Starting Chains

★☆☆ - Beginner

To begin working rows of crochet we need to know about starting chains and how many chains you need to use.

In most cases you'll know how long to make your starting (or foundation) chain because the pattern will tell you exactly how many you need.  Or, if you're following a stitch pattern, which you can adapt to any size, you'll also be given instructions on how to work out the number of chains you need.

But if you just want to start a row of stitches without following a particular pattern, you'll need to know how many chains to begin with and understand a little about turning chains.

Tutorial:

To begin, let's imagine that we want to crochet a row that is 10 stitches long.  It would be nice if we could just make a length of 10 chains and then start wouldn't it?  Unfortunately it's not quite as easy as that because as well as making some chains to work our stitches into we also need to add some chains that will get our first stitch at the right height.  That's where the turning chains come in.

Each different stitch requires a different number of chains to bring it up to the correct height and we need to incorporate that into our starting chain.  Take at the picture below, it looks a little complicated at first but bear with me, I'll explain all...


This symbols shows where the first stitch will be made.

Double Crochet - DC
(US Single Crochet)
This stitch is the exception to the rule that will apply to the rest of the stitches and probably the easiest to remember.  To make a row of 10 stitches, you need to make 10 chains and then add 1 chain to be the turning chain.  This is because for double (single) crochets, the turning chain does not count as a stitch.
For a 10 stitch row, you'll need a starting chain of 11 and the first stitch is made into the second chain from the hook.

For all the other types of stitch the turning chain is used instead of a first stitch.  So we need to make 1 chain less than the number of stitches you'd like in the row.  But you do then need to add on the correct number of turning chains.

Half Treble Crochet -HTR
(US Half Double Crochet)
To make a row of 10 stitches, you need to make 9 chains and then add 2 chains to be the turning chain and to count as the first stitch.
For a 10 stitch row, you'll need a starting chain of 11 and the first stitch is made into the third chain from the hook.

Treble Crochet - TR
(US Double Crochet)
To make a row of 10 stitches, you need to make 9 chains and then add 3 chains to be the turning chain and to count as the first stitch.
For a 10 stitch row, you'll need a starting chain of 12 and the first stitch is made into the fourth chain from the hook.

Double Treble Crochet - DTR
(US Treble Crochet)
To make a row of 10 stitches, you need to make 9 chains and then add 4 chains to be the turning chain and to count as the first stitch.
For a 10 stitch row, you'll need a starting chain of 13 and the first stitch is made into the fifth chain from the hook.

Triple Treble Crochet - TTR
(US Double Treble Crochet)
To make a row of 10 stitches, you need to make 9 chains and then add 5 chains to be the turning chain and to count as the first stitch.
For a 10 stitch row, you'll need a starting chain of 14 and the first stitch is made into the sixth chain from the hook.

Now all you need to do is make a crochet stitch into all the chains except the turning chain to make the first row.  On the picture above I've placed a  symbols to indicate where the first stitch will go.

Here's how it looks when the first row is complete.




The Double (US Single) crochet row has 10 stitches and 1 turning chain at the edge which isn't counted.

All the other rows have 9 crochet stitches and 1 turning chain which counts as the 10th stitch.

Next Steps:

✽  Find out more about types of stitches
✽  Find out a little more about turning chains
✽  Find out how to change colours
✽  Find out how to end a row