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How to crochet in rows without turning

I love crocheting in the round, because I like how the right side of crochet looks. When you crochet in the round (spirals), you don’t need to turn, so you always have the pretty side of the stitches facing you.

Typically, when you crochet in rows, you turn your work at the end of the row, which means that half of your rows have the ‘wrong side’ of the stitch facing you. Particularly because I like to crochet through the back loop (read this post to read about the different loops you can crochet into), I fantasized about ways to make my rows look like my crocheting in the round…

So, here’s the trick: you’ll need to crochet with your non-dominant hand, every other row. Sounds crazy! I know! But, it’s really cool. Let’s walk through it…

(just so you know, I’m right handed, so crocheting with my right hand is my ‘normal’. If you’re left-handed, just switch this around backwards… most southpaws are pretty used to doing that anyway!



To start, I crocheted a chain, and then turned, and crocheted across with my right hand. (You can do the same trick I’m about to show you for the first row, but I just wanted to get us started!).

Okay, so now we’re at the end of the row. Chain one, but don’t turn…

You’re going to hold the hook in your left hand, and work from left to right.

I know! This feels backwards and weird… but give it a try. (Besides, I think it works the other side of your brain and prevents Alzheimer’s… so there’s good reason to do it!) I still don’t have the best technique down (I wrap the yarn with my left hand, still, which is a little funny), but it works!

And look! When you’re at the end of the row, you have only pretty-right-side stitches… just like crocheting in the round!

Look at this pretty zig-zag swatch I made with this technique… ridges (from working in the back loops) on every row. Hooray! For those of you who knit, the same technique (knitting left-handed) allows you to work in rows without turning, saving you from the dreaded purl!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this Tip Tuesday! Let me know if you give this technique a try!

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46 Responses to “How to crochet in rows without turning”

  1. Natalie says:

    Intriguing ;) I’ve heard of knitting backwards, but never crocheting

  2. Vanessa says:

    So it’s crocheting backwards? Neat! I’d like to learn how to knit backwards but I think I need someone IRL to show me.

    • Stacey says:

      @Vanessa: Yeah, someone in real life is best… but there’s always a YouTube video :)

    • Susan says:

      Hi, I found this very interesting and the result very pretty. Thought I’d give it a try. At first it was very frustrating, and I went to the web to see if I could find a video. After some cursing I went back to your site, and really looked at the pictures. Lo and behold, I got it!
      The hardest thing was/is getting the tension right. But being able to do it is fun, and makes me feel like I’m awesome, heheh

  3. Fun – and great point about the benefits of stretching your mind by learning a new way to do your crochet!

  4. MissH says:

    You just blew my mind… I love to think I am ambidextrous but… that looks mind boggling! You know I’m going to have to try it now :p

  5. Stephanie Hill says:

    Just a caveat: this might not work well for all projects. Stitches are different sizes on the front and the back, so if all stitches are facing front, you might end up with work that will tend to curl in on itself, like all stockinette does in knitting. I’ve noticed this problem when working in Tunisian simple stitch.

    • Stacey says:

      Good point! Tunisian certainly does a lot of curling, and I haven’t experienced it as much with working in rows w/o turning… but it will probably happen depending on your tension. Something to look out for!

  6. Marie Anne says:

    Ok, I thought I’d seen or heard it all, but this technique is definitely news to me. I’m going to have to give it a try, but I have a feeling it’s going to be a futile effort. I can’t do much with my left hand.

  7. Eugenia Bacon says:

    OOOH i am hopeless with my left hand but will give it a try.

    What is that WONDERFUL multicoloured yarn??? WOuld love some of that!

  8. Eugenia Bacon says:

    Thanks Stacey It sure suits the wave stitch SO well!

  9. Cathyando says:

    I love this & that yarn is great!! How do you do that zigzag pattern? That would make a neat afghan! Thanks

  10. Cheryl says:

    Wow, thanks for this! I’m trying it now while attempting to add rectangular pockets (ie in rows) to a circular bag (ie in the round). I’m finding I can flip everything fine but struggle to remember which hand is supposed to be pulling where, so of course my tension is all over the place. But I think this is worth learning!

  11. DeeAnna says:

    The Creative Crochet Crew posted a link to your blog and this tutorial on Facebook. We all think you ROCK! Thanks for sharing your awesome ideas and tutorials. So cool!

  12. lyn says:

    you could achieve the same thing by going back to the starting stitch and crocheting across .. thus never working from the wrong side..

    • Stacey says:

      @Lyn- Yes, you could do that, but you’d also have to cut your yarn every row in order to go back to the starting stitch. That’s a lot of ends to manage!

  13. Michele says:

    Love this idea!!!!!

  14. Andi says:

    Won’t it bias badly? My double crochet slants dramatically, but it balances out because each row slants in the opposite direction when I turn my work.

    • Stacey says:

      @Andi- For me, it doesn’t bias, because each row still slants in opposite directions. For example, if you take a look at the last photo on the page (where I’ve crocheted a left-handed-row), you can see the sideways ‘V’s are in the opposite direction from usual… so the end result should be just as stable as working in rows :)

  15. Doug says:

    Check out Carol Ventura’s books, she covers this as well. Also she has a video (the “Flat Tapestry Crochet Tutorial” the last of the videos on http://www.tapestrycrochet.com/). Glad you’re promoting the same technique!

  16. Sally says:

    Couldn’t you sort of do a backwards stitch?

    • Stacey says:

      @Sally- I’m not sure exactly what you mean. Do you have a particular stitch in mind?

    • DeeAnna says:

      @Sally, are you talking about a “reverse single crochet”? I have used this stitch as a border on a washcloth…it’s fun, but looks more substantial (more dense) than the normal single crochet.

  17. lyn says:

    if you have ends.. you could end up with a fringe at both ends.. better than running ends in

  18. BellaRina says:

    Looks great and I’m sure it works fine for single crochet, but I tried double crochet and it’s way too awkward… couldn’t do it. Let me know if you come up with a genius way to conquer that one!

  19. angie says:

    I have too many projects going to stop and try this but could you crochet with the turns but do everyother row using the back loop and the rows between using the front loop? Just wondering! I’ve been working on teaching myself to write with my left hand, so maybe crocheting left handed would help with that also, can’t hurt to try! Thanks!

    • Stacey says:

      @Angie- That’s a very clever idea! You’ll get a similar type of fabric via your technique, but the stitches will look a little different, since you’re still turning for 1/2 of the rows. Great brainstorming!

  20. Kristan Youngboood says:

    I am a dominate LEFTY, however I can only crochet right handed…I am not sure if I can pull this off but I will give it a shot!!

  21. Tout Un Fil says:

    C’est gĂ©nial !! cela ressemble au point envers du tricot mais c’est fabuleusement super !!

  22. Barbara says:

    Wonderful! Total clutz, here, with the left hand; but come from a family of lefties. They would get a kick out of watching me. Years ago, a friend shared a pattern where all you do is crochet from the front, leaving a fringe at the beginning and end of each row. You are right. The front side stitch is so pretty. Your pattern could be done without fringe. Somehow, the stitches are more dense, and less prone to damage. Those afghans knitted so long ago are still beautiful. They went to college, on picnics, camping, and are still new-looking.

  23. I’ve never heard about this technique, but I must try it! Thanks for the tip!

  24. Joxy says:

    Ahhhh, I wondered if there was another nifty way I’d not heard of. Yes I do this sometimes, I’ve taught a few left handers to crochet, and do it by crocheting with my left hand, takes a bit of practice to get the rhythm going. And no it doesn’t work for everything, of course as some patterns depend on working on the wrong side/rightside to create the “stitch pattern”. For straight back and forth rows it works fine, and any curling can be cured with blocking.

  25. Texchanchan says:

    How ingenious! How did you think it up? I want to try it. I can throw, draw, and eat left-handed already, and once taught myself to tat left-handed–pretty awkwardly, but it did work.So this shouldn’t be TOO hard.

  26. [...] How to crochet in rows without turning [...]

  27. [...] used this FreshStitches tutorial to crochet the rows backwards instead of turning the piece – [...]

  28. eskimo*rose says:

    OMG – this is genius – I wish I’d thought of it! the funny ridge caused by turning is the one thing that I don’t like about crochet, consequently I mainly make things in the round … this totally solves it, I’m going to try it right now!!! … although, I’m not massively confident about doing it left handed, I recently tried to teach a lefty friend how to crochet and ended up putting her infront of a YouTube video!!!
    Thanks, Em xx

  29. NightPheonix says:

    Hey I been doing this like forever as I am a lefty but my teachers were a righties so I learned right handed then turned it into left handed my self but for non round I just automatically switched and never realized what I was doing till this post brought ti my attention. Feel’s good to be doing something the Righties will have to learn instead of us lefties.

  30. Kayla says:

    I’m having a problem… I start with the right amount of chains and when I finish row 2 and even 3 I get to the end and count to make sure I have the correct amount of stitches and I come up short by 1, 2, and 3 stitches. will that be a problem when I am finished? I am currently making a hooded scarf and each row looks to be the same length when I spread it out to look at it. I just don’t want to get to far and have to undo the whole scarf. If you could help me that would be great. Thanks a lot. Kayla

    • Stacey says:

      It sounds like you are skipping some stitches in your row. This usually happens at the beginning of the row (when you turn) and it will become a problem when you’re finished… because you’ll keep getting fewer stitches.
      Of course, you can let it be if it isn’t noticeable, but the only way to fix it is to rip it out and re-crochet it :/

  31. Debra says:

    I like the look of this and will love giving it a try. To be honest, to this point my left hand has been only useful as a partner with my right hand to make noise when I clap them together. LOL

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