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.


38 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!!!!

  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.


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