7 Tips to Establish Consistency in Crochet

By Rachel Choi – 25 Comments

If you are new to crocheting, one of the toughest things to master is making consistent stitches in your work. If you’ve ever tried making a square and it ended up not so square, then you know what I’m talking about!

Here are some crocheting tips to establish consistent crochet work:

1. Count, count, count! It is really important to count the stitches in a row or round so that you know you aren’t adding or missing stitches by accident. You can also use stitch markers to help you count.

2. Slide loops back. When you put “loops” on your hook, be sure to slide them back to the part of the hook that is leveled. The edge where the hook is, is normally skinnier than the rest of the hook. Pushing the loops back to the leveled part of the hook will ensure that all the stitches you make will consistently be the same size and have the same tension.

3. Not too tight or loose. Make sure that the loops on you hook aren’t too tight or too loose. It should be loose enough so that it is easy for you to slip your hook in and out of loops. It should be tight enough such that the loops are securely wrapped around the leveled surface of the hook.

4. Know how long to make your turning chain. As a rule of thumb you make 1 chain for single crochets, 2 for half double crochet, 3 for double crochet, and so on. This will ensure that the beginning of your new row/round will be the same height as the rest of the row/round.

5. Use different hook sizes. Sometimes you may find that your foundation chain is much tighter than the rest of your work. Try using a larger sized hook for the foundation chain or for the adventurous try the foundation single crochet (can be altered for other crochet stitches too).

6. Practice. Practice makes perfect, as the old saying goes. Sometimes the best way to learn is from doing, no matter how long you end up doing it for.

7. Crocheting should be relaxing and fun. No brute force needed. If you notice you’re pushing and pulling your hook with a lot of strength, then there’s probably something wrong.

Do you have a crochet tip to add?

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25 Comments

  1. Rebecca Thompson says:

    1. For your first project(s), I strongly recommend that you start small. Make a dishcloth or a (preemie) baby blanket; and nothing that requires increasing and/or decreasing, just yet anyway.

    2. Always change to a new ball of yarn at the end of a row, not in the middle of the row, which can be obvious and it can be harder to weave in the ends.

    3. Learn which stitch is the LAST stitch in the row below (that you need to insert your hook into) to make the last stitch in your current row. Once I learned this – part of identifying stitches – I had no problem following patterns.

    4. Make sure you are sitting comfortably and also that you take a quick break every 15-20 minutes to, at a minimum, shrug your shoulders and wiggle your fingers. If not, you may be surprised at how stiff and sore you can get after crocheting for an hour or more without a break. (I get sore shoulders/neck if I don’t do this). The best exercise I have found for my shoulders is to lift both shoulders up to my ears, hold it for a few seconds, and then lower my shoulders SLOWLY.

    5. Don’t give up! Besides Rachel, there are a lot of books, and people on the web that are waiting to help out.

    That was more than I thought I’d come up with!

    Rebecca in Toronto, crocheting for 20+ years now!

  2. Charlotte says:

    Thanks for all the tips very helpful now I have another
    question when a pattern ask for a size of hook and
    I want to make it smaller I should use a small

  3. Maggi says:

    I crochet in a quite unorthodox way. I am really left-handed and was forced to change, so I find doing some things the “proper” way confusing.
    My way is to hold both hook and yarn in the right hand, and flip over the yarn as in British style knitting. I bring the work to the hook with my left hand. I find I can control the tension much better this way. I CAN crochet the orthodox way, but find it hard to control. I am now 62 and have been crocheting since age 19. I used to get really angry with people telling me “You’re not doing it the proper way” and ask them if what I had produced had anything wrong with it!
    I have also taught this method to people who had a co-ordination problem crocheting the traditional way and thought that they “could’nt” crochet. Now they can and do!

    • Suzie says:

      Maggi,
      I just taught myself crochet after almost 10 years of knitting. This is the way I naturally picked up the hook and yarn too! It just makes so much more sense to me to do it this way. You’re not alone in your unorthodox methods. Just thought I’d let you know.

  4. Bookworm says:

    I have to work on this. I made a pair of fingerless mittens and the second one for some reason turned out a lot smaller than the first. I’m not sure what exactly I did, I didn’t feel like I was crocheting it any differently. I was thinking it might have been a problem of me joining the fsc wrong at the bottom, but I redid it and it still turned out smaller. I’ve just kind of given up but it looks a bit odd :-D

  5. Christina says:

    thanks rachel =] I never thought of #5, thats a great idea!

  6. Debbie says:

    I just love your newsletter. I love the internet so I have seen alot of newsletters and yours is by far the best. You always make things so easy to understand. Thank you

  7. Rebecca Thompson says:

    Charlotte,
    I’ll take a crack at your question, which got cut off by the looks of it. Perhaps Rachel didn’t notice you had a question…

    Your best bet is to do the gauge (test swatch) if the pattern provides one, especially if you are trying to make clothing smaller. If you follow the gauge pattern using the hook mentioned and your swatch is smaller, than you have a tighter tension and your item WILL come out smaller anyway!

    If you want to make an item smaller than a pattern’s finished size, you may be able to use a smaller hook depending on the yarn (if you’ve already bought it), but look at the yarn label first. It should show you what size of hook is typically used with that yarn. While you can use larger hooks, the yarn is likely to be difficult to work with if you use a smaller hook.
    So, for example, a worsted weight yarn (#4) shows a 8-H (5mm) hook on the label. If a 8-H hook is what the pattern calls for and you want to use a G-6 (4mm) hook, then you should go down a size/type of yarn to #3 DK, Light Worsted.

    Working a gauge can be tedious but necessary if you want to achieve a particular size. It’s worth the time and effort because you know your project will be the right size. Even ½ inch can make a big difference. I hope that was of some help.

    Rebecca in Toronto

  8. Rachel says:

    Thanks for answering Charlotte’s question Rebecca!!! I missed it. You gave a great answer :)

  9. Maggi says:

    Yes it is difficult to match up 2 crocheted items. If I am knitting 2 small things as in fingerless mitts or socks I would knit the 2 together on the same needle.
    What I found good with fingerless mitts was not to do them in the round. Making them flat was easy to compare the second one. I then single (double in Britain) crocheted them together on the outer edge. It looks quite good and if you do it in another colour, especially for kids, it diferentiates right and left. Just a thought!
    Maggi in Edinburgh

  10. Charlotte says:

    Rebecca; Thanks for helping out It was what I need ,
    to know I will try that Thanks again
    and yes I wasn’t done yet my 2 year
    granddaughter submited it when I wasn’t watching.
    Rachel thanks for all your wonderful tips

  11. Bookworm51485 says:

    Maggi

    I was following a pattern I’d found online because I liked how hers looked better than some others I’d seen. I think I agree it makes it harder to do it in the round, when it comes to consistancy (I did try to compare, but couldn’t really figure anything to do to fix the problem other than starting over again) but I think I like the way it turns out better lookswise. I think it was the nicest of the fingerless mittens I’d seen, then again that might just be because the creator is very good :-D. Not quite sure what I’m going to do with the two I made, they’re noticeably different :-D Maybe I’ll try making it again, with one to match the larger and one to match the smaller.

  12. Sadie says:

    Hi Rachel, I have a question. When I am trying to crochet anything, (like a scarf or the red fingerless gloves you have put on this website) it always gets round! Not curled but it gets thinner in width and rounder. I am a beginner and trying to teach myself. My friend says that I am not completing the whole row but to me, it looks like I am.. I don’t know if you understand what I mean, but I would greatly appreciate it if you help me with my problem! I have been wanting to crochet the fingerless gloves but I am scared that it will get round and that I will have to stop and start over.
    Thanks,
    Sadie

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Sadie, it sounds like you are skipping stitches if your rows are getting shorter and shorter. Try counting the stitches as you make them to be sure there are the same amount on each row.

    • Jean says:

      I use safety pins as markers to mark my first stitch at the beginning of my row and my last stitch at the end of each row so I do not have to count so much…. this is really helpful if you are crocheting something with over 100 stitches in each row, which I am currently working on,
      ( a rather large afghan). So I know it also helps with smaller projects. I use the safety pins as a marker for crocheting in the round to keep track of my last row done. works for me anyways :-)

  13. Sadie says:

    Thanks so much for your help!

  14. Leandra says:

    This has been an interesting thread for me…no pun intended…because I just can’t imagine why the 2 fingerless mittens came out different sizes. If you use the same pattern for each one, it seems that they should automatically be the same unless your tension gets impossibly tight or you change yarn wts. I’d like to hear from others who’ve had this experience since I’ve not tried these mittens. One thing I do hate is when my yarn actually changes thickness in the skein. I’ll be moving along really well and then suddenly my loops look bigger and I notice that the yarn has thinned out. I hate to waste it so I keep going if it is a project for myself. And KNOTS…oh I’d like to choke the people that knot yarn together to continue filling up a skein. They always show up at the worst places in my projects. Shouldn’t there be a control standard for these kinds of things. I realize that companies don’t like to waste yarn either but keeping stringy yarn or knotting lengths together to get an full skein is just not right!

  15. Leandra says:

    I’d also like to say that absolutely counting stitches is a must. Most of my problems have come from not recognizing the “first” stitch in a row AND the “last” which then causes me to mistakenly decrease my stitches. Had to learn this the hard way since 40 yrs. ago there were no online helpers. I love your site Rachel! There are so many helpful hints that come out of the questions posted. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  16. kim says:

    i love to crochet and have only made afghans at this point will be trying some bags and purses soon. What i would really like is to cross stitch on my afghans but am not sure how to measure and convert a cross stitch to afghan size any suggestions??

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Kim, I don’t have much experience with cross stitches so I probably won’t be too helpful in this area, sorry. I have seen some cross stitch patterns for afghans, maybe you can do a search online for some so you don’t have to worry about converting?

  17. Jodi says:

    I’m with you on your reply Leandra, I’m a beginner even tho I’ve been crocheting since my Aunt taught me when I was around 12. I would never stick to a project because of that problem and just recently realized that was what I was doing (not picking up that last stitch in the previous row). So I now really count and use markers to help me with end of row. I just recently found this site and thank you Rachel for such easy to follow directions!

  18. Victoria says:

    These are great tips! Consistency in row length is one of my challenges and I find that my problem is at the ends of the rows. Sometimes I find it difficult to know where my last stitch is (without counting). One thing that has been helping me is to (a) always chain before turning and (b) always turn the same direction (e.g., clockwise).

  19. briony says:

    Thx soo much for helping me out x

  20. Julie says:

    thanks for this. I always have problems with double crochet untill now… wow thanks a ton and whats your favorite color of yarn for begining crocheters?

    • Rachel Choi says:

      My favorite is bright green, probably because it’s one of my favorite colors too lol! You can really use any color that you like though, as long as it’s not too light or too dark.

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