5 Ways to Fix the Lean: Why Crochet Stitches Lean and How to Correct It

Have you ever found yourself frustrated because your crochet stitches keep leaning to one side or another? If so, this blog post is for you! 

Five ways to fix leaning crochet stitches:

  1. Fix too tight/loose tension
  2. Fix inconsistent tension
  3. Fix carrying yarn tension
  4. Fix hook placement
  5. Fix number (and placement) of increases/decreases

Crochet stitches lean for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is because the stitch was worked too tightly or loosely, sometimes it is because there are not enough increases in the previous row, and other times it’s just a matter of hook placement. In this post, I will describe five ways to fix leaning crochet stitches so that your rows look neater and more even!

What is the lean, and why does it happen?

The lean is when your crochet stitches curve or tilt towards one side. Your whole project can also lean toward one side or the other if either your stitches all consistently lean one way, or if you have an entire edge that is pulled toward one side (think trapezoid!).

There are several reasons you might find yourself with leaning crochet stitches, so let’s go over them before sharing five ways to fix it!

Lean due to too tight or too loose tension

It could be possible that you have been working with either too tight or too loose tension.

To check this, take a look at how even your stitch placement is along each row. If the stitches are all very close together, then your tension is probably too tight. If the spaces between them are wide, then you may be working with looser stitches than intended.

Lean due to tension changes within a row

The leaning stitches may be caused by variable tension within a single row. Typically we default to a comfortable tension, so this is not super likely, but it is worth mentioning.

Lean due to carrying yarn too tightly across the back

When crocheting colorwork or striped patterns, there may be times where you need to carry the unused color behind our fabric (rather than cutting and weaving in ends repeatedly). If you carry that back yarn too tightly, it will cause pulling in the material and result in crochet stitches that lean.

Lean due to incorrect stitch placement

If you insert your hook into the wrong spot, your crochet stitches will lean. If you place them in the wrong loop or between posts, the stitches will be angle incorrectly. Also, if you place a stitch in the wrong spot to start or end a row, the stitches (and maybe the whole project) will end up leaning and slanted.

Lean due to skipped or missed increases

Finally, sometimes leaning can be caused by missing an increase on one side while working two increases on another, forming a lopsided row with more single crochets on one side than the other.

Five ways to fix leaning crochet stitches

Now that we’ve discussed some common causes for leaning crochet stitches, let’s get into how to fix each one.

Fix too tight or too loose of tension 

The best way to change consistently off tension is to change your hook size. If your tension is too tight, go up one or two hook sizes. If it’s the opposite and you’re working with very loose stitches, then go down one or two sizes until you find what feels/looks right for your project.

You can also try to fix your tension by changing how tight/loose you are holding your hook and yarn, but this is VERY hard to maintain consistency throughout your project. We always default back to our comfortable tension after a while, so if you try this, you are likely to have a more wonky, leaning project in the end. You really are better off changing up the hook size.

Fix inconsistent tension

Typically tension inconsistencies are an issue when learning how to crochet. After you get comfortable crocheting, you start to hold your hook and yarn the same way each time, and your tension stabilizes.

To fix inconsistencies in tension, really, the only option is practice! I highly recommend practicing chaining for a while to get comfortable holding your hook and yarn. I created a whole bunch of complete projects with just chain stitches for this exact purpose! Check them out here! 

Fix how you are holding your carried yarn

The best option for fixing the tension of the yarn you are carrying behind is to start with holding it loosely. After you work a row, you can pull that yarn gently to make it the perfect tension. Because this yarn is just worked “over” and not “into” the stitches, you can easily pull it tighter without affecting the stitches. You cannot easily go back and loosen it!

Fix hook placement

Improper hook placement is another problem that beginner crocheters may have. There are a lot of loops and spaces where the crochet hook can go in your fabric, and misplacing it will result in leaning stitches. When crocheting normally (not tapestry crochet), your hook should be placed under both the “front” and “back” loops which form a little V on top of each stitch.

Check out my post “Where do I Put my Hook?” for where exactly to insert your crochet hook based on the stitch you are using! 

The second option for incorrect hook placement is at the beginning or end of each row. It is SUPER easy to put the hook into the wrong spot of the turning chair or skip the first or last stitch. Check out my post on crochet rows to fix that problem!

Fix missed or double increases/decreases

The best way to fix the wrong number of stitches is to count so that each row has the correct number of stitches worked.

The other thing that can happen with this is addressed above. If you are counting but you added an extra stitch at the beginning of the row, you’ll end up stopping one stitch too early. This will leave you with the correct number of stitches, but they will be offset. To correct this, see the tip above.

The benefit of having stitches that don’t lean

Having straight stitches will result in a project that has a nice, even, flat appearance. Your projects will be much more balanced, and you won’t need to worry about fixing them after the project is finished.

Crocheting straight stitches will make the edges and corners lay flat instead of having a wavy edge or curling corners.

Straight crochet stitches also make it easier to add edging and stitch together squares, blocks, or other pieces of a project. For example, putting the front and back pieces of a shirt/sweater together with side seams is a lot easier if all the stitches are straight! If you are joining with leaning stitches, you’ll end up with an unsightly seam along the side of your project!

In general, your project will look better and more professional since it won’t be a wonky, leaning mess!

The importance of blocking your finished work

Blocking your work is a great way to fix leaning stitches if you have already completed the project. It is a time-consuming process, but it is worth it to make your project look its best.

Blocking involves wetting and pinning or laying out your finished piece so that the stitches stretch into place. Blocking will help even out leaning stitches as well as straightening curling edges!

In the end, fixing leaning crochet stitches can be a daunting task, but once you get the hang of it, you will find that your finished work looks so much better!

I hope this list of five ways to fix leaning crochet stitches has been helpful, and I’d love to hear your feedback! Do you have any other tips? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this article or any others, please share it with friends. Together we can make the world more crafty (and less frustrated) one stitch at a time!

Now it is time for YOU to get Crafty with Ashy!

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Hi! I’m Ashy. I am a Christian, wife, mom, and physical therapist. I am also an amateur painter, baker, crocheter, and miscellaneous crafter. I hope to be able to share some of my enthusiasm for creating with you and to inspire YOU to begin, continue, or grow YOUR creative outlet!

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