How To Count Stitches In Crochet

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Learning how to count stitches in crochet is really important.  An accurate stitch count (along with your gauge) means your project will turn out just as the designer intended.  How to Count Stitches In CrochetOnce you learn a few little tricks, it will be easy and become second nature to to count stitches in crochet correctly! Let’s dive in!

How to Count Stitches in Crochet

Let’s start with single crochet.  If you remember, when we learned about single crochet (which you can read about here),  a new row starts with a chain 1.  In single crochet, the chain 1 does NOT count as a stitch.  So you start counting with the first single crochet made in the row.  See below:
How to count stitches in crochet

Remember when we learned about double crochet?  A double crochet row starts with a chain 3.  The chain 3 COUNTS as the first stitch.  So start counting with the chain 3 and then continue.  See the photo below:How to Count Stitches In Crochet

So the easy way to remember this is that a single crochet starts with 1 chain and it does NOT count as a stitch.  All the other stitches COUNT the starting chain in a row as a stitch.  That goes for half double crochet, double crochet, triple crochet and so on.  If you need a refresher on stitches or how to do anything in crochet, check out the ever growing tutorials here.

There are several ways to count rows in crochet.  Stitches look differently when worked back and forth compared to when worked in the round.  Stitches also look different from each other.  Look carefully at the single crochet piece compared to the double crochet piece in the above photos.  Over time, you will be able to quickly spot the differences and be able to count the rows.

But what if you are not familiar with stitch differences yet or you are working a row with a more complicated pattern?  Not to worry.  There are other ways to keep track of the row count.  In fact, I keep track of the row count after 40 years of crochet experience!

If you are following a written pattern, you can check off each row as you complete it.  You also can mark a line for each row right on the pattern or on a scrap piece of paper.  I like to use this finger row counter.  And if you don’t like to wear it on your finger, you can just take the band off.  To use, just reset the counter to zero at the start of the project and then click once for each row!  Easy Peasy!

Counting crochet stitches and counting crochet rows is easy once you know how.  And now you do!

I love seeing your finished projects! If you enjoyed making one of my patterns I’d love to see yours on Instagram, be sure to tag me @crochet365knittoo.  If you are on Facebook, stop over to the Crochet 365 Knit Too Facebook page or pop over to the Crochet365KnitToo Club and share a photo!  I’d love to see your work!

How to count crochet stitches

How to count crochet stitches

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  1. thank you so much this is great information especially for begginers. I need to really know the stitches well like DC, HDC, and other stitches. Now you’ve taught me how to count my stitches. I know my daughter will be glad I learned this cuz I always called her.

  2. No wonder I couldn’t get my edges straight on my projects! I’ve been counting stiches wrong for years…

    1. I’ve been counting my stitches wrong slso. Now I know what I’ve been doing wrong. Thank you.

  3. Hi, I recently read a pattern that says the chain 2 turning chain is NOT a stitch. I’ve always done it your way. So, how do I count stitches now and where do I put my hook for double crochet?

    1. Traditionally the ch 3 turning chain has always been considered a stitch for the next row of double crochet. I consulted several crochet books before writing this post (I have quite a large collection) and I have been crocheting for more than 40 years. Having said that, there are some crocheters that just don’t like that look and in their designs they choose NOT to count it. We live in the days of the internet. It has sparked a lot of creativity (which is great) as well as a whole generation of crocheters who did not learn crochet using traditional methods.

      When I encounter conflicting information like this, here is what I do. I look at the finished project. Since the designer used this technique, if I want my finished project to look the same, it is best to follow the directions. If it is a piece that needs to fit or something that is worked in the round, I will usually “not” count the turning chain–because otherwise I would end up with 1 stitch less per row and my piece my turn out too small. If it is a flat piece (like an afghan or blanket), I usually will choose to work it traditionally (counting the turning chain as a stitch) as I feel that gives a straighter edge.

  4. Thank you so much for your quick reply. I understand the creativity of some designers but it would be good to stick to the rules 🙂

  5. I’m interested in knowing which loops to use when you are crocheting in the round after a chain space. Do you go into the loops above the double crochet (from the chain stitch) or the ones created by the double crochet.which is after the stitch.

    1. When the chain COUNTS as the stitch (as in double crochet), you go into the loops at the top of the chain. If it does NOT count as a stitch (as in single crochet) you go into the ones into the 1st stitch (after the chain). Hopefully that makes sense!

  6. Thank for this, this will help me and everyone who has had a hard time counting stitches, but could you show how to count stitches when having to go down the sides of crocheted items, especially when having to crochet around said piece of crochet? Thank you for your time.

    1. I’m glad the post helped you! As far as crocheting around the sides of an item, that is not as clear cut. But I will try to think of a way to make is simple and easy to understand for everyone and do a post about it. For now, here’s my best advice: if you are following a pattern, look to what the pattern advises. Stitch count might be super important for later steps. If you are just crocheting around something you made without a set pattern, what I do is crochet so that my row (say sc, for instance), lays flat or just a little bit tight. Sometimes this means I might work one stitch into the side of a row and other times it means I might work 2 stitches. Often I work about 4 or 5 inches, look back and decide if I need to change something. I hope that helps!

    1. I’m glad you like my patterns! If you click to “free patterns” in the menu, you can find the free blog patterns. The free patterns reside here on the blog where you can access them completely free. Everyone’s computer and internet is different, but most can print them right from the blog post–but you get a lot of things you might not like–such as the ads and comments. For this reason, and because so many people love it, I often will provide an ad-free version that is available at a low cost. If that option is available there is a link in the blog post. Hope that helps!

  7. Very clear instructions and pictures! You are a true teacher. I’ve been crocheting for a very long time also but I find you can always learn something new. I am working on learning tunisian crochet right now. It’s very fun to play with! Thank you for taking time to share your knowledge.

    1. In general, each chain counts as it’s own stitch. But sometimes designers might count a row differently. So say that a row has bobbles and chain spaces. The designer might just indicate the number of bobbles rather than indicate the number of stitches.

  8. This was very informative. I’ve been knitting and crocheting for 30+ years. These are the best instructions I’ve seen. Thanks

  9. Thanks for this. I must confess that I’m way more of a knitter than crocheter, but sometimes I’m beguiled by the lovely patterns and I simply must crochet! Where do I put the hook seems to be my biggest dilemma,as in where does this row actually start? This post clears that up quite a bit. Thanks for a clear, concise answer ! I must admit that I enjoy reading about the dogs and your daily doings as much as I enjoy the crochet info!

  10. Thanks for the detailed explanation. I still can’t help but wonder how to keep track of as many as 150 stitches. Should I be using a stitch marker?

    1. Are you trying to keep track of the number of stitches in a row? I usually will just count the stitches as I go or when I finish a row. But you certainly could use a stitch marker if that is an easier way for you to keep track.

  11. Oops, forgot to put my comment—scatter-brained!

    Thanks for explaining that, Cheryl. I think I won’t have so much problem with dubious counts, and a wonky side.

    I’m not sure how I do it, but I always end up with one straight side, and one wonky one. This should help the wonky side. 😊👵🏼

  12. My pattern calls for 54 chains. The instructions say to single crochet across. How many stitches should I have once I’ve completed my first row? (The pattern doesn’t say.) Should I have 54 stitches? 53 stitches? Or some other number?