Now you have mastered all the different crochet stitches, learn how to work in rounds and to join in colours.
Working in rounds
Many items, such as motifs, placemats and doilies, are crocheted in rounds rather than rows. It is a good idea to purchase stitch markers before you begin, as it can be quite difficult to determine the end and beginning of each round. If you can’t find a stitch marker use a plastic paperclip.
1 Work a length of chain and join together with a slip stitch (we showed you how to do this in the July issue). For this sample, work in a treble stitch so you can see the stitches and spaces clearly.
2 To create a flat circle you will need to increase in every row, otherwise your work will start to form a tube. You will also need to work a turning chain of three stitches at the beginning of every round so you can work in spirals. For the first round, work three treble stitches for every chain stitch you made to form the ring. Work the treble into the centre of the ring, not the stitch, and do not turn the work.
3 Join the last stitch to the first stitch with a slip stitch to complete the first round. Place a marker or paperclip here to indicate the end of the round.
4 For the second round, work a turning chain of three stitches. Work two treble stitches into the first space, then one treble stitch in the next space. Repeat to finish the round. Join with a slip stitch and place a marker.
5 For the third round, start by working a turning chain of three stitches. Work in the same way as for the second round, increasing every other stitch. Join with a slip stitch and place a marker at the end, as before.
Continue in this way, working turning chain stitches at the beginning of each round and setting the increases further apart as you work each new round. You will have to gauge this yourself – if you make too many increases it will create a wavy edge. Too few increases will make the motif curl up. Practise small circles first until you get the hang of working in rounds.
What are spaces?
Crochet stitches naturally produce holes in the fabric; these are known as spaces (abbreviated as sp). Some patterns leave larger spaces than others. Once you have established the foundation part of your work, it is the space that you must work into to create rows and rounds. A space is treated in the same way as a stitch: simply insert the hook into the space from the front to the back and complete the stitch pattern. In the granny square motif above, you can clearly see the spaces in the pattern.
Joining in a new colour or ball
1 Fasten off the first colour, leaving an end of about 10cm. Do this by inserting the thread through the loop on the hook and pulling on the yarn until the loop is secure. Where you wish to join in the new colour, insert the crochet hook from the front to the back of the stitch. Make a slipknot on the hook in the new colour, leaving an end of 10cm, and draw the hook through to the front of the work.
2 Make a turning chain in the new yarn to obtain the correct height of the stitch pattern you are working in.
3 Insert the hook into the next stitch and continue working in the required pattern. When the first round is completed, join the rounds with a slip stitch to the top of the first chain. Continue working as before, placing a marker at the beginning of every new round.
Weaving in ends
1 Once your work is completed you will need to secure all the ends. Turn the crochet over to the back and, using the hook, draw the loose end of the yarn though the back of the next stitch.
2 Repeat this for four or five more stitches. Snip off the excess yarn, cutting it close to the work.
The best way to learn is to choose a simple pattern and get going. Keep referring to the stitches and tips we’ve taught over recent months. Read through the abbreviations first to become familiar with the terminology and all the stitches you will require. Then read through the instructions. You can always jot down notes in pencil alongside to make it easier for yourself. Unlike knitting, you don’t have to worry about dropping stitches from the needles – if the hook slips out of your work, it is very easy to pick it up and continue.
Related article: Do basic crochet stitches