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How to Keep Straight Edges in Crochet

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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.

New to crochet? Keeping straight edges in crochet is easier than you think. It all depends on one little difference, let me show you my trick!

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.

How to Avoid Gaps when Crocheting Edges

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!

Crocheting Straight Edges without Gaps

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 to Eliminate Gaps in Crochet

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!

Tips for Keeping Straight Edges in Crochet

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)

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  1. I totally agree with you. I drew the sane conclusion after crocheting a while and trying both ways. And counting may not be a must EVERY stitch, but humans will be imperfect. Nana always told me, the less you skip counting is the less you may have to undo. I'm like you in that I only go 2... maybe 3 rows without counting. I learned this lesson doing amigurimi!! Lol. Thank you for sharing!
  2. I also hate counting the turning chain as a stitch. In the beginning, I couldn’t figure out how to modify a pattern that used turning change as a stitch but as I have progressed, I now just do it my way. Thanks for sharing a valuable tip.
  3. This is my problem - if it says chain 31 ok -then why does my first row count to 28 or 29 instead of 30. I check my chains, check my crocheting - but I never seem to have the correct chains once I start crocheting. I check and recheck and don't see what I did wrong. It is infuriating! Makes me what to quit crocheting.
  4. I got rid of my holes by doing a stacked SC at the end of my rows. I turn my work after last my stitch then do SC in first stitch, if doing DC I do 2 SC stacked and so on. I don’t lose count, no big hole after every turn and crazy side.
  5. Thank you for your simple straightforward instruction. I’ve been working in the round for years just to avoid turning rows. I can’t thank you enough for the world of new projects you’ve opened up for me!
  6. Thank you so much for all of this helpful information. I didn't know what I was doing wrong and ou definitely shed light on my uneven sides! Hope to get many more tips that will improve my crochet skills as I just signed up for your newsletter!
    1. Great! I am glad you found this post helpful and I hope you enjoy all of my tips and patterns =)
  7. How do I keep track of 152 stitches? I made a throw with all my leftover yarn and it is totally wonky. Probably from watching TV.
    1. Hi Virginia! When I have a lot of sts to count, I like to place a stitch marker every 25 stitches or so...makes it easier to make sure you are on track.
  8. I am very new to the HHH community and I must say I am very impressed with Ashlea. ( Not an easy feat) I've been crocheting for years but never had a place to share my thoughts with others, not to mention learn new stuff after 55 years or so. I'm in love!!!!Thanks so much for donating your time to this. You're the best
  9. Great tip!! Thank you , my lapghans now have a nice clean edge. I'll see how doing the border is when I get this one done. Hopefully it will be so much easier and be straight.
  10. This way of starting a new row makes so much sense. I've been doing the "traditional" way of starting a new row for 40+ years, yes I am that old, and never heard of any other way to start a new row. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
  11. Thank u so much for the a better way and easier way counting not my thing my toes always off. Thank u again
  12. I found your site. nice work that you are doing. I like it very much. I hope everyone will love it. I want to say thanks for the helpful work. keep it up.
  13. When I see This I Feel Happy Because It's so creative and useful. It's so amazing and beautiful. It's So attractive And Useful. These ideas Are Very Impressive thanks for helpful ideas I am very very happy to see this because you give me creative ideas.
  14. Any tips on keeping even edges when changing from one stitch to another. i like to make up my own patterns (mixed stitches) but I REALLY struggle with wavy edges.
  15. This was very helpful cuz my edges get wiggly and I have those holes when I chain 3. Now I know how to eliminate that! I have a little tip to others that you may add to your site, I find that when you are doing ribbing on a sweater or beany when you come to the last stich in the row, instead of going into the back loop do a regular SC by going thru both loops and it makes a nicer edge without the hole. It looks very professional.
  16. I'm making a scoodie as a Christmas gift for the niece of a neighbor. The pattern I'm following uses an esc (extended single crochet) and the turning chain is one chain. My problem is that I've crocheted about 50 or so rows, and although I am crocheting loosely, my rows seem to be sideways and curving, like I'm making a curvy road!! Any thoughts on how to correct this?
  17. Have been crocheting for almost 50 years and have never been happy with my edging. Too many dropped or gained stitches. Your way is perfect! My baby blanket is turning out beautifully. So nice to keep stitching without having to rip out numerous stitches. Thank you!!
  18. For larger projects it also helps to use stitch markers in the first stitch of each row so you know where to place the last stitch in the next row. This prevents accidental increasing
    2. thank you so much for the tips. Now I know why my edges were longer on one side and shorter on the other. like you said some say ch 2 or 3 when you do it isn't right. I'm going to print to refer to it every time.
  19. You must have had a lot of frustrated hookers having edges difficulties. I only started to crochet (self taught) 2 years ago, and I was going potty already. I tried different advice but was not succesful, they are so difficult. thank you so much ! Ria Plate
    1. I am 90 years old and thus started to crochet at 88. And what a joy it brings me. I hope every one who learns edging your way, will find increased happiness with their work. They simply cannot miss. Enjoy yourselves. ria
      1. Wow, I am very impressed that you started a new hobby at 88. Good for you. Crocheting is very relaxing and no doubt you will enjoy it even more having discovered how to keep your edges straight. Just wish I had discovered how to do this 40 years ago. Thank you Ashlea for your tutorial and putting me out of my misery.
  20. Thanks, this makes perfect sense! The only exception is in the final recap. I read it over three times. I believe you reversed the numbers. “Recognizing the chain-2 as a chain-3” as opposed to recognizing the chain-3 as a chain-2? Thanks again.
  21. I did find a link to washcloths in your search, but the link to washcloth patter on this page doesn't work. Just thought I'd let you know! Thanks for the tips! I am re-learning crochet as I did one blanket some 15 years ago, but would like to take it up again. Not having nice edges will drive me up a wall!
  22. Pingback: How to Keep Straight Edges in Crochet - New Craft Works
  23. Thank you..This is so helpful. I am in in process of making a baby blanket for a friend and my ends were looking a bit uneven so I did not count the first stitch.It made a huge difference.
  24. Could you post either a video or step by step pictures, I couldn't follow this. I kept re reading and just could not understand your explanation.
    1. This is where I also go wrong quite often. I've just finished the body of the painted canyon jacket and I can see my edges are not even. I'm hoping the edging will hide it but I am so cross with myself. It should be easy to do this starting and ending stitch but I'm still not getting it. A really close up video showing exactly where stitch should go would be much appreciated. Thank you.
  25. So excited to try this! Awesome article. You have a real gift! Thank you so much—I’m sure you’ve transformed my crochet.
  26. Thank you so much for sharing your tricks! i am teaching myself to crochet - mostly on YouTube - and i could never figure out why my pieces came out funky edged since most people count the chain one (turn chain?) as a stitch. Thanks to you i am making a shawl that looks good.
  27. THIS is the one thing everyone will say, "I wish I had known that when I first started doing crochet!" I've been crocheting for around 25 years, mostly self-taught, and this one thing always bothered me, which caused me to be an obsessive stitch counter! Ugh! Not anymore!! Thank you, Ashlea, from the bottom of my heart!
  28. I find that if I turn my work counter-clock wise at the end of a row it is much easier to see where to crochet the last stitch of the next row. I also try to do multiples of 5 across so all I have to do when I am counting a row is count up to 5 each time. This is makes it much easier to keep track of the count. If you come to the end and you only have 3 or 4 stitches in the last group you know you have made a mistake in that row so there is only one row to frog.
  29. Thank you for these tips. I have been crocheting for over 65 years and consider myself experienced but there is always something new to learn. I have finished many blankets with a reverse sc but have never seen the reverse shell. I shall be using this to complete my latest blanket. There are many video patterns on YouTube and I have made many items following them. I have found that if the video is in a foreign language they are easier to follow without the sound on. I follow Spanish videos with sound as I can count in Spanish. The English translations are just fun to read lol. Thank you again.
  30. Pingback: Как получить ровный край при вязании крючком | ПолитВести
  31. I understand the beginning of the rows but how about their ends?? Do I make the last DC. in the 1st dc or in the ch2. It is easy to get distracted and make a dc. in each of them and by doing so, the work will grow by 1dc each row. (I am crocheting while watching tv. so its easy to get distracted) Any advice????
      1. Yes, and if you're counting and at the end of the row and you think you are one stitch short, use your left thumbnail to move the turning thread from the previous row aside, and voila, you will see your last v stitch hiding.
  32. Hi. I made a baby blanket using double crochet which I taught myself to do. My edges are uneven I guess from the work. I don't know how to make an edging for it. Could you explain this to me. Thank you.
  33. Thank you for sharing this info. I did a lot of research on this and you are the first to clearly explain the correct way to turn a row without leaving a hole on the edge. That hole has always made me crazy, especially when I would join two pieces together there were those holes always staring at me :-) Thank you again for your help. Yeah no more holes!!!!
    1. My name is Debbie Carney. I doubt we are related, but nice to know someone else with the same last day. I crochet daily and love any new pointers I can get. I make lap afghans for the Nursing Home my Mom is in and the residents there just love them. Old people get cold really easily (as I have found out because they have their HEATERS on when it is 78 degrees outside). But it's my way of giving back to my community here in Crestview Florida. Take care and enjoy your day
  34. I have been crocheting for years self taught , and have learnt so many new ways to correct my crocheting problems lol thank you will try your way yes counting your stitches every now and then does make it a lot easier like you said rip out two rows compared to the whole darn thing or giving up your project
  35. Thank you so much for this tip. Ime a beginner and only worked grannies but so wanted to do a DC blanket. After umpteen rows I gave up very despondent. So glad I googled for help. Will try this tip. It makes sense. Lovely clear instructions and funny too.