A crochet crafter knows that uneven crochet is one of the most typical problems in crocheting. It can cause your crochet project to get smaller or larger. It is frustrating thinking that you have spent hours working on your project only to find out that it’s uneven.
What causes a crochet project to be uneven, and how do we prevent it? Read on to know the answer.
Why Your Crochet is Uneven
1. Each row has a different number of stitches
It is probably the most common cause of a crochet project that is uneven. It seems like your project has a life of its own – it tends to grow larger or smaller. Whenever you miss a stitch, your project will eventually get smaller. On the other hand, whenever you add a stitch, your project will grow larger.
2. Your tension is off
When your tension is off, you will have a project that has bigger stitches in some parts and tighter stitches in some parts, as well – making your crochet project look uneven. If this is the case, your tension needs work.
Getting the right tension when crocheting will take some practice. When you want to get the correct tension, remember that it shouldn’t be too tight and too loose. You have to make sure that your yarn is gliding through your fingers at a steady rate. Don’t let your yarn hang loose or strain.
Every one of us crochets differently, so there is no exact way to achieve the right tension. You will feel if the tension is finally right. When the way you hold your hook and your yarn is comfortable for you, and it feels right, it probably is the correct tension for you.
3. You are not ending or starting the row in the correct spot
This is the “annex” of problem number one. You think that your numbers are correct; however, you are getting confused about the turning chain.
The turning chain will help you getting from one row to the next, which can be tricky when subtracting and adding stitches. When you chain before turning, you are making a stitch that has the same height as your stitches. This way, you will not have a weird pull on the end when starting the next row.
Beginners in crochet are most likely hesitant about whether they have to stitch into the turning chain. However, the rules will vary depending on the stitch, that is why it’s quite confusing.
Ways to Prevent an Uneven Crochet Project
When you have identified the problem, you can now work to resolve the issue.
1. Count your stitches
Counting your stitches is the simplest way to prevent your crochet project to be uneven. Yes, it’s a tedious task, but you are assured of perfectly straight edges. Finding out that your crochet project is uneven can be a huge headache, and it will make you regret that you didn’t count your stitches. What would you rather do: count your stitches, or undo hours of work? I’d definitely choose to count the stitches!
2. Be consistent
You have to be consistent with your tension, stitch size, and everything. Find the right tension, the one that you are comfortable with, and your crochet project will come out amazing.
There are several things you can do to improve your tension. You can:
- Pull from the center of the skein
- Wind your skein into a cake
- Use a yarn ball
- Use a tension regulator
- Use a beginner-friendly yarn
- Go up or down a hook size
- Determine if you are a loose or tight crocheter
You can find a more detailed explanation about improving your tension here.
3. Know when you have to stitch toward the turning chain
This is where it can get puzzling. The rules may vary depending on the type of stitch you are working on. The basic rule is: you don’t do it with single crochet. You have to work the 1st stitch of a row through the last stitch of the preceding row. With double crochet, the turning chain will count as a stitch.
4. Use a stitch marker
If you are really not into counting stitches, you can still have a perfectly straight edge with the help of a stitch marker. You don’t have to buy one for you to have a stitch marker. You can use your good old safety pins, bobby pins, or small pieces of yarn with a different color.
So, this is how you use a stitch marker:
- Place the stitch marker in the 1st stitch in every row that you start.
- When you have your chain and the 1st stitch of the row, you can place the marker in the 1st stitch. You can place your marker right away with the hook in place. However, if you’re using a piece of yarn, you have to do another stitch and then use the hook to put the piece of yarn in the 1st stitch.
- Continue making your stitches down the chain.
- Turn your work, and chain up, then make your 1st stitch.
- Set your marker in the 1st stitch and continue making your stitches along the row.
- When you are at the end of the row, your 1st stitch marker tells you where the last stitch goes.
- Keep moving the marker up after every row.
5. Trust your pattern
Pay attention to your pattern. Your pattern will tell you when your turning chain is considered as a double crochet stitch. It is also able to tell you how many chains from your hook to begin your row.
A Less Invasive Method of Fixing Uneven Edges
It is frustrating to go back and redo a specific section of your crochet project, which will require hours to unravel. However, there is a less invasive technique to correct it. There is a way to fix the issue and keep your piece intact.
For this method, you will need a crochet needle, a tapestry needle, and a matching yarn.
- Carefully examine the edges and find out what went wrong.
- Read the last step of your pattern. Several patterns will ask that your single crochet around the whole piece to provide uniformity to the edges. If this is the case for your pattern, you may want to continue finishing the piece and then add a single crochet border when you are finished.
If you can’t find out what you have done wrong, adding a single crochet border would be the best option.
- Attach your yarn at the 1st row of the pattern. If the row is a little shorter than the lengthiest row, you can do a single crochet. On the other hand, if it’s a bit shorter, do a double crochet. If it’s the same length, do a slip stitch. When you’re unsure about the difference, you can stick with the smallest stitch possible, and you can always return.
Also, if your crochet piece includes single crochets only, doing double crochet may be a little too obvious.
You should continue to the last row, and return if needed.
Crocheting Perfectly Straight Edges
Here are helpful tips to keep the edges of your crochet straight.
Stitch Count Really Counts
This is something that needs to be reiterated to every crocheter. Counting your stitches is very important to keep the edges of your crochet perfectly straight. A cumbersome task, but it will be worth it when you see your project with perfectly straight edges.
When you have more stitches than you should in a row, the likely culprits are:
- You placed the 1st stitch in the wrong spot
- You placed 2 stitches in the same spot
- You stitched into a space
- You skipped the last stitch
When you have fewer stitches, you have probably skipped a stitch someplace. This usually happens accidentally either at the beginning or the end of each row, so it’s better if you check those spots first. If the spots are correct, you can then check each stitch across the preceding row just to make sure that they have a corresponding stitch.
If you are still having trouble, you can try these:
- Use taller crochet stitches, because it is much easier to check treble or double crochet than single crochet.
- Do projects with short starting chains.
- Use a larger crochet hook, because it’s easier to check bigger stitches.
- Use a stitch marker or counter.
- Use yarn that is light-colored with good stitch definition
Familiarize Yourself with Turning Chains
If your stitch count is right, but you still have shaky edges, your turning chain might be off.
- You might be turning your work in the wrong direction – What you can do is turn your crochet piece from right to left and in a clockwise position. You can also do the opposite (counter-clockwise), however, make sure that you always use the same motion and stick to it.
- The chain is probably at the wrong length – For single crochet, you want one turning chain. For half double crochet, you want two turning chains. While for the double crochet, you want three turning chains.
- You are probably alternating turning at the start of one row and at the end of another row – You have to keep it consistent. Your best option is chaining your turning chain before turning your work.
- You’re probably not sure if the turning chains are counted as the first stitch – One of the general rules of crocheting is: your turning chain is considered as the first stitch. You should skip the 1st stitch after your turning chain and then work into every succeeding chain, and that includes the turning chain of the preceding row. You still have to check your pattern to see what is indicated, just to be sure.
Mind the Gap
When the problem is the turning chain, you will notice that the edges are fairly even, but then there is a gap on one or both sides amid the edge stitch and the stitch next to it. This will happen if you skip the first stitch because you count the turning chain as that stitch.
You can avoid it by following these tips:
- Crochet a protracted version of the stitch (it can be extended double crochet or extended single crochet) into the 1st stitch.
- Then crochet regular stitches into their respective stitches across.
- Work the last stitch for the row through the top of the protracted stitch that started the previous row.
The extended stitch is slightly taller and thicker, which will eliminate the gap.
Keep the Colors on Track
If you’re using different yarn colors, you are likely to have uneven rows, especially if you unintentionally substituted to yarn with a different weight. A bulkier or thinner yarn will behave otherwise, even if you use the same hook size. If you keep the same yarn brand but changed color, subtle differences can still happen.
What you can do is twist your yarn when you change the color and have a consistent tension when making the twist.
Even and Consistent Tension
Your stitch count is right, and all your stitches are in the right places, but you still have uneven edges. There could be a problem with your tension. When your tension is consistent from start to the end of the project, your stitches will be even and nice. However, most of us change our tension naturally through a crochet project, which can lead to some stitches being much looser than the others.
Inconsistent tension can change the shape of your project. However, it is typically subtle. It can help if you practice it. Observe when the changes in your tension occur and try to adjust accordingly.
Here are the reasons why your tension changes:
- You are getting tired – When you’ve been crocheting for too long, or you’re sleepy, your grip changes. You have to take regular breaks. Don’t wait until your hands are in pain to stop.
- Your emotions tend to get the best of you – For instance, when you’re stressed, you might have a tighter tension than the usual.
- You changed the way you hold your hook – Holding your hook differently can change your tension. Hold your crochet hook the same way throughout the project to have consistent tension.
- You are practicing a new technique – When you are trying to learn something new, your intense concentration may tighten your tension.
- Your stitches are too tall – Taller stitches are easier to count. However, don’t make your stitches too tall. This will make your tension change with every stitch.
Blocking is Key
When you are 100% sure that you are doing everything right, but your project still comes out wonky, it might require blocking for a smooth finish. Blocking will help set the stitches of your crochet project in the right place.
There are three methods of blocking:
- Wet blocking – This is recommended for natural fibers. It ensures that your project will stay in its form even after use. If your project needs stretching and shaping, use this method. If you used acrylic yarn, don’t do this method. You will be needing a blocking board, pins, a towel, and a sink to do this method.
With wet blocking, you will completely immerse your crochet project in water and soak it for around 15 to 20 minutes. After soaking, you will gently squeeze the water out. You can use a towel and roll your crochet project in it. Then you will pin your project on a blocking board, spreading it to your desired shape, and then let it dry completely.
- Spray blocking – This is also great for natural fibers, and if you don’t want your crochet project stretched too much. This takes less time than wet blocking. You will be needing a blocking board, pins, and a spray bottle to do this method.
With spray blocking, you will pin your project on a blocking board to your desired shape, then spray it with water using a spray bottle until it’s damp. Allow your project to dry. Remove the pins when it’s completely dry.
- Steam blocking – This is excellent for crochet projects made from acrylic yarn. Use this method if you need your project to be stretched a lot. You will be needing a blocking board, pins, and an iron with steam setting.
With steam blocking, you will pin your project on a blocking board to your desired shape. Then you will fil your iron with water and set it to steam setting. When it’s already heated up, you will hover your iron over the project. Be careful not to touch the iron on your item. Steam your project until it’s completely damp. Remove the pins when it is completely dry.
Having uneven edges on your crochet project is probably one of the more frustrating issues with crocheting. However, there are solutions that will fix the problem and methods that will help prevent it. Crocheting is a little bit more complicated than making stitches. You have to have strategies to make your work look polished and professional. It will take lots of patience and consistency, but seeing your flawless finished product will be worth it.