Margaret Kavanagh

Tackle Your Mistakes Once and For All! (#8 is my secret shame)

fix crochet mistakes graphic

We all make mistakes right? This can be especially significant if you are a new crafter, but intermediate and advanced crafter make mistakes, too. They happen and that's okay, right? 😊 Yup. It's definitely okay. We can fix them!

But sometimes, it's tough to figure out HOW to fix mistakes. Let's make that a bit easier for you today!

We'll teach you how to fix several types of common mistakes, including how to fix wonky edges, tension issues, where to place your stitches, how to read patterns properly, how to fix sizing issues, and more. So, let's get started!

9 Common Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Mistake #1: Your project is getting bigger or shrinking

crochet mistakes crooked edges

When your square starts to look more like a trapezoid, something's gone wrong!

Picture working on a blanket, scarf, a panel for a cardigan, sweater, or another garment. These are all squares or rectangles, for the most part. So, when a project begins to look more like a trapezoid, triangle or is just all over the place, the most likely culprit is you aren't counting your stitches, or not placing your first stitch in the proper stitch to start your row. This is a very common problem with an easy fix!

How to fix it:

Mark your first and last stitches
Place a stitch marker in the first stitch you make in a row, and then again in the last stitch you make in a row. This helps because you will know exactly where to place your first and last stitches in the next row, which in turn helps keep your edges straight (see mistake number two).

Count your stitches
Always count. Yes, it’s a pain sometimes, especially when your project has 100-200 stitches, but we have a few tips for how to count stitches faster.

Tips for counting stitches:

– Count in 2’s, 4’s, or 5’s (or if you're a genius, you can count in 10's!)

– Use a stitch marker to mark your counts in intervals (i.e., mark every 25th stitch)

Mistake #2: Your edges are jagged instead of straight

Instead of a nice, clean edge, sometimes our projects have places where they bulge out on one side, and then stick out on another. It's not a great look. Once you figure out what's going wrong, it's pretty easy to fix it, and it's something that you can carry into all your projects!

As mentioned above, counting your stitches and placing a stitch marker in the first and last stitches helps. Another rule of thumb is to make sure you're using the proper number of turning chains at the beginning of your rows. Too many chains cause bulges while chaining too few chains can cause the edges to dimple.

Standing Double Crochet Tutorial by Heart, Hook, Home

Standing Double Tutorial by Heart, Hook, Home

How to fix it:

Check your pattern for your stitch placement at your row start:
If you are working from a pattern, it should tell you where to start the next row. It may say to work in the turning chain (t-ch). Or, it may instead say “sc 1” or “sc 1 in each of next 2 stitches.” In this case, you will want to count the stitches on your current row to make sure it matches the stitch count for that row, work the next row starting in the same as the turning chain, then do a stitch count again. Does it match the pattern stitch count? If not, rip it back, and start in the second stitch. Be sure to take note so you don't make the same mistake each row going forward!

Decrease your turning chain:
When using double – chaining 2, instead of 3 for the turning chain helps reduce the bulge on the edge, keeping the edge straight. For treble – use 3 chains instead of 4.

To join a new color:
Instead of joining and using a turning chain, try a Standing Double Crochet.

Mistake #3: Getting an uneven line when adding a border

clean edge by the felted buttonThere are tons of tutorials on how to keep a straight edge, but adding a border along the sides of a project can get kind of tricky. When you're crocheting a border, you're actually crafting sideways along stitches instead of in the same direction. It can be done, but if you're working with sc, dc, and a bunch of other stitches, it isn't always easy to know exactly where to put your hook.

How to fix it:

The Felted Button has a solution for that.  We've all come across this problem and what a wonderful solution!

Visit this link to view the tutorial for a clean-edge border by The Felted Button.

Mistake #4: Using the wrong weight/type yarn

This is SO important but fairly common. Getting the yarn right makes a big difference. If you're a designer, there is no wrong yarn weight or type of yarn, because you're the master of your design. However, if you are following a pattern, using the right weight and type of yarn makes all the difference in the world when it comes to sizing.

crochet mistakes yarn sub

Visit to find yarn that will work for you when you find the yarn you need.

How to fix it:

Use the recommended yarn, or:
If you can’t use the same yarn listed in the pattern, try visiting to see similar versions of the yarn. This fabulous website will help you find very similar yarns and show you JUST how close they are – by percentage points  – very helpful!

Familiarize yourself with the various standard yarn weights.
The Craft Yarn Council is the best place to start. They have some wonderful resources for learning about yarn weights, with handy tables and great graphics.

Katrinkles Mini Tools - Wraps per Inch

If you want to measure your yarn by WPI, this pretty little tool will help you. Katrinkles Mini Tools – Wraps per Inch

Wraps Per Inch (WPI) –  Are the wraps per inch the same?
Make sure your yarn substitute matches the wraps per inch (WPI) of the suggested yarn in the pattern. You can do your own wraps per inch test.

Take your yarn and wrap it around your hook, gently. Gently close the gaps and measure how many strands per inch. This will give you the WPI. If the WPI is the same as the recommended yarn, you will most likely not have an issue with the sizing. If it doesn’t match, you will want to check your gauge carefully and try to match the one in the pattern.

Mistake #5: The wrong part of the stitch

This one seems obvious to an advanced crafter, however, if you are a beginner, this is a very common issue. Sometimes, beginners fail to insert the hook through both loops of a stitch to pull a loop up. Learning to identify the stitches makes a big difference. In fact, there are several parts to each crochet stitch, and the part(s) that select to use when creating additional stitches changes the texture of your project completely.

How to fix it:

  • Learn to identify the parts of the stitch:

Each stitch has a front loop (one closest to you) and a back loop (one farthest from you). Unless your pattern or stitch design calls for working in the front or back loop only, you work into both loops. Working into both loops is the default stitch placement if none is listed.

  • The common abbreviation for back loop only is (blo)
  • The common abbreviation for front loop only is (flo).
  • There is also the third loop! For more information, check out this post!

Mistake #6: Mixing up terms & abbreviations, not realizing they are US vs. UK

Did you know that the way you do a single in the US is different than the way you do a single in the UK? They are totally different stitches and it sure can cause huge issues with patterns and designs!

How to fix it:

  • Find out whether your pattern is written in US or UK terms. If the pattern is written in a terminology other than your own, you may be able to contact the designer to see if they have a version of the pattern that matches the terminology you are familiar with.
  • Check out the translations to make sure you can re-create the pattern as you work it. For instance, a single crochet in the US is actually a double crochet in the UK.  So, it is important to know the difference, especially if you are working a pattern.


Mistake #7: Too tight or too loose

Tension = Gauge. When you see a pattern that provides a gauge or tension, it means the designer took the time to create a swatch to help you match her or his own tension.  Every artist has her/his own tension. Tension is important when working a pattern to get proper sizing, so learning how to control your tension is very helpful.

How to fix it:

  • Do a gauge swatch – yes, yes, yes, the dreaded gauge swatch! If you are working a pattern, tension means the world. Compare your swatch to the gauge listed in the pattern.
  • Most patterns will list a 4” x 4” (10 x 10 cm) gauge size, and how many stitches and rows you need to achieve those dimensions. However, some patterns will just list a length (i.e. 12 hdc = 4”).  The second method of gauge is a little less detailed and usually used for patterns where gauge and tension are not as important.
  • Adjust your tension or hook size to accommodate for the sizing differences.
  • I recommend doing a full gauge swatch because it is more accurate.

Crystals & Crochet has a wonderful article on what tension is, and how to control it.

Crystals & Crochet Tension Guide

Crystals & Crochet Tension Guide

Mistake #8: Not weaving in the yarn tails securely

We’ve all been there.  You finish a project, weave in all the tails, and throw it in the wash.  Tragedy strikes!  A tail came out and now there is a giant hole in your blanket, and all those hours you worked on your project feels lost.  It’s okay – that blanket may be a wash (no pun intended), but we can prevent it from happening again right?!

How to fix it:

  • Get a sharp (not blunt) darning needle with a large eye.
  • Leave at least 6 – 7” tails for weaving in.
  • Weave in first through the baseline of the stitches, up through the middle of the stitch, over through the next row base, and back down through the next stitch, in a Z pattern.

and last, but certainly not least…

Mistake #9: Not reading through the entire pattern before starting

This is such a common problem among beginners and advanced users.  Why?  Because we just want to start!  Forget about the other stuff, right? 😊.  Well, this can be a problem for stitch placement, sizing, and creating the proper stitches.  Most patterns will list the gauge, stitch guide, pattern notes, and abbreviations.  These can change from pattern to pattern.  Despite best intentions, there are no real steadfast standards for how to write a pattern.  This is why it’s important to read the designer's notes.  She or he may have modified a standard stitch or counting the turning chain as a stitch.  Although I don’t need to really make a list, I have to, just because

How to fix it:

Read the pattern, pattern notes, abbreviations, and stitch guide – you won't be sorry!
These are likely the most common mistakes we make crocheting.  If you have any other tips or tricks, please leave a comment below, I would love to update this!  Also, I just love tips and tricks 😊.

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Thanks for stopping by and Happy Crocheting!

Author Info

Blog Manager & Columnist Coordinator at Happily Hooked | + posts

I've been crocheting since my mother taught me as a little girl. I'm lucky to be working with Happily Hooked and I can't wait to share everything yarny and hooky with you! Yarn over, peeps! Yarn over!

Margaret Kavanagh

I've been crocheting since my mother taught me as a little girl. I'm lucky to be working with Happily Hooked and I can't wait to share everything yarny and hooky with you! Yarn over, peeps! Yarn over!

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