Chain Crochet Stitch

If you are looking for the ultimate beginners guide on chain stitches in crochet, then this tutorial is for you! Below, I’ll go over how to chain as well what foundation chains mean and chains to bring up height in rows as well as chains within patterns, plus some common questions most crocheters have about chains.

I hope you enjoy this chain stitch crochet tutorial!

chain stitch crochet
The Ultimate Chain Stitch Crochet Tutorial

All About the Chain Stitch

Learn all about chain stitches in crochet with this comprehensive guide.

How to Chain (Chain Stitch Crochet Tutorial)

The chain stitch or ch abbreviated is the fundamental starting point for most crochet projects. It creates a series of interlocking loops that serve as the foundation for your work. To create a chain stitch:

  1. Make a Slip Knot: Create a loop with the yarn, insert your hook, and tighten.
  2. Yarn Over: Wrap the yarn around your hook.
  3. Pull Through: Pull the yarn through the loop on the hook. You’ve made one chain stitch!
  4. Repeat: Continue this process to create a chain of your desired length.

Different Uses of Chains

  • Foundation Chains: Most patterns start with a foundation chain that sets the stage for the rest of your project.
  • Turning Chains: These allow you to move up a row, helping in forming a neat edge.
  • Spacing: Chain stitches can create spaces within a pattern. For example, you might chain one or more stitches to create a gap and then skip the same number of stitches on the row below, forming a decorative hole or mesh effect.
  • Joining: In some cases, chain stitches are used to join motifs or other parts of a project together, such as when constructing a granny square blanket.
  • Creating Shape: In more advanced patterns, chain stitches might be used to shape a piece, such as creating armholes in a sweater or adding contours to a design.

Tips for Perfect Chains

  • Keep Even Tension: Consistent tension ensures that your chains are uniform.
  • Choose the Right Hook Size: The hook size can affect the look of your chain, so choose according to your pattern or yarn being used.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice: Like anything, practice makes perfect!

What is a Turning Chain?

Turning chains are used in crochet when you reach the end of a row and need to begin a new one. They serve as a bridge to elevate the yarn to the height of the next row of stitches. Here’s a bit more detail:

  • Height Alignment: Different stitches have different heights. A single crochet is shorter than a double crochet, for example. Turning chains match the height of the next row’s stitches so that the edge stays neat and aligned.
  • Creating Space: Turning chains create the space needed to work the first stitch of the new row without bunching or distorting the fabric.
  • Counting as a Stitch: In some patterns, the turning chain may count as the first stitch of the new row. In others, it might not, and you would work the first stitch into the last stitch of the previous row. Always follow the pattern’s guidance.
  • Varying Length: The number of chains in a turning chain depends on the height of the stitches in the next row. Shorter stitches like single crochets require fewer turning chains, while taller stitches like treble crochets require more.

Turning chains help make sure the edges of your work are even and that the overall appearance of the project is neat and professional.

Turning Chain Table

Below is a table outlining some common crochet stitches and the typical number of chain stitches needed to start or turn with each stitch:

StitchChains Needed for FoundationChains Needed for Turning
Slip Stitch11
Single CrochetAs needed1
Half Double CrochetAs needed2
Double CrochetAs needed3
Triple CrochetAs needed4

Note: The number of chains needed for the foundation can vary based on the pattern and design, and it might require a specific number of chains as instructed in your pattern. For turning chains, the numbers listed are typical, but they can also vary based on the design and desired texture. Always follow the pattern instructions you are using for the best results.

Common Questions About Chains in Crochet

Here are some common questions along with answers about crochet chains:

  1. Q: What is a crochet chain?
    A: A crochet chain is a series of loops connected together, forming the foundation of most crochet projects. It’s created using a simple technique of yarning over and pulling through the loop on the hook.
  2. Q: How do I start a chain in crochet?
    A: Start with a slip knot, then yarn over and pull through the loop on your hook. Repeat this process to create the desired length of the chain.
  3. Q: Why are my chain stitches too tight?
    A: Tight chain stitches may result from holding the yarn or hook too tightly. Practice maintaining consistent, gentle tension, and consider using a larger hook if needed.
  4. Q: Can I add more chain stitches after I’ve started crocheting?
    A: Yes, you can add more chain stitches by simply continuing the chain technique. This can be useful for decorative elements or extending the foundation chain.
  5. Q: What are turning chains, and why are they used?
    A: Turning chains elevate the yarn to the height of the next row of stitches, creating space and alignment. The number of turning chains varies based on the stitch height.
  6. Q: How many chains do I need for a specific stitch?
    A: The number of chains required can vary by stitch and pattern. Commonly, 1 chain for single crochet, 2 for half double, 3 for double, and 4 for treble crochet are used for turning. Always refer to your pattern’s instructions.
  7. Q: Can I crochet without a foundation chain?
    A: Yes, there are techniques such as foundation single crochet (FSC) or foundation double crochet (FDC) that allow you to create stitches without a separate foundation chain.
  8. Q. Do I turn then chain, or do I chain then turn at the end of a row?
    A: When using a turning chain, the standard practice is to create the chain first and then turn your work. So, you’ll make the required number of chain stitches for the turning chain and then turn the entire piece to begin working the next row. But if you prefer to turn then chain, you can do that too!
  9. Q. What does a chain stitch look like in a chart?
    A: The chart symbol for a chain stitch looks like an oval in chart patterns. Take a look below at the image of a chain stitch in a chart.
chain chart symbol

Related: Learn how to read chart symbols with this detailed tutorial.

These questions cover some basic concepts and concerns about crochet chains. If you’re working with a specific pattern, always read the instructions or ask the designer of the pattern for help.

More Crochet Stitch Tutorials

If you enjoyed this chain stitch crochet tutorial, you may enjoy learning about more crochet stitches as well!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *