Crocheting Blog

Why Are My Crochet Rows Uneven?

My first crochet project was a scarf for my local 4-H fair. When I finished, I felt pretty proud until I noticed that its edges were crooked and uneven, creating an accidental wavy effect. (I didn’t enter it in the fair after all. Sigh.)

Single crochet with uneven rows

Find out why your crochet rows are uneven and how to fix them.

Now that I’m a more experienced crocheter, I know that I was adding and subtracting stitches without realizing. It takes practice to achieve even rows. Here, we’ll take a close look at the anatomy of a crochet row and round to see how it works — and what might be going wrong with your stitch count.

Crocheting flat

My poor 4-H scarf was a victim of adding and subtracting stitches when stitching flat. For this demo, I used a single crochet stitch, but the same problems can arise with other stitches, too.

Your flat crochet is getting bigger or smaller because:

  1. You’re not starting the row in the right place.
  2. You’re not ending the row in the right place.
  3. You’re skipping stitches along the row somewhere.
  4. You’re crocheting two stitches into one space, therefore adding stitches along the row somewhere.

The easiest method for even rows is a tedious one: count your stitches. If you started out with 20 stitches on Row 1, but now you have 22 stitches, you’ve added two stitches somewhere. Counting the stitches as you work each row prevents growth or shrinkage. But sometimes there’s more to it than simply counting.

The top of a crochet row

Look at the top of the crochet row in the image above. Each little V is a stitch. So when we’re working flat and not shaping the project, each of these Vs must have a stitch.

The turning chain

The turning chain helps us get from one row to the next, and can be problematic when adding and subtracting stitches. When we chain before turning, we’re creating a stitch that’s the same height as our stitches. That way we won’t have a weird pull on the end when we start the next row.

Sometimes new crocheters might be unsure about whether they need to stitch into the turning chain. The rules are different depending on the stitch — one of the reasons why it’s confusing!

Top of a crochet row with turning chain

Take a look at the top of the single crochet row again (above). The first V on the row is actually the top of the turning chain. The second V is the very first stitch of the row, and where we want to start. The turning chain sits alongside the row to give it some height. 

Let’s view it from another angle:

Turning chain in a single crochet row

The rules for the turning chain are different depending on the stitch. I’ve compared single crochet vs. double crochet below:

Single crochet

Do not stitch into the turning chain, or into the space between the turning chain and the first stitch. The first stitch of the row is worked into the last stitch of the previous row. The last stitch of the row is worked into the first stitch of the previous row.

Double crochet

The turning chain often counts as one double crochet stitch. The first stitch of the row is worked in the second stitch of the previous row (Remember: the turning chain counts as the first stitch). The last stitch of the row is worked in the turning chain. 

Sometimes your pattern will tell you when the turning chain counts as a stitch, which is helpful for knowing where to begin and end your stitching.

Crocheting in the round

There are several different ways to crochet in the round, and achieving even rounds depends on which method you’re using.

Spiral rounds

Working in spiral rounds is actually easier than working flat or in rounds that join, since there are no turning chains to worry about. Similar to crocheting flat, each V gets one stitch. You’ll work in a continuous spiral, and as long as each V gets one stitch, your project will never grow or shrink.

Joining with a slip stitch

Some crochet rounds require you to join the end of the round to the beginning of the round with a slip stitch. Remember the same principle we covered with crocheting flat. The slip stitch does not count as a stitch in the row, so when you come back to the slip stitch again on the following row, do not add a stitch there. If you do, your crochet round will increase by one stitch per round and slowly grow.

Trust your pattern

When all else fails, trust your pattern. Your pattern will tell you when a turning chain counts as a double crochet stitch, and sometimes even how many chains from the hook to start your row.

And hey, if your rows start looking wonky, just rip back and check your work for the four possible mistakes listed above. They’ll help you figure out the problem without pulling out too many stitches — or your hair!

Do you have trouble with uneven crochet rows? If so, what do you think the problem is?

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9 Comments

Rita

Great tips. I wish I knew this years ago. Excelllent pictures for showing examples. I learned the hard way by many, many times crochet-rip out, crochet-rip out. Then I became a fan of stich markers. I have bought markers (these can be bothersome) but I prefer to use a piece of yarn instead. Even with the stitch marker I still count my stitches every so often because of the problem missing a stitch or two stitches in one. Thank you for sharing these tips.

Reply
Dorlis Grote

I use bobby pins for markers, they are easy to put in and take out.

Reply
Sherry Park

You didn’t really say how to “correct” uneven rows that have already been made. Is it Just Froggit??? Misleading intro.

Reply
liza

Agree, I read the header and got sucked in….

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Marianne Snygg

I think my problem is the last stitch in the row. Can you go over that with some photos?

Reply
gmex

When I was a newbie, and still with complex projects, stitch markers and counting every other row have helped me avoid unevenness. Can’t have enough stitch markers!

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Keisha Henry

Great information!

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Bethany Williams

This helps me so much! Thank y’all for publishing! 🙂

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CLARA BLACK

HELLO. You sure do some beautiful work!! I love your tops, but I sure wish the ones I love had long sleeves, or at least 3/4 sleeves. I am 72, and my arms are knotty and flabby, and I like clothes that cover them. I do hope you will consider designing more beautiful garments with sleeves. I favor the 3/4 sleeve the most. Again, I say to you, that you have some beautiful, beautiful work. You are a very talented lady for sure.

Thank you for your consideration on my suggestion above.

Clara

Reply

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