CraftsDrawingPaintingPhotographySculptureTextiles & Sewing

Five Common Crochet Mistakes and Tips for Beginners

Updated on December 28, 2014
Beginning crochet mistakes
Beginning crochet mistakes

Common Crochet Mistakes

Learning to crochet is hard. When you’re first starting out you can be so focused on making the correct stitches that you don’t notice your projects turning out a bit wonky.

This article will go over the most common crochet mistakes for beginners. Many people make one or more of these beginner crochet mistakes for years without realizing, thinking they are just bad at crocheting. Don't get discouraged! Correcting crochet mistakes is easy.

Crochet Troubleshooting: Only Crocheting the Front Loop

Make sure to crochet both the front and the back loops.
Make sure to crochet both the front and the back loops.

The most common mistake made by beginners is to only crochet using the front loop.

People can do this for years without realizing it, having no idea why their crochet projects don't look right. It’s especially hard to notice if you only make scarves or one-stitch projects, but the mistake becomes obvious when doing amigurumi (stuffed animals made by crochet), granny squares, or more complex patterns. Things just won't line up, and the project turns out larger than expected.

Once you fix the problem, you will also realize that the stitches themselves look different. If the front of your crochet projects looks slightly different from the back, you probably are using only one loop.

The image above points out the front and back loops. You need to pick up both of these on every stitch. Stick your hook in under both and you've fixed the most common beginner crochet mistake.

Now, some patterns say to only use one loop, and that's just fine. Those patterns account for the extra give and the look of front-loop crochet.

Crochet Troubleshooting: “Why is My Crochet Blanket Getting Wider?"

Does your crochet look like this?
Does your crochet look like this?

You might have noticed when crocheting a scarf or blanket that the number of stitches per row just keeps growing until it looks like you're trying to make a trapezoid. When this happens, you likely already know the problem: you aren't stopping or starting on the correct spot. Here are some general rules:

  1. Single crochets start in the first stitch of the row, directly next to the chain.
  2. Double crochets start in the second stitch of the row, one stitch between it and the chain.
  3. Count your stitches!

I know counting your stitches can be really tedious, but count the number of stitches you made in the first row, and then when you hit that number on the second row, stop and turn. If the edge is still uneven, that means you’re likely starting in the wrong stitch. Review rules one and two. Eventually you won't have to count so carefully, but it takes a while to get a feel for when to stop.

Crochet Troubleshooting: Overly Tight Stitches

Okay, we all get a little attached to our crochet projects, but holding on too tightly only leads to impossibly tight stitches that are difficult to work with. Remember when you're making your first row: you have to fit another row into these loops later! Making too-tight stitches may not be a "mistake" but it sure is common in crochet! Practice these simple steps to loosen your hold on the yarn and hook:

  • Remind yourself that the yarn cannot run away.
  • Practice building self-esteem. The project will work. You are a good crocheter.
  • Take a deep breath and count to five.

If you have to loosen your grip to allow the yarn through for the next stitch, you are holding on too tightly. If your hands ache after only a few minutes, you are holding on too tightly. LET IT GO. The yarn tends to unfold as it should.

Crochet Troubleshooting: Is Your Amigurumi Inside Out?

For those who don't know, amigurumi refers to stuffed animals or objects made by crochet.
For those who don't know, amigurumi refers to stuffed animals or objects made by crochet.

This mistake is the most difficult to diagnose but the easiest to fix. Fixing it only takes a second and doesn't require ripping out any stitches. If your finished project looks too blocky, or the rows are too pronounced, or something about your stitches just doesn’t look right, then it’s possible your amigurumi could be inside out. First, rule out the single-loop problem discussed above and then try flipping the amigurumi and see if it looks better.

If you switched directions halfway through, either live with it, or rip out the part after the switch. Sorry.

Crochet Troubleshooting: US/UK Term Confusion

Check whether your crocheting instructions come from the US or the UK, as the terminology differs slightly. For instance, the term “double crochet” means something different to crocheters in the UK than it does to crocheters in the US. Check out the table below to see the UK equivalent to US stitching terms.

US/Canada Stitch Names
UK/Australia/Europe Stitch Names
Slip Stitch (sl st)
Slip Stitch (sl st) (or just stitch)
Single Crochet (sc)
Double Crochet (dc)
Double Crochet
Treble/Triple Crochet
Triple Crochet
Double-treble

And we're finished! I hope you've learned a bit about correcting crochet mistakes, and managed to get your project back on track. Now that you've conquered common crochet mistakes, don't forget to check out my page on getting free yarn! Leave a comment if you have a question :)

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 4 years ago

      Great crochet hub for beginners. Only crocheting the front loop... they were almost doing a rib stitch and didn't even know it ^_^ lol. I'll be linking to this hub in my Crochet Stitches hub ^_^

    • Amber Vyn profile image

      Amber Vyn 3 years ago

      I agree with Mama Kim 8. This article covers the most common mistakes for beginners. My first 'big' project, a placemat, looked like a rhombus because I wasn't counting right. Voted 'up' and 'useful'!

    • MoiraCrochets profile image

      Moira Durano-Abesmo 3 years ago from Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines

      Very great article on crochet! I must admit, I think I did most of them. It took more than 10 years to correct. LOL!

    • diplorging profile image

      diplorging 3 years ago from Serbia

      Thanks for your wonderful work, it's a real help to any beginner. One of my biggest mistakes was that I didn't want to use row markers.

    • Same DiNamics profile image

      Dianne Hunt 3 years ago from Maryland

      Great article. I was making the mistake of crocheting in the front loop only until I realized that you could crochet in the front or back loop only to make specific designs.

    • profile image

      Karie 3 years ago

      Thank you so much! I was confused as to why my work either got bigger or smaller and couldn't figure out why some patterns call for crocheting in the first stitch vs the second. And the difference between UK and US crochet terms - drat! Why can't we have a universal language of crocheters! =D Thanks again for putting that together!

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 3 years ago

      thanks for the article. I hope to one day to get back into the work of crotcheting.

    • sachamike profile image

      Sacha Mike 3 years ago from Washington

      I'm with Torrilynn, I hope to get back to crocheting. When I do, this will be a huge help. So much to remember, so without a guide like yours I think I would be lost and frustrated.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

      13 months/762 pins and I'm just now finding this? Thanks!

    • Ila Castro profile image

      Ila Castro 2 years ago from Manila

      My amigurumis always look wonky. Now I know why! Thank you!

    • aprilsemogan profile image

      aprilsemogan 23 months ago

      Great article. I've really enjoyed reading it, and this would be a big help for me because i'm just a beginner in crocheting. I'm hoping to read more from you. :)

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 22 months ago

      Some beautiful photos and good instruction.

    • profile image

      Sofi 22 months ago

      Thank you so much for this! I m from Argentina and I have been looking for some crochet advices but here the magazines and books are really basics.

    • profile image

      Jamie Kent 18 months ago

      Now I have a new understanding... I will go back to my current project and see if I can find when and where I went wrong. I am still hoping to find someone in my locate area to look at me work and help me see where I need to make changes/improvements. Thank you for your trouble-shooting instructions.

    • profile image

      Michelle 17 months ago

      This was helpful

    • profile image

      Amber 16 months ago

      This was helpful. I do still have a question, though. Every hat I've ever attempted to make ends up with a flat top. I've tried many different patterns, and every time the top is flat and then then sides seem to go straight down. How do I keep the hat round?

    • Tealparadise profile image
      Author

      Tealparadise 16 months ago

      Amber- if you notice it getting flat, skip a stitch.

    • profile image

      Sucharu70@gmail 16 months ago

      Very helpful tips. Thanks

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 16 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have to admit that I have been crocheting for years but never knew these problems. Thanks for bringing these to my awareness.

    • profile image

      Mari 16 months ago

      Another easy solution to the overly tight stitches would simply be to use a larger hook.

    • profile image

      janetevans007 15 months ago

      Thank you! I have been crocheting for 8mths and have been having most of these issues... finally it makes sense and I can enjoy it more! Bless you

    • jennabee25 profile image

      Jenn Dixon 15 months ago from PA

      I mostly knit, but I do enjoy crocheting on occasion. It's a nice break. Thank you for your great tips!

    • profile image

      Slmc17 15 months ago

      After making the UK/USA terms mistake I now always check patterns now for reference to single crochet. Not a mistake you want to realise halfway through a project! Thanks for the article.

    • profile image

      DeeDee0074 15 months ago

      I love this! I've only been crocheting for a few months now and have been watching for common mistakes as I go. I do have a question, though. Is there a different term for half double crochet? It is my most used stitch and I wouldn't want to mix it up in a pattern for a different stitch.

    • profile image

      tripta 14 months ago

      Thank you very much, I was never able find my mistakes.

    • profile image

      Krystina 14 months ago

      My issue is that when I am crocheting a mile a minute afghan, my strips end up having a rippling edge whe i dont want it to. For the life of me i cant find what i may be doing wrong. If someone has had this issue and has found a solution, please let me know! - Thanks :)

    • profile image

      Marlene. 14 months ago

      Thanks for help. I was using wrong loop it keep getting larger

    • M Lynn Moore profile image

      Michelle McKiernan 14 months ago from Madison, WI

      This is a great find! I'm going shopping for yarn tomorrow to start learning to crochet from a book I've had for years. All this probably isn't in there. Thanks.

    • Laura Beaudin profile image

      Laura Beaudin 13 months ago from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

      Thank you for this! I've been making many of these errors for ages, especially #1.

    • profile image

      Karen 13 months ago

      So in understanding these mistakes. My question is this: Unless indicated to only pick up up in back loop, always stitch through both loops on each piece we work on?? Am I right or wrong on this. Some directions do not come with specific directions. I am working on a new project, does not indicate to me which loop to use. Back loop or both. I'm a beginner again.

    • Tealparadise profile image
      Author

      Tealparadise 13 months ago

      Hi Karen- yes, both loops at all times! And if you are getting ripples Kristina, you may just need to block it. Google "how to block crochet."

    • profile image

      DeniseI 12 months ago

      I just started to crochet about a year ago

      And believe me I love it!!! There are some questions that I have now. I hope that you come out with some more common mistakes tips in the future

    • profile image

      Martha 11 months ago

      The diagram showing both loops is not pointing to the correct two loops. One arrow needs to be moved.

    • profile image

      Anne 8 months ago

      When l crochet blanket and put bottom edge to top edge bottom edge is shorter, what am l doing wrong, tried doing chains looser, but still the same, getting very frustrated now, hope you can help xx

    • profile image

      Roz Hill 6 months ago

      This article begins. Learning crochet is hard.

      It is also about correcting mistakes made.

      Has anyone ever thought of learning freeform scrumbles. A beginner can first learn to make a few chain and there after simply play at hooking the yarn in anywhere. The only rules is that you cannot make a mistake. Scrumble away, join yarn anyway you wish, wherever you want. The result is not important.It will be a scrumble jumble that will likely not be pleasing to look at. The process of experimenting, without rules is amazing and before your yes you will discover what happens if you work along a row or go into the same hole, or go into the top loop, bottom loop or both or even keep loops on the hook.

      Try it, it's very therapeutic and no one can say you have made a mistake.

      Especially great for kids. Go on to make lots of chain projects, bracelets chain flowers and more.

      Roz Hill

    • profile image

      Debbie 3 months ago

      I am a beginner and trying to make a blanket. Some of my rows will be on a bit of an angle like / and when I fold my blanket in half lengthwise the ends don't meet. One end will but the other is off on an angle as well. What am I doing wrong? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • profile image

      Veneta Gonsalves 2 months ago

      Very useful tips. Thank you. Can you please guide me on how to take correct measurements when crocheting a top. Though I take the stitches according to the body measurements and the stitches seem right in the beginning but by the time I am half way through my project the top looks smaller. Where am I going wrong with the stitches. Please advise. Thank you.

    • profile image

      jelun 2 months ago

      Just to chime in after viewing a few vids it is obvious that a class is needed. It is something I just can't pick up without an instruction in person. Thanks for the heads up.

    • Tealparadise profile image
      Author

      Tealparadise 2 months ago

      Veneta and Anne- if it's actually shrinking as you go, it's the trapezoid problem in reverse. If it is just ending up too small when you finish, you're likely holding too tightly (makes smaller stitches) or using the wrong gauge of hook. The pattern should size it for you. If it doesn't, trial and error or find a new pattern. But if you KNOW your stitches tend small, just size up the hook.

    • profile image

      Susan Ramsay 2 months ago

      My sis-in-law is a pretty good crocheter, but her afghan kept getting smaller. She asked my mom, a great chrocheter, for advice. The pattern had an error. Mom fixed the problem. So don't always blame yourself. Mistakes are made by everyone, even those who print patterns. Happy crocheting!

      PS Is crocheter a word?!

    • profile image

      Jo Scott 2 months ago

      Hi, I just finished a baby blanket with lots of color changes. I'm worried that I can feel the knots. Am I being overly sensitive to that or is that a big problem?

    • greenmind profile image

      greenmind 2 months ago

      Another great hub! You have a great way of explaining the creative process.

    • profile image

      Kaja 7 weeks ago

      What to do, when i do the usual 6 row granny square double size (12 row) and it goes wavy? Are the stitches somewhere too loose or too tight?

    • profile image

      Judy Wolfe 6 weeks ago

      How do I know when I am at the end of a row so I can stay straight and be slantedand?

    • profile image

      Joyce 6 weeks ago

      Making booties for the first time.

      The pattern get to the instep and at the end of the 3rd row it ends with SC2tog (which I did) then it just goes on to the next row with no direction to turn. Just says

      4th and 5th rows: Ch1; 1 sc in each of next 5 sts

      6 row: Ch1 Sc2tog. 1 sc in next sc Sc2tog. Turn

      It just doesn't look right. Maybe I just should not be trying this.

    Click to Rate This Article