How to Crochet a Flat Circle: A Beginner's Guide

A flat circle is the foundation of most crochet projects, from hats and rugs to baskets and toys. On its own, a flat circle can even function as a coaster or placemat, making it one of the essential things to master in your crochet craft.

Crocheting a flat circle is easy — something even beginners can do. But to ensure your circle is flat instead of wavy or misshapen, you need to learn how to crochet it properly. In this guide, we’ll show you how to crochet a flat circle by increasing stitches in every round.

Whether you’re looking to work a single crochet, double crochet, or half-double crochet circle, this basic formula will help you get started. So let’s get to it.

Understanding the Basics of Crocheting a Flat Circle

Crocheting a flat circle is straightforward. However, beginners often find their circles ruffled, crumpled, or cupped instead of flat. This can be caused by miscounting stitches or using the wrong gauge and tension.

Gauge refers to the number of stitches or rows per inch you work. When crocheting a flat circle, you need to increase it evenly by the same number of stitches you started with. Gauge is also determined by the yarn weight and hook size you use, which we’ll talk more about later.

Ultimately, you should be maintaining a consistent gauge as you work your flat circle. Any change in gauge will make your stitches uneven and your circle’s shape distorted.

Now let’s talk about tension, which refers to how tightly or loosely you hold your yarn and work your stitches. If your tension is too tight, you’ll end up with denser stitches and a concave circle. On the other hand, loose tension will cause the circle to lack density and have gaps or ripples.

Maintaining consistent tension as you crochet your flat circle is crucial for proper fabric density, elasticity, and shape. It will also help ensure your stitches are even and your project looks professional and clean.

Choosing the Right Yarn and Hook
Tension and gauge are influenced by the yarn and hook that you use. Depending on the size and design you’re going for, you can either use a thinner or thicker yarn weight. Thin yarn, such as lace or fingering yarn, will make smaller stitches and affect your gauge — you’ll need to work more stitches to achieve the size you’re going for. But these yarn types make more intricate circles.

On the other hand, thick yarn will make larger stitches, requiring you to reduce your gauge to achieve your desired size. Thick yarns, like bulky or super bulky yarn, will make a more substantial flat circle.

Consequently, the yarn weight you choose should be accompanied by the appropriate hook size. A small hook will create denser and tighter stitches, which will make a smaller flat circle with less drape. A larger hook will create looser stitches, resulting in an open fabric that has more drape.

We recommend that beginners choose smooth worsted-weight yarn and a hook that’s size H (5 mm). But if you opt for other types of yarn, here’s a size chart to help you choose the correct hook size.

Starting the Circle
Now that you know the fundamentals, you’re ready to start crocheting a flat circle. To start, you need to make a magic ring. Also called an adjustable ring or magic circle, this crochet technique is fundamental when crocheting in the round.

A magic circle is worked in two parts. First, you make the adjustable loop. Second, you work your stitches into that loop.
To start, place the tail end of your yarn on your left hand, pointing toward you. Loop the working end of the yarn around the back of your first two fingers. Cross the working end of the yarn on top of the tail end to the left and use your thumb to pinch the yarn strands where they intersect.

Turn your hand so that your palm is facing down toward the table. There should be two strands of yarn at the back of your hand: the working yarn on the left and the tail yarn on the right. Slide your hook under the right strand and over the left strand. Pull up a loop with the left strand while rotating the hook.

Wrap the working yarn from back to front over the hook and draw the yarn through the loop on the hook. This makes one single crochet chain. If you’re working half-double crochet, make 2 chains. If you’re working double crochet, make 3 chains.

Insert the hook into the center of the magic circle and draw up a loop. Yarn over and draw the yarn through both loops of the hook to complete your first stitch. Continue this process until you achieve the required number of stitches in your pattern.

When done, pull the yarn tail to close the center of the ring. If you’re working in joined rounds, create a slip stitch into the first stitch to join the round. If you’re working in a continuous spiral, immediately start the next round in the first stitch. As you work, you may notice your center ring loosening up. Simply pull the yarn tail to tighten it.

Increasing Stitches
In every subsequent round, you’ll need to increase stitches evenly by the same number of stitches you started with. This means that each round adds the same number of stitches you made in the magic circle, which increases the number of stitches in each round.

Your starting number of stitches will depend on the stitch technique you’re going for. The taller the stitches, the more you need in the first round to ensure your circle stays flat.

● For single crochet, work 6-8 stitches in round one.
● For half-double crochet, work 8-10 stitches in round one.
● For double crochet, work 10-12 stitches in round one.

How many stitches you need to start will also depend on your tension. If you’re a loose crocheter, you need fewer stitches. If you’re a tight crocheter, you need more stitches.

Now that you know how many stitches you need to start with, you’ll have a much clearer idea of how many stitches you need to increase in each round. Regardless of whether you’re working single crochet, half-double crochet, or double crochet, you can increase stitches using this formula.

Round 1: Create a magic ring with your recommended number of stitches.
Round 2: Work 2 stitches into each stitch around.
Round 3: Work 2 stitches into the first stitch from the previous round and 1 stitch into the next stitch. Repeat for the entire round.
Round 4: Work 2 stitches into the first stitch from the previous round and 1 stitch into each of the next 2 stitches. Repeat for the entire round.
Round 5: Work 2 stitches into the first stitch and 1 stitch into each of the next 3 stitches. Repeat for the entire round.
Round 6: Work 2 stitches into the first stitch and 1 stitch in each of the next 4 stitches. Repeat for the entire round.

Maintaining the Flat Shape
Ruffling, circling, or puckering are common issues crafters experience when crocheting a circle. These can happen for various reasons, such as stitching too loosely or tightly or miscounting stitches.

In particular, ruffling happens when you have too many stitches or your tension is too loose. To fix this, start your circle with fewer stitches and increase less often. You can also opt to go down a hook size to tighten your stitches.

If your circle is curling or puckering into a concave bowl, you either lack stitches or your tension is too tight. Try starting your circle with more stitches and increasing more often. Alternatively, use a larger hook size.

You can also try blocking your misshapen circle and setting it flat. Soak the circle in warm water and mild detergent and then lay it flat on a clean towel. Pin the edges to your desired shape and wait for it to air dry.

Shaping the Circle
If you want to enhance the appearance of your flat circle with texture and lace, you can adopt the following stitch patterns or techniques.

Front and back post stitches - These work stitches around the post of the stitch instead of through the top loops, creating a raised texture on the surface of the fabric.

To do a front post double crochet, insert the hook from the front of the circle around the post of the designated stitch and complete the double crochet. To do a back post double crochet, insert the hook from the back of the circle around the post of the designated stitch and complete a double crochet.

You can combine both front and back post stitches to create more intricate textures on the fabric.

Shell stitch - This stitch adds lace to a flat circle by working multiple stitches into the same stitch to create a shell-like shape. To create a shell stitch, work multiple stitches into the same stitch, strategically placing them around the flat circle.

Picot stitch - Often used as a decorative element for flat circles, a picot stitch creates a small loop on the edges of the fabric. To work this stitch, chain 3-5 stitches, then work a slip stitch into the first chain. Work picot stitches at regular intervals along the edges of the fabric.

Filet crochet - This uses a combination of open and filled squares to create a lace design on the fabric.

Open squares are done by working a double crochet followed by a chain stitch and then skipping a certain number of stitches. Filled squares are created by working multiple double crochets into the same stitch.

Customizing the Flat Circle
Using different yarn types can change the appearance of your flat circle. You can use self-striping yarn to create a striped pattern or variegated yarn to create visual texture and interest.

There are also textured yarns, such as eyelash yarn or chenille yarn, to create a tactile appeal. Or attach yarn embellishments like beads, embroidery, or sequins to add accents to your flat circle.

Alternatively, you can adopt color-changing techniques to create a gradient, color blocking, or stripe patterns in your circle. Here are some to try:

Joining a new color - Complete the last stitch of your first color until there are two loops on your hook. Yarn over with a new color and pull it through the last two loops.
Carrying yarn - Carry the unused color along the back of the stitches and then use the new color to resume working in the round.
Tapestry crochet - Work multiple colors and carry the unused colors behind the stitches to create geometric shapes on your project.

Troubleshooting and Common Issues
When crocheting a flat circle for the first time, you might run into some common issues like curling edges, rippling, or uneven increases. Here are some tips to help you remedy these:

Curling edges - When you circle curls inward instead of laying flat, try using a larger hook size to loosen your stitches. Otherwise, add more stitches in the first round and increase more frequently.
Rippling or waving - If your circle is rippling, you either have inconsistent tension or incorrect stitch placement. Maintain a consistent tension as you work, and be mindful of where you insert your hook to make increases.
Uneven increases - To help you increase accurately, use stitch markers to mark the beginning and end of your rounds. Count your stitches in every round, so you increase by the correct number of stitches.

Utilizing Flat Circles in Projects
There are plenty of crochet projects that use flat circles as their foundation. Once you’ve mastered the technique, here are ways you can incorporate it into your crochet projects:

Granny square blanket - This can be created by joining multiple flat circles together to form a large square or rectangular blanket.
Coasters/ table mats - You can use durable yarn to create a coaster with a flat circle. Or join them together to create a large table mat.
Bags - Flat circles can be foundational pieces for circular bags. Use the flat circle as the base and then work upwards to create the bag’s side panels.
Rugs/ door mats - Use sturdy yarn to create flat circles and join them together to create a rug. To add visual interest, experiment with different stitch patterns and colors.

Learning how to crochet a flat circle is a valuable skill to have in your crochet toolbox. Once you master this technique, you’ll be able to incorporate it into various crochet projects and expand your portfolio. The possibilities are endless — let your creativity run free and create a crochet circle that suits your personal style.