Mystery of Slanted Seams and Crochet Stitches

Have you ever wondered why your stitches, seams, or rounds look slanted? After long research and many hours of testing along with our testing team at IraRott.com, I would like to share our results and ideas.

Based on information from our polls that we collected during the past 4 years through different sources, the majority of crocheters work their stitches using YARN OVER (YO) in every step of making a stitch. We call this style “Classic” or “YO” crocheting as most educational sources use this method for teaching.

However, there is a large number of crocheters (including myself), who work crochet stitches using the HOOK OVER (HO) rule, which is basically holding your yarn under the hook in one of the steps & all the other steps of the stitch remain with YO. We named this method “Self-Compensated” or “HO” & I will explain my reasons below.

Let’s take a look at some examples based on double crochet (DC) stitches as DC is the most common stitch that requires corrections in certain circumstances. The instructions and videos below are given for both – right & left handed crocheting.

  • CLASSIC (YO) DC: YO, insert hook in next stitch, YO & pull working yarn through the stitch; [YO & pull through 2 loops on the hook] 2 times
  • SELF-COMPENSATED (HO) DC: YO, insert hook in next stitch, HO & pull working yarn through the stitch; [YO & pull through 2 loops on the hook] 2 times

How to work classic and self-compensated double crochet - for RIGHT and LEFT hand

Other than YO vs HO, what are the main differences between the Classic & Self-Compensated DC stitches? When crocheting in the round, we’ve noticed that Classic stitches are naturally straight but the seam is slanted; however Self-Compensated stitches are naturally slanted but the seam is straight. The reason for the slanted seam in Classic crochet is that the stitches are not placed exactly on top of each other, but are slightly off-centered. However, Self-Compensated crochet does not have that issue since the stitches are naturally slanted to the opposite direction from the offset stitch placement, which compensates slanting & makes the seam straight.

 

Straight and slanted double crochet stitches when working in the round

Crocheted in the Round Beanie (RIGHT Handed Version)

Symmetrically designed patterns that are worked in the round are often tricky for Classic crocheters as the offset stitch placement breaks the symmetry of entire piece. However, it is not an issue for Self-compensated style & finished pieces are always straight and symmetrical.

Classic double crochet stitch worked in the round SLANTED seam and rounds Self compensated double crochet stitches - STRAIGHT seams and rounds


On a good note, the offset of the Classic stitch placement would only be noticeable for working in the round. There are no issues for working in rows as slanting is compensated in every row by your work direction & the edges are always straight. Also, Classic DC stitches look straight & beautiful when working in rows. Meanwhile, Self-Compensated stitches are naturally slanted, but it will not slant the edges when working in rows.

Which method works best? I would say the one you are used to, but there is always room for trying something new. It took me just a few minutes to switch my style when I first tried crocheting with YO. I can now easily go from one style to the other depending on my projects without a difference in my speed & tension. Nevertheless, we noticed that it was more complicated to work HO for those who are used to YO originally.

If you are a Classic crocheter, I hope these options will help you with the symmetry & straight seams of your future projects that are worked in the round:


SWITCH STYLES

Even if you can’t get the hang of HO from the first try due to the habits developed through the years or you do not see an instant result, just keep trying! You might need to try playing with your tension or hold your yarn & hook differently. Remember, practice makes perfect!


BACK & FORTH ALTERATION

Much like when you work in rows & the offsetting is compensated by the direction of your work in every row, you can alter patterns that are worked in the round so that one round is worked on right side (RS) & then turn to work the following round on wrong side (WS). You will need to convert every other round of the pattern for working backwards, in the direction from the end towards the beginning of the round. Converting is easy with a diagram reference, but you can convert any written instructions as well.

Classic double crochet stitch worked in the round back and forth

Here is an example of altering RS round to WS round:

  • RS (ORIGINAL): ch 2; 2 dc in same st as join; dc in next 26 sts; [2 dc in next st, dc in next 6 sts] 2 times; 2 dc in next 2 sts; [dc in next 6 sts, 2 dc in next st] 2 times; dc in next 26 sts; [2 dc in next st, dc in next 6 st] 2 times; 2 dc in next st; [2 dc in next st, dc in next 6 sts] 2 times; join = 124 sts
  • WS (CONVERTED): ch 2; [dc in next 6 sts, 2 dc in next st] 2 times; 2 dc in next st; [dc in next 6 st, 2 dc in next st] 2 times; dc in next 26 sts; [2 dc in next st, dc in next 6 sts] 2 times; 2 dc in next 2 sts; [ dc in next 6 sts, 2 dc in next st] 2 times; dc in next 26 sts; 2 dc in same st as join; join = 124 sts & now TURN to RS.

How to reverse crochet instructions for working in the round back and forth


BLOCKING

If your crochet piece turned out asymmetrical, you can always try to rescue your work by wet blocking.

  1. Soak your finished crochet piece in warm water (soaking works better that spray blocking in this case).
  2. Gently squeeze excess moisture out, then roll it in a towel to absorb moisture.
  3. Lay the piece flat on a blocking board or interlocking play mat. Shape & stretch until it looks straight.
  4. Rotate & flip periodically to ensure even drying. Please keep in mind that the drying process might take from 2-3 hours outdoors under open sun in the summer or up to several days indoors, depending on the temperature & humidity level.

Classic double crochet stitch worked in the round SLANTED before blocking
Classic double crochet stitch worked in the round - blocking and shaping

Classic double crochet stitch worked in the round after blocking


FINAL NOTES:

I hope you found our research helpful and some of these tips will work for you. It would be great to hear about your experiences and to know what is your natural way of crocheting.

I would also like to say THANK YOU to our FABULOUS testing team, we really appreciate your willingness to help and your kind assistance throughout this project. I’m very grateful & I couldn’t have done it without you!

Our article about single crochet (SC) stitches is published >> HERE <<

Our article about half double crochet (HDC) stitches is published >> HERE <<

48 comments

  1. Joya says:

    Thank you very much for this article, it is very helpful for me. Do you think this also works with single crochet stitches in Amigurumis for example?

    • IraRott says:

      Hi Susan, thank you for sharing. Yes you can manage to get a straight line with classic crochet as it also depends on everyone’s joining style. However, the symmetry would be an issue in some projects since the stitches are offset and are not slanted. Some of our testers had straight seams with classic dc, but the projects were out of shape in symmetrical patterns. Self-compensated dc fixes both issues when the project is worked in the round (not just a straight seam).

      • Rae says:

        I read an article about getting straight seams instead of slanted when working in the round. They said not to begin the round with the increase sets first, but to do the regular stitch first. Example round 1: 2 dc in each stitch round 2: *dc in first stitch, 2dc in next stitch, * repeat from * to *. That way the round was not off set by one each time since the increase was done second. I’ve found that works for me and I’m a classic crocheter. My seams used to slant but now they don’t.

  2. Linda says:

    Would you need to crochet the entire round piece in HO to get the straight seam or could you just do the first and last stitches in each round?

  3. Susan Costello says:

    Thank you for your tips on blocking. I am crocheting Josephina and have had some questions, but after seeing your advice on wet blocking, that answers my questions. I love this elephant and have enjoyed making for my great granddaughter

  4. Janice says:

    I am a complete novice with crochet, but I have been doing this naturally as it seem a more natural action. Lots to learn still but encouraging to know I got something right, yeah me!

    • IraRott says:

      That’s correct, the entire project. It does not use more yarn, but it may depend on your gauge for each method. My gauge for classic stitches is the same as for self-compensated sts.

    • IraRott says:

      You are welcome. Classic stitches have many benefits as well. For example, the corners would be more straight in granny square patterns made with classic dc as you work in space between the sts (not in the top of every stitch throughout).

  5. Dianna Kuhns says:

    I am an advanced crocheter and am right handed. I have tried this method over and over and it isn’t working for me. My seam is still slanted. I do a lot of crocheting for Babies in NICU units and really would like my seam to be straight. What code I possibly be doing wrong?

    • IraRott says:

      Hi Dianna, just make sure you work every stitch the same (not only the first and the last sts). If that does not help due to your personal style & habits, you can always work in a spiral without joining to make your hats seamless.

    • Rae says:

      Dianna, try doing your increases second in each repeat on each round. In other words 1st round is all increase, 2nd round instead of starting with the increase, do the single stitch first, then the increases. Ex: Round 2: *2 sc in 1st st., sc in next st. Repeat from * Now instead of doing it like that, try it like this Round 2: * sc in first st, 2sc in next st. Repeat from *. That way it should not lean or slant. The increase stitch done first makes it move over one stitch. Hope that helps!

  6. Tamara says:

    This is really fascinating. I’m a crochet teacher and I noticed several of my students using the hook over method but have never gave it much thought and just let them get on with it. I’ve noticed the slant on my seams. I now realize HO is something I’ll have to try for certain projects. Thank you for doing this research.

  7. Jane Osborne says:

    Thank you so much for this info. Like all the commenters above I have struggled with the seam problem and never heard of Hook Over. I am a fairly new crocheter and can use all the help I can get!

  8. Nancy says:

    This is really interesting, and the video tutorial was really helpful (I’m a visual learner) ~ I wonder if I am coordinated enough lol 🙂 Definitely going to try it, as seams bother me ~ I thought it was just something I had to deal with … until now 🙂 Thanks!

  9. Jan says:

    I noticed the slanted seam and never thought about figuring out how to straighten it up. But my seams tended to expand with each row until I discovered stitch markers about a year ago, so a slanted seam was the least of my worries. Besides using stitch markers when I need them, I also gave up on rows and started crocheting “in the round” or in a spiral so there is no seam to worry about.
    It’s good to know there’s an option to straighten up that seam when I need to stitch something like that.
    Jan

  10. Jean Manduca says:

    Hello, I like your sample that shows hat NOT slanting when using the Hook over. I was a little confused that the video show YO/HO/YO BUT the left-handed diagram shows HO/YO/YO, does that mean both ways under self-compensated work?
    Thanks again for sharing this method.

    • IraRott says:

      Hi Jean, all dc stitches begin with yarn over (in classic and self compensated), but the next 3 steps are different. The picture and the video are the same, you can see HO in 1:00 time frame; then YO in 1:05 time frame; and the final YO in 1:07 time frame….just as shown in the picture HO-YO-YO. Hope it helps.

  11. Bottlewater says:

    What is with the “Yarn Over” and “Hook Over” fancy talk? Literally the only difference is the direction of the yarn, going to front or to back.
    There is one catch to these stitches that didn’t come across when I first looked at these pictures, but noticed immediately when I tried–the stitches are crossed at the bottom. It seems to make them more coarse and less fluffy.
    Anyway thank you for teaching this…unfortunately there’s no undoing my intarsia afghan I’ve already started, I’ll just have to do my best with blocking it.

    • IraRott says:

      Oh, it was not my intention to change your crocheting method. I simply explained the differences between crochet styles and how this minor detail (YO or HO) can affect crochet items. Of course, blocking has always been our life saver, I wouldn’t unravel an afghan either.

  12. Judy says:

    this information is amazing!
    so, the Hook over stitches don’t slant at all? I wish I had known this years ago!!
    I’ve made a graphed piece in center sc, with starting each row on the same edge ~ I was hoping the center sc would not slant, but it actually slanted left. I’m in the process today of blocking it, but I’m not hopeful since it is 100% acryllic yarn.
    it is one side of a pillow, so I will be making another piece for the other side and would like to get rid of the slant ~ do you think the hook over process will work with center sc?

  13. Rosalie M McCreary says:

    Thank you for this info! I’m a left hand crocheter and your video was great. I will remember to use the OH method on the next hat I make. This is an interesting concept! Thank you for your hard work and research.

  14. Samantha Lee says:

    Thanks for your advice, I can switch from classic to compensated stitch easily even though it is my first try.

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