The Secret Crochet Circle Formula (and how to tweak it)

Hi folks 🙂

Do you love making circles like me?  It’s fun and easy once you know the secret formula.

rainbow circle by Shelley Husband


The Formula for a flat circle

So let’s look at a circle made with the standard formula with a starting round of 12 stitches :

Round 1     12 sts

Round 2     2 sts worked into each st of Round 1 {24 sts}

Round 3     2 sts worked into the first st, 1 st worked into the next st, repeated all the way around.  {36 sts}

Round 4     2 sts worked into the first st, 1 st worked into the next 2 sts, repeated all the way around.  {48 sts}

Round 5     2 sts worked into the first st, 1 st worked into the next 3 sts, repeated all the way around.  {60 sts}

Round 6     2 sts worked into the first st, 1 st worked into the next 4 sts, repeated all the way around.  {72 sts}

And so on, increasing the “into the next ‘X’ number of sts” by 1 each round. You can alter the number of stitches in the first round.  If you begin with 6, your stitch count will increase by 6 each round.  If you begin with 8 sts, then you’ll increase by 8 each round and so on.

rainbow circle by Shelley Husband

When hooking up a circle, this is how I do it mentally, from Round 3. I count the stitches of each round repeatedly, knowing that st numbers 1 & 2 are worked into the same stitch.  In my head, it kinda looks like this (the numbers in brackets are worked into the same st) :

Round 1 : 12 sts

Round 2 : (2 sts) in each st {24 sts}

Round 3 : (1, 2), 3, (1, 2), 3 etc

Round 4 : (1, 2), 3, 4, (1, 2), 3, 4,   etc

Round 5 : (1, 2), 3, 4, 5 (1, 2), 3, 4, 5   etc

That’s all fine if you’re using double crochet (US)/treble crochet (UK), as in the rainbow above, but if you’re using single crochet (US)/double crochet (UK),  once you get into it, you start to get points where you are working the 2 sts into the same stitch each time and a whorl pattern appears in the circle.

True circles by Shelley Husband

Not really a circle is it?

How to make a real circle

It is possible to make a true circle though.  All you need to do is change the spot the 2 sts are worked into the one stitch.  Using the same formula as above, here’s what I changed to avoid those pointy bits.  I’m going to go all the way up to Round 10 so you can see the changes I make each time.

The first 4 rounds are the same.

Round 5 : 1, 2, (3, 4), 5, 1, 2, (3, 4), 5, 1, 2, (3, 4), 5 etc

Round 6 : (1, 2), 3, 4, 5, 6, (1, 2), 3, 4, 5, 6, etc

Round 7 : 1, 2, (3, 4), 5, 6, 7, 1, 2, (3, 4), 5, 6, 7, etc

Round 8 : (1, 2), 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, (1, 2), 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, etc

Round 9 : 1, 2, 3, 4, (5, 6), 7, 8, 9, 1, 2, 3, 4, (5, 6), 7, 8, 9, etc

Round 10  : (1, 2), 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, (1, 2), 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, etc

Basically, each odd round, I changed where the 2 sts are worked into the one stitch to somewhere in the middle of the repeat and the even rounds are the same as before. It doesn’t have to be in the middle each time, just in a different spot to the even rounds.  Round 7 could just as easily have worked with (4, 5) or (5, 6).

True circles by Shelley Husband

It’s makes a big difference I’m sure you can see.

Other things to note

When working with sc/dc, I tend to work in a spiral, not joining each round with a ss.  I use a scrap of yarn as my stitch marker, but don’t move it each round. It’s enough for me to keep track of where I am up to.

yarn marker True circles by Shelley Husband

Depending on your desired end result, you can be a little flexible and work with how it feels rather than the strict formula.

To be honest, as you get bigger, it doesn’t matter much if you don’t stick to the formula exactly. I don’t stress about it too much. If you begin your next round a repeat too early or late, it’s only a 1 stitch difference in the round.  It’s no biggy, unless you need a certain number of sts for a specific pattern, such as a tapestry crochet bag base where you may need a specific number.

Also, depending on your crochet style and the yarn and hook combo you are using, you may find after a while you get ruffling or cupping.  I go with it by dealing with these problems as I notice them, rather than ripping out rows.

If you notice it ruffling, it means you have too many stitches.warping true circle by Shelley Husband

It’s easily fixed if you modify your pattern as soon as you notice. Just do a round or 2 without increases until it is flat again, then continue your increases from where you were up to.

warping fixed true circle by Shelley Husband

Ruffling fixed 🙂

On the other hand, if it is cupping, you don’t have enough stitches and need to increase more.

cupping true circle by Shelley Husband

Repeat the last few rounds of increases – eg if you were up to Round 6, do (1, 2), 3, 4, 5, 6, (1,2), 3, 4, 5, 6 a couple of times and see if it flattens out, then continue with your increases.

cupping fixed true cirlce by Shelley Husband

Cupping fixed

I’ll be using this post as the basis for my upcoming tutorial showing you how I make bags like this    Crochet Bags tutorial – now live 😉

Crochet bags – tutorial live – click on pic to go there 🙂

So there you go.  I hope that was helpful. See you soon with the bags post.

Did I help you?  Perhaps you’d like to shout me a coffee to say thank you?

61 thoughts on “The Secret Crochet Circle Formula (and how to tweak it)

  1. Darlene P.

    Thank you for this tutorial!! Very helpful and . . . . I can’t wait for the bag tutorials!!! Absolutely love them and crocheting tapestry!!!!

      1. Marc

        I’m having an issue with waves in my round carpet once I past row 12.

        I started my circle with 12 crochet. So I’ve been increasing the rows by 12. I may have issues in the way I count my crochets in every row.

        I want to create a rug of 5 feet diameter. So this will be over 35 rows. So how do I count my rows past 12? And how do I increase or not the remaining rows.

        Row 13?
        Row 14?

        Row 35, etc.

        1. Shelley Husband Post author

          Hi Marc. Ok so the formula should work if you’re doing tr/dc (UK/US) and increasing by 12 each round for as big as you want it. There’s no difference past round 12. If you’re having trouble counting the stitches, count them before you join the round. It’s easier that way. I tend to count as I go by the number of stitches in the repeat of that round. So if there are 15 stitches in the repeat, I count to 15. If you get the the end and don’t end on 15 then you know something is wrong.

          1. Marc

            Hi Shelley, I truly appreciate your reply to my post. Now this will be the third time I restart this round rug, and I’m still having ruffle/waves issues, and it seems this is always past the 12 row. Now I do count the rows properly and I always double count just to ensure I do not make a mistake. I even changed my hook size and I even start a second one with a different wool and both still create ruffles/waves. So I am truly at a lost as to what to do. As I said before I need to create a circle that is over 35 rows, possibly 50.

          2. Shelley Husband Post author

            Ok so ruffling/waves appear when there are too many stitches. It could be down to your crochet style, hook and yarn combo to name a few. So as soon as you notice a ruffle, try a round with fewer increases, or none at all, before increasing again. I can’t predict what will work for you. It will be a bit of trial and error for you I’m afraid.

          3. Marc

            So should I try row 13 without any increase and then do 14 as it was supposed to 13, then do another one without increase? then another normal one for ever?

            I need a plan to finish this rug.

          4. Marc

            Now how many rows should I do without an increase without my design turning into a bowl. Then when should I return to increasing stiches in a row?

            So ya do 1 row without and increase but then how many rows with increases, etc.

            I know I have a lot of questions but this is the first time I do a round project.

          5. Shelley Husband Post author

            Hi Marc.

            I can’t tell you specifically what will work for you. Generally, the formula works, but for your crochet style it’s not. You will have to try things and be prepared to undo them if it’s cupping like a bowl, there are not enough stitches. If it’s wobbly there are too many. Trail and error will be the only way. Work as per the formula and deviate from it if you notice cupping or waviness until it is flat again.

        2. Marc L Gagnon

          I’ve been waiting since April to get a proper formula to finish this project. I got no answer since them to help me. I have two projects like this that are just sitting on my table waiting to get over the 12 rows. I NEED HELP TO FINISH THIS!

          1. Marc L Gagnon

            I need a proper plan! I cannot just wing it from memory or go on the fly. I need a proper detail [plan.

          2. Shelley Husband Post author

            I have given you all the help I can. Re-read the post. Re-read my replies. Try and try again. I really can’t do any more for you without being there.

  2. Jamie

    Thanks for the tutorial on this. I made a small candy basket a few months ago and the base of it has that spiral effect in it. I think it looks neat for that particular project, but I was wonder how to make to make one with it. Now I’m going to try this method and see how it goes.

  3. Crafty Smikk

    Thanks so much for this!! Very helpful! Question… If my circle is curling and I repeat the previous round, won’t it get the stitch count wonky??

    1. Shelley Husband Post author

      Yup, in the cupping fix, you will end up with a different stitch count. It only really matters if you need a certain stitch count and is easily remedied later on in your circle. If you want to match a certain number, then when you are getting near the end, you can count up and do less increases in say the second last round until you have the right number. It won’t show up so much there 🙂

  4. Jean

    Great simple ideas, I also don’t use a stitch marker for the rows and use a piece of thread but when I think I’ve done a row I switch the thread to the other side of my work, feeding it up the work giving a better idea of when a round is finished.

  5. Anna

    Hi there Shelley

    Like some other people I am also away and have to wait to get home to pick up needle.

    Love your website and I’ve followed you on Instagram for so long.

    I love the vibrant colours you use.

    I would love to see video tutorials. I find watching someone in action really helps. Just a thought.

    Keep up the awesome work. ??????

    1. Shelley Husband Post author

      Thanks so much Anna 🙂 It’s lovely to know you appreciate what I do 🙂

      I do have a YouTube channel, with how to make specific stitches. I am planning on some more in depth stuff in the future – it’s a time thing. It takes a long time for me to do LOL

  6. Rudi O

    Hi Shelley,

    Thanks for the great info, I’ve picked up on some of the info you have, but you’ve pulled a great amount of advise/knowledge together in 1 place!! It took me a minute to figure out your stitch count charts (I’m a slow light bulb sometimes!) but once I figured it out, it was an Amazing way to visualize what’s going on and how to easily modify the pattern!!

    If I understand the pattern correctly: at the top, formula for a flat circle. Round 6 should add up to 72 stitches, not the 76 listed.

    I’m diving into you bag patterns next!!!

  7. Patricia

    Thank you so much for the lightbulb you put over my head with this post. I will try this as soon I get back to my needle.
    Kind regards from the southwest of Germany

  8. linda phillips

    Thank you for the time you put into the tutorial and the pictures. It was very helpful to have it written out.

  9. Kaity

    Okay so I started with 11 then to 22 then 33,44,55… When I get to 66 it cups. So I’m having a hard time because your thing said if it cups I need to add more stitches. But then won’t it wave? Its only row 6 will it be better if I pull it? I’m just confused because I’ve counted quite a few times to make sure its increasing correctly, I’ve frogged it a lot already. I’m a newbie so excuse me if I sound crazy, just determined

    1. Shelley Husband Post author

      Hi Kaity 🙂

      I know it sounds odd – but the reason it’s cupping is because there are not enough stitches. Sure it will wave if you add too many, but you need to add a few to flatten it. no need to frog the whole lot – just either frog the last round and add a few more stitches or keep going and add a few more stitches in your next round. Keep in mind your stitch counts will be different.

  10. Jackie

    Thanks for making it all clear to me now. I’m very keen to make a shoulder bag now with a circular base.

  11. Rose Challenger

    I want to thank you because I have been trying to crochet a circle rug for months and it just wasn’t working out. The tips you have written helped me immensely. My circular rug is coming beautifully. I am very happy I found your pointers. Once again thanks alot.

    1. Shelley Husband Post author

      Hi Amy

      I haven’t made a circle using US Tr! Maybe today is the day I try it and see what happens. I suspect it’ll be pretty similar to the US dc though. I’ll let you know how I get on.

    2. Shelley Husband Post author

      Hi Amy 🙂 I had a play and I found that you need more sts when making circles with tr (US. So instead of starting with 12 sts, I started with 16 and followed the formula and all was well.

  12. Ben Koval

    Thanks for the bottom pattern formula and the numbers to make a perfect circle. This really helped me for making a dragon scale bag.

  13. ann

    Hello Shelley, I found your page, quite by accident, when searching for a way to increase when doing circular crochet. In particular I want to make the centre of the Sunburst Granny Square and then on into a baby shawl or blanket.
    Will your increasing tactics work on cluster stitch I wonder?
    Any help will be most appreciated.
    many thanks, Ann

    1. Shelley Husband Post author

      Hi Ann 🙂 I have never made that pattern so I can’t tell if it’ll work. This formula is what works for regular stitches, beyond that I couldn’t say from experience. Good luck trying things out and seeing how it goes!

  14. Barbara DeRyckere

    You are a GODDESS, I have tried doing a circle rug that didn’t ruffle like a tutu,than I found you. I finished at row nine using double crochet and I added arrow of same without increasing. Because I am a new crocheted I used the slip stitch. I have a large enough rug, but the last row is higher. My question is how do I finish with a even row? I do plan on putting a boarder with different color.

    Again, thank you. I restarted this eight times!!!

    1. Shelley Husband Post author

      haha! thanks for that Barbara 🙂 So to end a bit more smoothy than with a slip stitch, you can use an invisible join. I don’t have a tutorial on it, but the amazing Dedri from Look at what I made does. You can find it here. It still won’t be flat, but will be better 🙂

    1. Shelley Husband Post author

      Hi 🙂

      If I were changing colours each round, I would start each round with ch1 in place of your first stitch then end the round with an invisible join. Then start the new colour with slip stitch in a new stitch, ch1 in place of first stitch etc

    1. Shelley Husband Post author

      It’s hard to say Melody. There are so many variables. Your yarn and hook combination, your tension, the pattern itself. If it’s ruffling, it generally means there are too many stitches. Generally.

  15. Glenda

    How many DC (UK) stitches do you start the circle with? I tried 12 and my circle went wavy fast! I should really say my hexagon went wavy fast, I’m still having problems with my increases, no matter where I put them.

    1. Shelley Husband Post author

      I start with 12 generally. Perhaps try a smaller hook with the yarn you’re using? Your tension could be very loose making it wavy perhaps? Maybe have a look at this post which shows examples of different tensions with the same pattern.


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