a chain, chain two instead and start in that very first stitch.
How many chains to start a new row in crochet?
How many you chain to start a new row in crochet depends on the height of the stitch you’re using. If you are not counting the turning chain as a stitch, you will:
Chain 1 to start a single crochet row
Chain 1 to start a half double crochet row
Chain 2 to start a double crochet row
Chain 3 to start a treble crochet row
Chain 4 to start a quadruple crochet row
and so on…
Need a great pattern to fine-tune your straight edge crochet skills? I highly recommend making a set of 4 – 6 of this washcloth pattern. If the sides aren’t exactly straight it won’t matter, and in the end you’ll have new and awesome dishcloths to use! 😉
Keeping straight edges in crochet really is as simple as this one little trick. If a pattern is not written in this manner you do not have to change it. If you wish to, however, many times it is as simple as recognizing the chain-3 for a double crochet stitch as opposed to a chain-2. Not sure how to modify it? There are thousands of crocheters in the Heart Hook Home Crochet Community available to help!
More crochet tips and tutorials:
Understanding Crochet Gauge and How to Measure It
How to Add a Border in Crochet
How to Create Planned Yarn Color Transitions in Crochet
Crochet WIP Bag (Work In Progress) Using Corner to Corner
Different Methods of Making Pom Poms
How to Crochet the Moss Stitch (Written and Video Tutorial)