Calculating How Many Rounds You Need For Your Base

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So, you’ve decided on a pattern, you’ve graphed it out, you’ve picked the colors and you’re ready to start. But just as you’re about to get to it, you realize you’re not 100% sure where to start. I mean, you know how to make a base but you’re not sure how many rounds to do. Although there’s no easy answer, there are a few key concepts that, once you know, will allow you to start any project with confidence.

By now you’ve probably read my posts on how to make a round, square, or oblong base, and you’ve probably ready about how to design a pattern and turn that pattern into an abbreviated graph. If you haven’t, you should check those out first because you’ll have to know those skills before you can begin with this one. This post is based on the assumption that you’ll be making bases using the patterns I provided in my others posts. (But of course, you can still gain useful insight from this article even if you use other patterns.)

For those of you who have read those other posts, you know that once you have your pattern drawn out, you can turn it into an abbreviated graph. The abbreviated graph shows the smaller repeating pattern, that your overall pattern is made of. Once you have your abbreviated graph, you’ll be able to see how many stitches it takes to complete one repetition of the smaller pattern. That’s the starting point for knowing how many rounds you’ll need on your base. Figuring it out from there depends on whether you’re using a round, square or oblong base. But first, let’s start with calculating how many chain stitches you need when not using a base.


No base

If you’re not going to be using a base for your project, the solution is pretty simple. The first thing you have to do is decide how many repetitions you want, which will determine how big your project will be. Once you have that number, you multiply it by how many stitches it takes to complete your pattern. Then you just have to add one. Like this:

(# of pattern repetitions desired) x (# of stitches needed to complete 1 repetition) + 1 = (# of chain stitches)

That’s it! I did say it was pretty simple, right? (In case you were wondering, the + 1 is there so that you can join the foundation change and be able to work in the round.)

Now on to projects that use round bases…


Round Base

For projects using round bases, the first thing to remember is that the stitches in the last round
of your base will act as the chain stitches for your tapestry pattern. As was established in my post about making round bases, each row’s stitch total is a multiple of 7. (Row 1 has a total of 7 stitches, row 2 has 14, row 5 has 35, row 10 has 70…)The fact that the number of stitches in any given round of a base is predetermined by the pattern is  an obstacle when it comes to deciding how big you want your project to be, but we’ll come back to that in a bit.

How Many Chain Stitch You’ll Need For your pattern

Just like for flat graphs, you have to decide how many pattern repetitions you want. Then you multiply that by how many stitches it takes to complete the repetition. You do not add 1 here, though.

(# of pattern repetitions desired) x (# of stitches needed to complete 1 repetition) = (# of chain stitches)

The formula is almost the same, but the concept is very different. As I said earlier, the stitches in the last round of the base that you’re using will act as the chain stitches for the rest of the project. So once you’ve used to formula above and have determined how many chain stitches you’ll need, you have to figure out how many rounds your base will need to be in order to accommodate the amount of chain stitches you want. Here’s where the obstacle comes in. (Boo obstacles!)

How Many Rounds You’ll Need for Your Base

The ideal situation would be for the pattern you’re using to be a multiple of 7 so that it fits perfectly with the base you’re using. But of course, that’s very often not the case. Let me give you a couple examples; one where the numbers add up, and one where the numbers need a little adjusting.

I designed a pattern and that required 19 stitches to complete one repetition. I decided I wanted to make a basket with 7 repetitions. Using my formula, that would be (7 repetitions) x (19 stitches) 133 chain stitches. From that number I had to figure out how many rounds I needed my base to be. If you have good math sense, you probably see the answer already. Since the total stitch number of each round in the base will be a multiple of 7, I had to divide the number of chain stitches by 7 to figure out how many rounds I needed. 133 ÷ 7 = 19. The 19th round of a round base has 133 stitches, so it’s a perfect fit!

I made another basket where the pattern required 25 stitches to complete the rep. I wanted the basket to have 5 reps. (5 repetitions) x (25 stitches) = 125 chain stitches. I divided that by 7 to figure out how many rounds my base would be: 125 ÷ 7 = 17.8. So my base would be 17.8 rounds. Wait.. How do you make 17.8 rounds?! Clearly, you don’t. But there is a way to get around this.

Do you remember long division? Where the answer would sometimes be “such-and-such number, with a remainder of __.” So fun 😐 Not. Fun or not, that’s the key to knowing what to do. For this case, 125 ÷ 7 = 17, with a remainder of 6. Translation: If you make a base with 17 rounds, the last round will have 119 and you’ll be short 6 stitches. So you could do one of two things;

  • On the 17th round of the base, add an extra 6 increases spread evenly throughout the round so that you have a total of 125 stitches, (17 rounds) x 7 = 119 stitches.    119 + (6 extra increases) = 225 total stitches
  • or you can do 18 rounds, but only do 6 increases in the 18th round instead of the typical 7 increases so that you round’s stitch total will be 125. (18 rows) x 7 = 126 stitches.    126 – (1 increase) = 125 total stitches.

The underlying idea is that either way, if the numbers don’t add up like they did in the first example, you’ll have to change the number of increases in the last round of your base. In this example, when it came to how many rounds I wanted to do, the choice was clear: I’d rather do 18 rounds and take out 1 increase, because doing 17 rows and adding 6 extra increases would take much more away from the roundness of the base. To simplify (if that’s what you want to call it):

For round bases:

Step 1: (# of pattern repetitions desired) x (# of stitches needed to complete 1 repetition) = (# of chain stitches)

Step 2: (# of rounds needed in base) = (# of chain stitches) ÷ 7

 

Step 3: Adjust number of rounds/increases accordingly.


Square Base

Rounds in square bases increase by like this: [(round number x 8) – 4]. That means round 1 will be [(1 8) – 4], which equals 4 total stitches in round 1.   Round 3 will be [(3 8) – 4] = 20 sts in round 3.   Row 6 is [(6 8) – 4] = 44. And so on. By tweaking this formula a little, you get another formula that’ll help you figure out how many rounds you need. Here’s the formula:

(# of rounds needed) = (# of chain stitches + 4) ÷ 8

If you’re not a math person and you’re wondering how I got this equation, I will gladly explain it. But otherwise, just trust me.. it works! For example, if I needed 36 chain stitches, this is how it would work out: (# of rounds needed) = (36 + 4) ÷ 8 = 5, which means I would need 5 rows. Summing it up:

For square bases:

Step 1: (# of pattern repetitions desired) x (# of stitches needed to complete 1 repetition) = (# of chain stitches)

Step 2: (# of rounds needed in base) = (# of chain stitches + 4) ÷ 8

Step 3: Adjust number of rounds/increases accordingly.

Keep in mind that if you have to adjust the increases in the last round of your base, it’ll affect the shape of the base much more than it would in a round base. My suggestion would be to turn up your work, complete one plain round in which you add any necessary increases, and then begin the pattern on the next round.


Oblong Base

When making a circle or a square base, the only thing you really have control over is how many rounds it has. When making oblong bases, however, you can also choose how long or short you want it to be by increasing or decreasing the length of its foundation chain. This is generally a good thing, but unfortunately it makes it much more difficult to find out how many rounds you’ll need.

For example, imagine you made an oblong base with a foundation chain of 13 and another with a foundation chain of 23. For both bases you complete 10 rounds. On the tenth round, the one with the foundation chain of 13 will have 80  stitches in the last round. The one with a foundation chain of 23 will have 100 stitches in the last round. So you can see that the number of stitches you end with depends not only on how many rounds you do, but also on how many stitches are in the foundation chain of the base.

Okay, I’m going to get to the formula now. It’s going to get a bit complicated, but I encourage you to stick with me! Knowing it will save you a lot of time. Here’s the formula:

{(# of chain stitches) – [(# stitches in foundation chain – 3) x 2]}  ÷ 6  =  # of rounds needed

Plug the formula into the steps that you use for any base:

For oblong bases:

Step 1: (# of pattern repetitions desired) x (# of stitches needed to complete 1 repetition) = (# of chain stitches)

Step 2: (# of rounds needed) = {(# of chain stitches – [(#stitches in foundation chain – 3) x 2]} ÷ 6

Step 3: Adjust number of rounds/increases accordingly.

Now, you can just stop here and use that formula if you don’t feel like getting into the specifics, or you can stick around for the explanation.

To find this formula, I started with what I already knew. What I knew was this:

  1. The pattern calls for adding an extra three (3) chains to the foundation chain in order to allow for easier turning at each end of the base. If you made a foundation chain of 13, three of the stitches on the foundation chain (1 chain one one side, two on the other side) would be used to create the ends, and the remaining 10 stitches would be used to form the sides of the base. That’s where the (# stitches in foundation chain – 3) comes from.
  2. There are two sides on the base, so you multiply the part above by two. Thus, [(# stitches in foundation chain – 3) x 2].
  3. While the sides never get longer, the ends increase in size by a multiple of 6. That’s where the ( ÷ 6) comes from.

Putting all these bits of information led me to the formula you see above. Okay, so that’s not the full explanation but I trust it’ll suffice 😉

I know at first glance this post may have seemed daunting, but I hope that after reading it you understand how to determine how many rounds you should do. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to clear up any confusion. Happy crocheting, everyone!

Rebecca Medina

Rebecca Medina

Hello there, I'm Rebecca! I love creating beautiful things from nothing, which is why I love crocheting. I especially love the tapestry method.. but as I've been picking it up, I've noticed that it's completely underrated! I made this site to spread the word about the greatness of tapestry crochet. I hope that my passion becomes yours and that you create something beautiful today 🙂
Rebecca Medina

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2 thoughts on “Calculating How Many Rounds You Need For Your Base

    • Rebecca Medina says:

      Hi Nafisa! I’m so glad you found it to be helpful. I’I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how easy tapestry crochet is. Best of luck to you! And remember, if you have any questions along the way, I’m here to help 🙂

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