Tutorial – Why Continuous Rounds Shift

Yesterday, we looked at crocheting in continuous rounds and using a running stitch marker. The stitch marker shows clearly that the first stitch of the round shifts slightly to the right (or left, if you’re left handed) with each round.

Continuous Rounds - Tutorial on StitchesNScraps.com

Why does this happen?

Let’s look at the way the stitches are lined up in the middle of this swatch. If we look at the posts of the stitches (which in this case are the little V shapes, since this is single crochet), you will see that they don’t line up. In fact, each stitch sits in-between the two stitches below it.

Stitches sit between stitches of previous round - StitchesNScraps.com

Looking at the current round, you can see how this works. Here I have just completed a round, and the running stitch marker is lying between the last stitch of the previous round, and the first stitch of the next round.

Stitches at the end of a round - StitchesNScraps.comWhen I insert my hook into the next stitch to start the next round, it will be right above the marker, between the stitches. In this way, the first stitch of the new round is half a stitch to the right of the first stitch of the round before it.

If we were joining our rounds and turning our work with each round, we would shift one way on this round and the other way on the next round. In this way the shift would even out and we would end up with a nice, straight seam. With continuous rounds however, we are not turning our work. So the first stitch just continues to shift in the same direction, by half a stitch each time.

What can we do about it?

If we’re just making a plain tube, in continuous rounds, with no seam, then it really doesn’t matter. But look what happens when I try to put in a vertical stripe. Here I’m working in blue for the 5th and 6th stitch of each round. My stripe isn’t vertical, instead it’s leaning to the right because of the shift.

Stripe with no adjustment for shift - StitchesNScraps.com

 I can adjust for this shift by moving the stripe 1 stitch to the left, every 2 rounds. Here I have continued from the swatch above, but I’ve worked the next 2 rounds with the stripe starting on stitch 6, then 2 more rounds with the stripe starting on stitch 7. Now the stripe is straight, on the new rounds!

Stripe with adjustment for shift - StitchesNScraps.comThe same adjustments also need to be considered when doing any shaping that is not evenly spaced around, which is very common with amigurumi patterns. If you’re working from a pattern, it should include adjustments for this shift where needed.

Check back tomorrow for a new amigurumi pattern worked in continuous rounds!



  • Jess Gregg

    This is a fantastic tutorial! I’ve been bothered by this phenomenon for a while now and I just thought it was because I’m left handed! So thank you for taking the time to write up such a great tutorial, adding pictures and explaining exactly why it happened and how to fix it. This was extremely helpful!

  • Sherry

    As a newby to crochet I blamed my in accuracy to keeping tabs on my work but now I know better. Thank you for the concise and clear explanation.

  • Jenna De Young

    How do you use a shift stitch on a round with increases? If I pull out a stitch to keep it straight then I’ll be short a stitch on my next round.

    • Pia Thadani

      You don’t take out a stitch, you just may want to shift where are you place your increases if you want them to line up. For example, the first increase might be at the first stitch, and then two rounds later you would put the increase at the second stitch instead.

  • Ivar

    How would you do this on a round with a decrease. Would it be done the same as a round with an increase of slightly differently.

    • Pia Thadani

      If you’re trying to maintain a colorwork pattern, then it would depend on where the increase and decrease are, and how they affect the colorwork. It might take some trial and error.

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