Turning Chains

★☆☆ - Beginner

To be able to work in rows successfully, not only do you need to know how to make a starting chain and how to make a crochet stitch, but you need to know about turning chains.

All crochet stitches have a different height.  Double (US single) crochet stitches are quite short, but Triple Treble (US Double Treble) stitches are a lot higher.

To start working any crochet, you first need to get the yarn you are working with up to the correct height for the row or round you are going to work and we do that by making a chain or series of chains.  The number of chains that you'll need to make is determined by the type of crochet stitch being used.

Turning Chains at a Glance (UK)
Double  - 1
Half Treble - 2
Treble - 3
Double Treble - 4
Triple Treble - 5

Turning Chains at a Glance (USA)
Single - 1
Double  - 2
Half Treble - 3
Treble - 4
Double Treble - 5

Tutorial:

Once you've made the first row of the crochet, turning chains start to make a little more sense.  Here's how they work for the main types of crochet stitch.




▾ Indicates where the first stitch of the next row will be made.

Once the first row is complete you'll need to make the appropriate number of chains for the stitch you are using and then you'll turn the work over (hence 'turning chain') so that the back is facing you.  Then you can continue making stitches back along the row, working into the stitches this time, rather than the starting chain.

Double Crochet
(US Single)
This stitch is the exception again, as the turning chain is not counted as a stitch, you'll make 1 chain as the turning chain and make your first stitch into the first stitch of the row below.  And, as the turning chain doesn't count as a stitch you don't need to work into it when you reach the end of the row.

For all the other types of stitch the turning chain does count as a stitch so you do no work into the first stitch of the row below, instead you ignore this as work into the second stitch along.  However, it also means, when you have reached the end of the row, you will need to make a stitch into the top  (highest chain) of the turning chain of the row below.

Half Treble Crochet
(US Half Double)
Make 2 chains as the turning chain and make your first stitch into the second stitch of the row below.  You'll need to work into the row below.

Treble Crochet
(US Double)
Make 3 chains as the turning chain and make your first stitch into the second stitch of the row below.  You'll need to work into the row below.

The last two stitches aren't pictured above but with the exception of a different turning change number as worked the same.

Double Treble Crochet 
(US Treble)
Make 4 chains as the turning chain and make your first stitch into the second stitch of the row below.  You'll need to work into the row below.

Treble Crochet
(US Double)
Make 5 chains as the turning chain and make your first stitch into the second stitch of the row below.  You'll need to work into the row below.

Once the second row is complete, it should look like this.




If everything has gone correctly you should still have the same number of stitches in your row and you can now continue making turning chains and working rows for as long as you like.

More Help:
For more help and clear pictures to show the positioning the first and last stitches of each row, please see the individual stitch tutorials in the Stitch Directory.

Next Steps:

✽  Find out how to change colours
✽  Find out how to end a row
✽  Find out about working in the round