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Crochet Design: Maths in Circles

by Laura Eccleston

03 Aug 2021


Crochet Design: Maths in Circles
This article was a wonderful suggestion from one of my followers who asked "How much maths do we really need to know before we can start designing?" and this is a very good topic to look at. It was also in the context of crocheting in the round, asking how do we know how many stitches to use to get our designs to lie flat, or curvy, depending on what we want to design? and this is a very good topic to look at for beginner designers.

The short answer is you don't really need to know a lot of maths to become a crochet designer other than a few sets of times tables. Now, over the years I have tended to stick with only a couple of basic times tables, either the 6 times table or the 8 times table and rarely to I detour from these two sequences of numbers when working in a magic circle or chain 4 loop. Using times tables in your designs is a good practice to get into and if you can learn these two sets of times tables and use them in your designs you will find it much easier to keep track of your design as you will always know how many stitches you will have on your next round and not get lost with different sets of stitch numbers that have no relation to the previous round.

You can watch my tutorial here on designing a hat for example using these times table techniques..

Your yarn weight will greatly impact how many stitches you will need to start with, either to ensure your work lies flat or is wavy or cone shaped and it can be hard to know as a beginner when to add more or less stitches in advance of seeing your project come together. None of us have the time to keep crocheting and undoing our work so as a rule of thumb I like to begin with 6 stitches for thicker yarn and 8 stitches for thinner yarn (no less than weight 3). In my experience this usually works, but you can tell if your first round needs more stitches as the last stitch will be sat at a wide angle from your first stitch when you flatten your first round. When this is the case you can go from 6 stitches to 8 stitches or perhaps even 8 stitches to 10 if using a very thin yarn. On rare occasions I do opt for 7 stitches or 9, but I find the 6 and 8 method consistently works well for me.

Another rule of thumb is to always err on the side of less stitches so if you think you can squeeze in 8, your project over time may actually start to bend and curl so it would be better to start off with 6 even if you feel there should be more. However, the size of stitch you are using can also affect your initial stitch count so even though you may be working to a stitch count of 6 with a chunky yarn, if you use bigger stitches like double or treble crochets you may find that moving up to 8 stitches fits better as larger stitches allow for more room in your magic circle or chain 4 loops.

If the 6 and 8 method really doesn't work for you and you can't get the results you want, then you will need to go back and add an extra stitch or remove a stitch, but just 1 should be enough. Just remember to make a note of the new times table sequence you are now working to, either the 7 times table or the 9 times table. I'm not sure why I avoid odd number sequences, but this is just how my designs have developed over time and it has become a habit that simple works every time for me.

The benefit of working to a times table sequence is being able to know in advance how many stitches you will have on your next round. This is especially important when designing a hat. So for example if you start with 6 stitches, you will know that you will have 12 on the next round, then 18 on the next and so on. All your increases should line up on top of each other too so you will also know when to add your next increase.

However, over time, especially in larger projects like chunky rugs, this can create the effect of a hexagon shape. If you don't like this effect you can watch my video tutorial here on how to avoid this...

I hope you found this design tutorial helpful. If you have any questions then don't hesitate to contact me via Instagram at I would love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading!

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