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How to Stop Your Treble Crochet Stitches from Being Too Loose

Let's talk about trebles. I used to hate them.


It's true!


But after over a decade of practice, I've become rather fond of them!


If you've struggled with regulating your tension while working treble crochets, then I feel you. And I want to help you - without it taking ten years of practice!


Here are a few of my best tips for getting better control of those troublesome trebles:



Be mindful of the yarn you choose.

The heavier weight the yarn is, and the looser the original ply of the yarn is, the more exaggerated any looseness in your stitches will likely be.


Experiment with lighter weight yarns to see if this improves your opinion on trebles! Sometimes that's all it takes to make a stitch look tidier.


Here's an example of two different fabrics made with the same stitch pattern. On the left I used a bulky weight four-ply yarn and a 4.5 mm crochet hook. For the project on the right, I'm using a single ply fingering weight yarn and a 2.75 mm hook.


A light blue swatch of treble and single crochet stitches held alongside a similar fabric worked in a lighter weight yarn.
Two different fabrics side by side to compare bulkier yarn to lighter weight yarn.

Also consider the twist of your yarn. If you have a loosely plied s-twist yarn and you are a right-handed crocheter, you will slightly untwist those plies even more as you work your stitches.


Experiment with single ply yarn or look for z-twist yarn to try. Most commercially available single ply yarn is z-twist! If you're a left-handed crocheter, you likely won't have the same issue with your plies untwisting.


illustration to demonstrate the difference between s-twist yarn and z-twist yarn
S-twist, four ply yarn on the left, Z-twist singles yarn on the right

Keep tighter control of your yarn over loops.

This is your permission slip to choke up on your crochet hook! Use your finger to keep the yarn over loops pushed up close to the tip of the hook as you work.

So instead of letting your yarn overs sit casually on your hook as you make them initially, like this:


Loosely held yarn overs in blue yarn on a silver and blue crochet hook.

Try pushing the loops up close to the head of the crochet hook before you insert your hook:


Yarn over loops pushed together up close to the head of the crochet hook.

You can also try slightly rolling the fabric forward towards you to make the yarn over loops even tighter. See the video above for a demonstration of this.


Keep tighter control at the bottom of your stitch, too.

You can do this by holding onto the fabric and/or the bottom of the stitch as you work it as well.


So here I have my loops pushed up close to one another with the pointer finger on my right hand, while I'm also holding onto the fabric just below the bottom of the stitch (where I inserted my crochet hook) with my thumb and middle finger of my left hand:


Yarn over loops pushed together and held close to the head of the crochet hook while also holding onto the fabric just below the bottom of the treble crochet.

Move your fingers up with each step as you go. While also still keeping those remaining yarn over loops pushed up close to each other! That means I scoot my left-hand hold up to the bottom of the stitch itself before completing the second yarn over and draw through two loops:


Continuing to hold onto the bottom of the treble crochet as we work it, keeping the remaining yarn over loops pushed up close to the head of the crochet hook.

Yes, you can also try a smaller hook size!

This is absolutely an option and even something I sometimes recommend in some of my patterns.


If you have a section worked in all treble crochet stitches, for example, try switching to a smaller hook size just for that section of the fabric. It will help tighten up your trebles and may make your fabric drape more consistently.


Conversely, you can also try using a larger hook for working smaller, denser stitches like single crochets.


A great example of doing this is the Sibyllinity Scarf.


Texture detail of color block scarf with wide lengthwise stripes of cream worked in crossed double crochet stitches, a narrow line of spike stitches and a couple rows in solid black, followed by a gradient of peachy pinks using treble crochet stitches.

This pattern begins with several rows of crossed double crochet stitches, which have a tendency to be densely packed or tighter stitches. Those are the creamy white stitches on the bottom.


When I transition into the second block of color and several rows of treble crochet stitches (the gradient pink), the fabric loosened up A LOT and so I ended up working those rows with a smaller crochet hook. And yes, I recommend doing that same thing in the pattern!



If you're still not convinced about trebles, that's okay. It DID take me a lot of practice to get comfortable with them! And I very rarely work them with anything heavier than a DK weight yarn these days.


Slice of Life is my most recent design featuring treble crochets, which is available now in the Sweet Shop issue of Moorit magazine. I'm just about finished with a new sample of it - that's what you get to see me working on in the video using that scrumptious single ply yarn!


You can buy your copy online now at https://mooritmag.com/pages/issue-4 and I'll be doing a livestream next Friday over on Facebook if you'd like to see it in action! If you can't make it live, though, no worries. It'll be up on YouTube next week!


What's your opinion on trebles? Do love 'em or hate 'em? Or are you still on the fence? Comment below to share any additional tips or tricks for tidy trebles!

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