There are many ways to crochet circles–flat circles, solid color circles, multicolor circles, circles with continuous rounds and more. I want to address this, because I get asked about this all the time. I’m splitting the subject up into several blog posts, and will post later on how to make continuous rounds, and how to make invisible beginnings and ends to multicolor rounds. For this post, I’ll be talking about how to crochet flat circles with joined rounds in single crochet, half double crochet, and double crochet.
These flat circles can be the basis of many crochet projects such as hats, bags, potholders, pillows, afghan squares and more.
The first step to crocheting a flat circle is to get the right number of stitches in your first round. What is the deciding factor if you have the right number of stitches? The height of your stitches, which governs how fast your circle will grow in diameter. To make it easy for you, I’ll tell you what I use. Start off with either a magic circle or ch 5, join with slip stitch in first chain to form ring. Ch 1 for a sc circle (doesn’t count as a stitch), ch 2 for a hdc circle (doesn’t count as a stitch), or ch 3 for a dc circle (counts as dc). Then work:
7 sc for sc circles
11 sc for hdc circles
13 dc for dc circles for a total of 14 sts counting the ch 3
A side note: the reason the ch 1 for sc and hdc do not count as stitches, and ch 3 for dc DOES count as a stitch is because when beginning rounds or rows of sc, you ch 1, then crochet in same stitch so the ch 1 does not ever count as a stitch. For hdc, it’s a matter of personal preference whether you count the ch 2 as a hdc or not. If not, you just hdc in the first st and act as though the ch 2 does not exist–when you come to the end of the round, you sl st in the top of the hdc. If you DO count the ch 2 as a stitch, you hdc in the next st (or in the same stitch to increase) and when you end the round, you sl st in top of the ch 2. For dc, you always count the ch 3 as a stitch, so ch 3, dc in same st counts as 2 sts (increase).
You can add a stitch or two to the first round to make your pattern work out mathematically if needed, but these numbers are what works for my gauge. It’s a good starting point for you if you’re trying to, once and for all, figure out the perfect flat circle for your gauge. A circle started in this manner will remain flat for many rounds, whereas if you add stitches, you’ll find that after a few rounds the piece starts to have extra fabric and starts to ruffle. If you subtract stitches, the piece will start to cup, which may be what you’re looking for if you’re making the bottom of a rounded bag or crown of a hat. Flat circles work fine for both hats and bags, though, and are my personal preference.
So in other words, if your piece cups, add a stitch to round one. If it ruffles, subtract a stitch from round one.
The second step to crocheting a flat circle is to work the second, third, fourth rounds and beyond. Here I’ve got some interesting news for you. The round instructions are the same, no matter what stitch you’re using and no matter how many stitches you put in round one. So once you get this down, you can use it for any type of flat circle.
For round two, you will always put two stitches in each stitch around. This doubles the number of stitches you have. Another way to look at it is that it adds the same number of stitches you started with. That is what you will be doing each round, adding the same number of stitches you started with, evenly spaced around.
For round three, you’ll work two stitches in the first stitch, then one stitch in the next stitch, then repeat this sequence around. Again you’ve increased by the number of stitches in your first round. You are working 3 x the number of stitches you started with for the third round.
For round four, you’ll work one stitch in each of the first two stitches, then work two stitches in the next stitch, then repeat this sequence around. Why not just start with two stitches in the first stitch? The answer is the secret to perfectly round circles rather than circles that are somewhat octagon-y. You don’t want to stack your increases on top of each other. The good news is you can start with two stitches in the first stitch on every odd numbered round—that way you only have to figure out where to put the increases every other round. So for the fourth round, you are working 4x the number of stitches you started with.
For round five, as we’ve established, you’ll work two stitches in the first stitch, then one stitch in each of the next three stitches, then repeat this sequence around. Fifth round, each repeat is 5 stitches, and you’re working 5x the number of stitches you started with.
For round six, you’ll work one stitch in each of the first three stitches, then work two stitches in the next stitch, then work one stitch in the next stitch, then repeat this sequence around. This places the increases roughly in the center between increases on the previous round. Sixth round, each repeat is 6 stitches, and you’re working 6x the number of stitches in round one.
For subsequent rounds, you just continue in the same manner. Start with two stitches in the first stitch for odd numbered rounds, and place the increases between increases for even numbered rounds.
I’ve made a little chart to help.
Remember you can add a stitch or two to the first round and your circle will still remain flat for several rounds and only ruffle as the circle gets bigger. So for afghan blocks or smaller circle items, starting with a stitch or two more is OK. The instruction rounds are the same either way.
Next in this series: How to Crochet Circles – Part 2 – How to single crochet flat circles in continuous rounds.