Does the slip stitch to join count as a stitch in the round?

When we work in joined (or closed) rounds, we always slip stitch to the first stitch of the round to close. This is regardless of whether the round is turned or not. And you might be wondering… Does the slip stitch that closes the round count as a stitch?

The short answer is: No. The slip stitch that closes the round is considered a joining technique, not a stitch.

If the slip stitch did count as a stitch, our work would increase in stitch count in each round by 1 and this is not what we want to happen. Increasing stitch count is purposeful and written into a pattern, not by using join as a place to put a stitch.

This is technical knowledge of crochet and is typically not included in patterns because it’s expected that a crocheter knows this when following a pattern working in joined rounds.

This image is a header image for this blog post. It reads: "Does the slip stitch count in joined rounds?"

This short answer seems simple, right? “It doesn’t count, easy!”

But the reality is that knowing your stitch placement when working in joined rounds is important.

Slip stitches can look like stitches and this throws a lot of crocheters off.

It’s not just beginners to the technique, either! A lot of experienced crocheters are sort of “winging it” and, as long as their stitch count is right, they keep going (not faulting them here at all, by the way).

If you’ve ever worked in the round and wondered: “Uh, is this the last stitch? Is that the slip stitch? My stitch count is right if I end here but it’s not right if I end there… But if I don’t end there, am I missing a stitch? Did I mess up somewhere else?”

Then this tutorial is for you.

Keep this in mind when asking if the slip stitch to close counts as a stitch:

Before we start getting into technicalities and the tutorial, there’s one thing I want you to keep in mind.

When we slip stitch to close (or join) a round, we are using this stitch as a technique, not as a stitch. This technique allows us to make a circle (or a round) without having to do anything fancy like pulling an entire skein of yarn through a stitch.

To join or close rounds, we use a slip stitch. Slip stitches are short, small, fast and their size can be manipulated. Additionally, the slip stitch allows us to join the round without having to remove our hook, pull a bunch of yarn through (and by a bunch, I mean the whole skein), thread a tapestry needle, sew it together, etc.

While there are modern ways of closing rounds using “invisible” slip stitches or other methods, we’re going to talk about the traditional technique of using our standard slip stitch in this article.

Remember this: Because we are using it as a technique and not a stitch, it does not count as a stitch and we will not work into it.

Why do we use slip stitches in joined (or closed) rounds?

First things first, we need to talk about the technique of joined (or closed) rounds.

Closed or joined rounds are most typically worked in turned rounds. Rounds that are not turned can also be worked in joined rounds but it’s not quite as common as turned rounds.

When working in joined rounds that are turned, we must join the first and last stitch together to “close” the round. If we don’t do this and we instead just chain, turn and start working the next row, the work will begin to become flat.

This image shows what would happen if we did not slip stitch to join the round.

You can see in the image above, I’ve worked several closed and turned rounds of single crochet. Then I deliberately did not join the rounds. I simply chained 1, turned the work and placed 1 single crochet for 3 rows. You can see how this is now going outward and creating a V shape instead of continuing to be a circle.

This is why rounds, especially turned rounds, must be joined.

If we were working in rounds that are not turned but are joined and for whatever reason did not join the round with a slip stitch but just kept going… this would turn into a spiral round and would have a bump where we skipped closing the round and just worked into the first stitch.

How do we use a slip stitch to join a round?

Using a slip stitch to join a round is fairly straightforward. Once you’ve placed your last stitch of the round, you’ll identify the very first stitch you placed in the round.

Then, you will insert your hook into this stitch just like you would as if you were going to work a “normal” stitch into it.

In the image below, I’m at the end of a round and have placed my last stitch. I now need to slip stitch into the first stitch of the round to close it. A black arrow goes through the first stitch of the round to indicate that I need to insert my hook into this stitch.

This image has a black arrow through the first stitch of the round to indicate what stitch we slip stitch into to close the round.

Once my hook is inserted, I will yarn over and pull a loop through the stitch. I will have 2 loops on hook. Then, I will pull the loop I just created (the loop closest to the tip of the hook) through the second loop to create a slip stitch.

This slip stitch is what “closes” or joins the round together. This slip stitch almost always does not count as a stitch.

Note: Some patterns may count it for a specific reason but should be noted in the pattern. If it is NOT noted, you can safely assume the slip stitch does NOT count as a stitch.

Should I keep my closing slip stitch loose or pull it tight?

Whether or not you leave your slip stitch “loose” (as in a normal sized “stitch”) or you pull it tight is a matter of personal preference.

Once you’re familiar with the technique of using slip stitches to join rounds and know how to make sure your stitch placement is correct, you can play around with leaving them loose or pulling them tight and see which you like better.

This image shows slip stitches that join a round. One is pulled tight and one is left loose so you can see the difference.

The image above has two pictures:

The top picture shows a slip stitch that has been pulled tight and a white arrow points to it. This is achieved by pulling backward on the hook once the slip stitch is complete. If you’re right handed, pull the hook to the right. If you’re left handed, pull the hook to the left. This will tighten the slip stitch.

The bottom picture shows a slip stitch the size it would be normally (not pulled tight) and a white arrow points to it.

I personally prefer to pull my slip stitches tight but again, this is a personal preference. I prefer them because for me, it’s easier to identify the slip stitch if it’s tighter and I understand this very tight stitch is NOT a stitch, therefore I don’t use it. Additionally, I think the seam it makes is cleaner.

Let’s take a look at a loose slip stitch versus a slip stitch pulled tight from the top down.

To show you the difference, I’ve made a small tube of 20 single crochet worked in joined and turned rounds. These images will show you the work from the top down, so we’ll be looking at the top of the stitches.

This image is a top down view so we can look at the slip stitch join and identify whether or not it counts.

First, let’s look at a “loose” slip stitch that is its normal size and is not pulled tight.

We know from the paragraph above that there are 20 stitches in the round. If we begin with the black dot the black arrow is pointing to and count clockwise, we will count 20 black dots. These dots indicate each single crochet.

A red arrow points to what looks like the next stitch. It is NOT a stitch, though. It’s the slip stitch that closed the round and is kept a “normal” size (not pulled tight).

At first glance, it’s very easy to assume this is a stitch and work into it which can throw either your stitch count off or your stitch placement off.

This image is a top down view so we can look at the slip stitch join and identify whether or not it counts.

Now, let’s look at a slip stitch that has been pulled tight.

We still know from the paragraph above that there are 20 stitches in the round. If we begin with the black dot the black arrow is pointing to and count clockwise, we will count 20 black dots. These dots indicate each single crochet.

A red arrow points to the slip stitch that has been pulled tight. It may still look like the next stitch, but it isn’t. This is the slip stitch that joined the round.

You can see when the slip stitch is pulled tight, it’s much smaller and is not as obvious. This can help you identify the slip stitch for the next round to ensure you do not work into it.

The stitch is so tight, in fact, that you’d really struggle to get your hook into it.

You could use that as an indication that it doesn’t count as a stitch, too: “Yep, that is way too tight. That’s definitely the slip stitch which is NOT a stitch!”

How to identify slip stitches in closed and turned rounds

Now that we’ve talked about why we use a slip stitch to close, how to slip stitch to close and the difference between slip stitches that are loose and those that are pulled tight, let’s go through how to actually identify the stitch.

We will talk about stitch anatomy here. This is one of the things that is least talked about in terms of how to crochet. We’re often taught how to do something but not why we are doing it or what it means. I think knowing why we do something helps us understand how to do it even better.

How to know where to place your first stitch of the round without stitch markers and with a slip stitch that was pulled tight:


I’m starting with a slip stitch that has been pulled tight because I believe it’s easier to identify than a “loose” one. I’ll show you what it looks like with a loose slip stitch, too, and you’ll really be able to see what the difference is and why pulling it tight can help you better identify the slip stitch.

Let’s start at the beginning of a round. What I mean by “beginning” is that I’ve closed a round (and pulled my slip stitch tight) and I am prepared to work the next round but I have not chained 1, turned or placed any stitches.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

The image above has the same picture twice so you can see it both with and without highlights.

On the bottom, the slip stitch is highlighted red. This is to indicate that this IS my slip stitch and that is not a stitch.

In these images, you can see the yarn pulled through the first stitch, which is what created the slip stitch.

Now, let’s start the round. For a round with only single crochet stitches, we will chain 1 and turn.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

In the image above, I have chained 1 and a white arrow points to it. A red arrow points to the slip stitch that closed the round.

I have NOT turned my work yet. In practice, I recommend taking a moment at this stage and really looking at what’s going on. How does it look before you turn? What does the slip stitch look like? What does the chain 1 look like?

Then, when we turn our work, we can see what happens to the chain 1 and slip stitch.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

The image above has the same picture twice so you can see it both with and without highlights.

Now that we’ve turned, we’re looking at the back of the chain 1 and the slip stitch.

Take a second to really look at your work and see what happened when we turned. Turn it back and forth and try to identify what is the slip stitch and what is the chain 1.

In the bottom picture of the image above, I’ve highlighted the slip stitch red. The chain 1 has been highlighted yellow.

Because we ended the round by slip stitching to close AND we know that this slip stitch does NOT count as a stitch, we will know that we will not work into it – whether or not it looks like a stitch.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

Now that we have chained 1, turned and identified the slip stitch, let’s go ahead and place our first stitch of the round.

In the image above, a black arrow points downward to the first stitch of the round. This is where we will place our first single crochet. The slip stitch is still highlighted red so we know to ignore it.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

The image above has the same picture twice so you can see it both with and without highlights.

Now that we have placed our first single crochet of the round, let’s look at the anatomy of what we’ve created so far. Identifying the anatomy of the slip stitch, chain 1 and first single crochet now can help us understand it when we reach the end of the round.

In the bottom picture, the slip stitch is still highlighted red. You can see how the slip stitch goes into what will be the last stitch of the round (where we will place a stitch). The chain 1 is highlighted yellow.

If you look at the top image, it looks a lot like a jumbled mess that doesn’t make any sense. You know you chained 1, turned and placed 1 single crochet but you may not really be sure of what that even is when complete.

It may even just look like a big knot where you shrug your shoulders, hope for the best and just keep going. And that’s okay, of course.

But knowing that this jumbled mess is something and what the specific parts of it are will help you understand how the technique of working in closed and turned rounds works.

How to know where to place your first stitch of the round without stitch markers and with a slip stitch that is “loose”:


Let’s start at the beginning of a round. What I mean by “beginning” is that I’ve closed a round (and left my slip stitch “loose”) and I am prepared to work the next round. I have chained 1 but I have not turned or placed any stitches.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

In the image above, a white arrow points to my chain 1. A red arrow points to my slip stitch that closed the round, which I have kept loose. You can see in this picture just how much this slip stitch looks like a stitch compared to a slip stitch that is pulled tight.

I have NOT turned my work yet. In practice, I recommend taking a moment at this stage and really looking at what’s going on. How does it look before you turn? What does the slip stitch look like? What does the chain 1 look like?

Then, when we turn our work, we can see what happens to the chain 1 and slip stitch.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

Now that we have chained 1, turned and identified the slip stitch, let’s go ahead and place our first stitch of the round.

Because we ended the round by slip stitching to close AND we know that this slip stitch does NOT count as a stitch, we will know that we will not work into it – whether or not it looks like a stitch.

In the image above, a black arrow points downward to the first stitch of the round. This is where we will place our first single crochet. The slip stitch is still highlighted red so we know to ignore it.

Look at how much bigger this slip stitch is when turned compared to the slip stitch that was pulled tight. This definitely looks more like a stitch we would need to work into and is very easy to accidentally use.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

The image above has the same picture twice so you can see it both with and without highlights.

Now that we have placed our first single crochet of the round, let’s look at the anatomy of what we’ve created so far.

In the bottom picture, the slip stitch is still highlighted red. You can see how the slip stitch goes into what will be the last stitch of the round (where we will place a stitch). The chain 1 is highlighted yellow.

You can see in this image just how much bigger a looser slip stitch is. It almost looks like we skipped a stitch here, but we didn’t.

It can be incredibly difficult to identify this, especially when you don’t know why you’re doing what you’re doing.

There’s nothing technically wrong with this and if you’d prefer to leave your slip stitches loose, that’s totally okay! Just remember to keep an eye on that slip stitch and don’t mistake it for a stitch that counts.

Identifying the last stitch in joined and closed rounds so you don’t accidentally use the slip stitch


Now that we know how to make sure we do not work into the slip stitch at the start of the round and have some understanding of the anatomy, we can move on to learning where the last stitch of the round is.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

Let’s take a look at the end of this round. Consider the anatomy that we reviewed after we chained 1 and turned.

The rightmost black dot in the image is most obviously a stitch.

What about the black dot on the left? Does it look like a stitch to you?

What about where the white arrow is pointing with the question mark? Is that a stitch or something else?

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

In the image above, I’ve placed a single crochet in the stitch that had the right most black dot over it.

The leftmost black dot was a stitch! It is marked again in this image with a black dot. This means we will put a stitch here.

This stitch was the first stitch of the previous round. This is the stitch we slip stitched into to close. Because we have turned our work, our last stitch of this round is going into the first stitch of the previous round.

This stitch was used to join the round with a slip stitch in the previous round. It has not been worked into for this current round.

The white arrow with the question mark in the previous image is not a stitch and is indicated by a red X and exclamation point. This is the chain 1 that built height for this current round. We will not place a stitch into this chain 1.

Let’s take a look at this with highlights to indicate the stitch anatomy:

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

In the image above, I’m pulling the chain 1 up with a tapestry needle so you can see that it’s a chain 1 and not a stitch. It is also highlighted yellow.

The red highlight indicates the slip stitch that closed the round and a black dot indicates the last stitch of the round.

Notice that the chain 1 comes out of the top of the last stitch. Think about how we ended the previous round: We slip stitched into the first stitch, chained 1 and turned. This slip stitch and chain 1 comes out of the last stitch of our current round because we slip stitched into the first stitch of our previous round to close. That’s how this technique works.

I think this is likely what is most confusing when wondering if this is truly the last stitch or not. It looks like it has already been worked because a loop of yarn is coming out of it.

But it has not been worked. It is, truly, the last stitch of the round and where we will place our last single crochet.

Once the last stitch is placed, we will slip stitch into the very first stitch we placed in this round to close. You can see my slip stitch to close in the image below.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

Now that we have closed the round, let’s consider what everything looks like.

We know where the first stitch of the round (white arrow on the left) is because we just slip stitched into it.

We know where the last stitch of the round (white arrow on the right) is because we just placed it prior to creating a slip stitch.

Between these two stitches is the slip stitch (red arrow points to it). At this stage, the slip stitch will always be between the first and last stitch of the round.

How to identify slip stitches with stitch markers (regardless of if the slip stitch is pulled tight or not):


Perhaps the easiest way to make sure you start and end a closed round properly is to use stitch markers. Stitch makers help us identify placement and, while you’re learning this technique and working to understand where everything is and why it looks the way it does, stitch markers can help you do that.

Let’s start a new round. We will chain 1, turn and place 1 single crochet into the first stitch (make sure it isn’t the slip stitch!).

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

In the image above, you can see I have placed an orange stitch marker into the first stitch of the round. Put the stitch marker under the two loops that are the top of the stitch, NOT into the chain 1. The chain 1 does not count as a stitch either.

Now I will continue to place 1 single crochet in each stitch around until I have placed my last single crochet.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

In the image above, I have placed a yellow stitch marker in the last stitch of the round. I can now slip stitch to the first stitch of the round (orange stitch marker) to close. You can see my slip stitch to close in the image below.

Note: It’s best if you use stitch markers on your very first round, of course. But, with the walk through of how to identify the slip stitch without the stitch markers, you should be able to follow along here despite the fact that I’m working on a later round.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

Now that we have closed our round, let’s take a look at what’s going on.

We know without a doubt where our first stitch is (orange stitch marker) and where our last stitch is (yellow stitch marker).

So, what is the stitch a red arrow points to in the image above? It’s the slip stitch that closed the round! This slip stitch is the only thing between the two stitch markers, so we know without a doubt that it IS the slip stitch.

Remember: We are using the slip stitch as a technique, not as a stitch. It is a technique in which we join two stitches together to form a circle (or round). It does not count as a stitch which means we will NOT work into it.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

In the image above, there are two images to show the difference between a slip stitch that is loose and a slip stitch that has been pulled tight.

In the top image, the slip stitch is loose and looks much more like a stitch. Of course, we know that it is the slip stitch and we will not work into it because of our stitch markers.

In the bottom image, the slip stitch has been pulled tight and is much smaller. It looks less like a stitch and more like a join. We still know for sure that this is the slip stitch and to not work into it because of the stitch markers.

This tighter slip stitch would be very difficult to work into which is a great way for you to think: “Stop! That’s not a stitch!”

Now, let’s chain 1 and turn to start our next round.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

In the image above, I have chained 1 and turned. We know for sure where our first stitch of the round will go because it is marked with the yellow stitch marker.

Our first stitch of the round will go into the last stitch of the previous round because we turned our work.

Let’s look at this with highlights just like we did without stitch markers:

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

The slip stitch that closed the round has been highlighted red, just like before.

The chain 1 has been highlighted yellow, just like before.

While our stitch markers will help us know where the stitches are, they don’t really teach us anything. They’re absolutely a great way to keep track of what you’re doing and you should use them.

But understanding what everything is doing, where everything is and being able to objectively look at your work and think “this is the slip stitch” and “this is the chain 1” will help everything make more sense.

Stitch markers can help us do this, but they don’t actually teach us why and how.

Now that we know the anatomy, we can go ahead and place our first stitch of the round.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

We knew exactly where to place our first stitch of the round because of our stitch marker but I recommend looking at everything and trying to understand why this is the first stitch, not just that it is.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

We want to make sure we know without a doubt that this is the first stitch of the round, so we will move the stitch marker from the stitch we just worked into and put it in the stitch we just made.

Now we can continue to place 1 single crochet in each stitch around until we reach the end.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

In the image above, we are coming up to the end of the round. I have 3 stitches left to work. I know this without a doubt because the orange stitch marker is in the last stitch of the round.

Notice that the last stitch of the round does have “something” coming out of it. This may make it seem like it has already had a stitch placed in it, but that is not the case.

This stitch was used to join the round with a slip stitch in the previous round. It has not been worked into for this current round.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

In the image above, I have placed my last stitch of the round in the last stitch. I know this because of the orange stitch marker.

A red arrow points down to the area between the yellow stitch marker and the orange stitch marker. This is the slip stitch that joined the round and the chain 1. Neither of these count as a stitch.

We can now move the orange stitch marker into the top of the last stitch of the round (the stitch we just worked) and slip stitch to the first stitch of the round (yellow stitch marker) to close.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

The image above shows my little tube that has been worked in the round. In each round there are 20 single crochet.

You can see the seam going up the middle of the tube. These are all the slip stitches that join the round and chain 1’s to build height to start the next round. None of the slip stitches or chain 1’s have been worked into.

How to identify slip stitches in closed rounds that are NOT turned

Now that we’ve gone over how to identify slip stitches in closed rounds that are turned, you’re probably wondering if rounds that are NOT turned look the same.

Unfortunately, they don’t. Fortunately, we can use the same information to identify where the slip stitch is so we can be sure we do not work into it.

You’ll find most often that patterns worked in rounds and are not turned will be worked in spiral rounds. This means that you would not slip stitch to join. You’d instead just keep crocheting around and around.

However, there are definitely reasons designers will use rounds that are not turned but are still joined. So it’s important for us to know what to look for.

How to identify slip stitches in rounds that aren’t turned:


The nice thing about rounds that are not turned is it’s a lot easier to identify the first stitch of the round.

Because the round isn’t turned, the slip stitch will always be “behind” where we’re working until we reach the end of the round.

This means that we don’t have to play a guessing game to figure out where the first stitch of the round goes.

What you DO have to consider is whether or not the pattern you’re following counts the turning chains (that build height) as a stitch or not.

I’m using single crochet so the chain 1 does NOT count. Typically in my patterns, I do not count the chains as stitches so you will use the very first stitch.

If the pattern your following counts the chains as stitches (chain 3 counts as a double crochet, for example), you would use the next stitch instead.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

In the image above, I have worked several joined rounds that have not been turned. I am at the beginning of a new round. I have slip stitched to close the previous round and chained 1 to begin a new round.

A red arrow points to the slip stitch. We’ll identify this clearly as we come to the end of the round, but keep in mind where it is in this image. Notice that it is “behind” our chain 1. If you’re right handed, this means it is to the right of your chain 1. If you’re left handed, this means it’s to the left of your chain 1.

A black arrow points downward to the stitch I slip stitched into to close. This is still the first stitch even though I slip stitched into it to join the rounds together.

Remember: We are using the slip stitch as a technique, not as a stitch. It is a technique in which we join two stitches together to form a circle (or round). It does not count as a stitch.

Let’s place our first single crochet of the round in the very first stitch (black arrow pointing downward in the image above). This is the same stitch that was slip stitched into to close.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

The image above has the same picture twice so you can see it both with and without highlights.

I have placed my first single crochet of the round.

In the bottom image, the slip stitch to close is highlighted red. The chain 1 is highlighted yellow. Neither of these are stitches. They are techniques. We will NOT work into them.

A black dot indicates what is actually the last stitch of the round.

Now we can continue placing 1 single crochet in each stitch around until we reach the end.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

The image above has the same picture twice so you can see it both with and without highlights.

I am at the end of the round and have 1 stitch left to place.

A black arrow points downward to the last stitch of the round.

The slip stitch that closed the previous round is highlighted red. The chain 1 that started this round is highlighted yellow.

In rounds that are not turned, you can see why it’s incredibly easy to mistake the slip stitch for a stitch. It’s facing the same way as the other stitches and certainly looks like a stitch.

If you leave your slip stitches loose, they’ll look even more like a stitch to work into. If you pull them tight, they’ll look less like a stitch to work into (like in the image above) but may still seem like a stitch.

So let’s look at this in a different way:

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

The image above has the same picture twice so you can see it both with and without highlights.

Slip stitches do not have posts. The “post” of the stitch is what creates it’s height. Single crochet posts, when looked at from the front (or “right side”), are V shaped.

The post of the first single crochet of this round is highlighted with a yellow V toward the left.

The post of the last single crochet of the previous round is highlighted with a yellow V toward the right. Notice how there is a “top” to this post. We can tell this is a stitch because the post and the top of the stitch go together.

In between these yellow V’s, there’s a red circle. Notice there’s not a post here. This is because slip stitches don’t have posts. They relate more to a chain than they do a single crochet.

In fact, that’s all a slip stitch is: it’s basically a chain. A slip stitch is worked exactly like a chain except it’s worked into a stitch and not on its own. This is what makes it a slip stitch and not a chain.

We can identify the slip stitch by looking for a post (yellow Vs). If there is no V shaped post, it’s a slip stitch.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

In the image above, the slip stitch is highlighted red. We can clearly see now that there is no V shaped post below it.

The chain 1 is highlighted yellow. It is also not a stitch. We will ignore it completely.

A black arrow points downward to the top of the first single crochet we placed in this round. This is the stitch we will slip stitch into to close the round. You can see my slip stitch that closed the round in the image below.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

Once again, you can see how easy it would be to accidentally use that slip stitch as a stitch, especially if it isn’t pulled tight.

What is interesting about working in joined rounds that are not turned, though, is you can identify the slip stitches that closed the previous rounds much easier. They look like diagonal lines hanging out in our work. I’ve highlighted them red in the image above.

Additionally, the seam will also be diagonal. The nature of how stitches lean causes this. When we always work in the same direction, the stitches will all lean the same way and the seam will have a diagonal lean to it.

How to identify slip stitches in rounds that aren’t turned with stitch markers:


Perhaps the easiest way to make sure you start and end a closed round properly is to use stitch markers. Stitch makers help us identify placement and, while you’re learning this technique and working to understand where everything is and why it looks the way it does, stitch markers can help you do that.

Note: It’s best if you use stitch markers on your very first round, of course. But, with the walk through of how to identify the slip stitch without the stitch markers, you should be able to follow along here despite the fact that I’m working on a later round.

This time, we’ll start by placing a stitch marker in the last stitch of the round. If you’re starting your very first round, you can put a stitch marker in the first stitch to help you identify it but it isn’t necessary.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

In the image above, you can see my last stitch of the round. I have placed a yellow stitch marker into this stitch.

Also, take a look at the picture and see if you can identify the seam. Can you see the slip stitches that closed the previous rounds? Can you see how they don’t have posts (V shapes) under them.

Now that we have our last stitch of the round marked, let’s go ahead and slip stitch into the first stitch of the round to close it.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

In this image, I’ve closed the round with a slip stitch.

To start the next round, we will chain 1 and place 1 single crochet in the very first stitch. We know the slip stitch is “behind” us, so we don’t have to worry about identifying it for now. The first stitch is the same stitch we slip stitched into to close the round.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

We’ll mark the first stitch of the round (the stitch we just placed) with a stitch marker so that we know for sure where it is.

Now, let’s look at what’s going on between the two stitch markers. Laying horizontal and closest to the yellow stitch marker is the slip stitch. Sitting vertical and closest to the orange stitch marker is the chain 1 that built height for this round.

You can pretty safely assume that the “stitch” in which the chain 1 looks to be coming out of is the slip stitch and not work into it.

But even with stitch markers in the first stitch of this round and last stitch of the previous round, that slip stitch still looks like it should be worked into.

You’ll have to remind yourself that it is the slip stitch, it doesn’t count as a stitch and we do not work into it.

Now we can place 1 single crochet in each stitch around until we’re near the end.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

The image above has the same picture twice so you can see it both with and without highlights.

We’re coming up to the end of the round and we have 2 stitches left to place. We know for sure we have 2 stitches left because of the yellow stitch marker which marks the last stitch of the round.

In the bottom picture, I’ve highlighted the slip stitch that joined the previous round in red and the chain 1 that started this round in yellow.

Of course, we know exactly where our round starts and ends because of the stitch markers.

But even with the stitch markers you might be wondering if somehow you placed your markers wrong because that slip stitch looks like a stitch. It’s a devious little thing, isn’t it?

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

In the image above, I’ve placed the last 2 stitches of the round. I know for sure my last stitch is in the correct place because it is in the stitch with the stitch marker.

Yes, we will definitely ignore the slip stitch because it doesn’t count as a stitch, even though it looks like one. We will also ignore the chain 1 because it also does not count as a stitch.

Now we will move the stitch marker up into the last stitch of the round (the stitch we just worked) so that we can identify this stitch in the next round.

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

With that step completed, we can now slip stitch into the first stitch of the round to close. We know the first stitch of the round is the one marked with a stitch marker (orange stitch marker in the image).

This image is a visual of what is explained in the text of this blog post which answers the question: does the slip stitch count as a stitch in the round? and showing how to make sure you do not use the slip stitch as a stitch.

Now that we have closed our round, let’s take a look at what’s going on.

We know without a doubt where our first stitch is (orange stitch marker) and where our last stitch is (yellow stitch marker).

So what is the stitch a red arrow points to in the image above? It’s the slip stitch that closed the round! This slip stitch is the only thing between the two stitch markers, so we know without a doubt that it IS the slip stitch.

Remember: We are using the slip stitch as a technique, not as a stitch. It is a technique in which we join two stitches together to form a circle (or round). It does not count as a stitch which means we will NOT work into it.

So, what do I do now with all the information I learned in this blog post?

I highly recommend grabbing some scrap yarn and practicing working in joined rounds.

Whatever you make to practice on doesn’t have to be big. The pictures in this post are all of a small tube with a stitch count of 20.

It also doesn’t have to be intricate. Practice with just single crochet until you get the hang of it. Then, practice with half double crochet, then double crochet, etc.

Use stitch markers to mark your first and last stitch but instead of just moving ahead because your stitch markers will tell you where to start and end, spend some time really looking at what’s going on between them.

The more you understand what’s happening when we do this, the better you’ll understand how and why we do it and how to identify the slip stitch so that you don’t accidentally work into it.

For example with joined rounds that are turned, you can:

  • Slowly make the slip stitch. Watch what the yarn does as it’s made.
    • Where does the yarn go through a stitch?
    • Why does the slip stitch lean forward the way it does? (Because it doesn’t have a post).
    • What happens when you pull back on the loop on your hook after the slip stitch is made?
  • Slowly make your chain 1 to start the new round. Watch what the yarn does as you make it.
    • Where does the yarn go through a stitch?
    • What does the chain 1 look like?
    • What happens to the chain 1 if you pull on the loop on your hook after it’s made?
  • Turn the work to the front and the back. Don’t make any stitches, just observe what everything looks like. Turn it back and forth a few times.
    • What does the slip stitch look like before turning?
    • What does it look like after turning?
    • What does the chain 1 look like before turning?
    • What does it look like after turning?
    • When you turn, does the chain 1 twist?
    • Could the chain 1 look like a stitch even though it isn’t?
  • Work through to the end of a round but leave 2-3 stitches unworked. Visually inspect them.
    • Can you identify the posts below the stitches?
    • Can you identify the slip stitch?
    • What about the slip stitch looks different to the single crochet?

Consider yourself a scientist. Collect your data. Try to understand how the hook manipulates the yarn, what different stitches look like, etc.

While it may seem tedious or even a little “simple”, especially if you’ve been crocheting for a while, it’s still worth it to take the time to investigate.

I am a true believer in understanding how something works so we better understand why we’re doing it.

And slowly working through these stitches, taking the time to really look at them and see what happens will help you achieve that.

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Shannon | Designer & Editor

Shannon helps crocheters find their next project and build their skills with in depth tutorials and crochet patterns on her blog, theloopholefox.com.

With more than a decade of crochet experience, Shannon knows that understanding why we do something matters just as much as how we do it. She teaches new techniques and crochet stitches in depth so you can crochet with confidence.

Patterns that use closed rounds you can use your new knowledge with:

Kelly Kindle Cover
Millie Hanging Baskets
Vela Blanket Square
Camden Can Cozy
Eunoia Mobius Cowl
Radiant Soap Saver
Radiant Washcloth
Marguerite’s Square
Radiant Face Scrubby
Traveler’s Water Bottle Bag


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