Crochet Chain Tutorial (Where to Begin)

Crochet Chain Tutorial

The First Stitch – Starting Row 1 from the Crochet Chain

Ok, so you’ve made your crochet chain, but now what? Where do you put that first crochet stitch? Well, it really depends on which crochet stitch you are planning on using, as it directly relates to the height of each stitch.

Here are four of the most popular stitch choices. Please note that the chain loop ON the hook is not counted as part of the crochet chain when beginning row 1 (see photo below):

  • Single Crochet – start in the second chain from the hook.
  • Half-double Crochet – start in the third chain from the hook.
  • Double Crochet – start in the fourth chain from the hook.
  • Triple (or Treble) Crochet – start in the fifth chain from the hook.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if you’re trying to create a project that consists of ten stitches across, and you’re using single crochet, then your crochet chain will have to be eleven chain stitches across to accommodate that first stitch (as the single crochet would begin in the second chain from your hook).

If you are using double crochet and wanted a ten-stitch row, then you would have to compensate by making your crochet chain thirteen chains long. All rows after that would be ten.

The Turning Chain – What Happens at the End of Row 1?

At the end of your first row (and every row from this point forward), you will need to use what’s called a “turning chain”. This is one or more additional chains to your existing row that will directly correlate to the height of the stitch you will be using on the following row.

And, the turning chain is not really set in stone, as some crocheters will add or minus a chain based on their own personal preference. So, when it comes to the number of chain stitches in the turning chain, the rule of thumb is this:

  • Single Crochet – one chain stitch
  • Half-double Crochet – two chain stitches
  • Double Crochet – three chain stitches
  • Triple (or Treble) Crochet – four chain stitches

For example, if you are crocheting with the single crochet stitch, you will be doing a chain of one chain stitch at the end of each row to prepare for the next row of single crochet.

However, if you have done so many rows of single crochets and you come to the end, knowing your next row will be double crochet, then you will have to do three chain stitches to prepare for the height of the double crochet in that next row.

For those of you who require more of a visual of the crochet chain and row 1, I’ve put together a video tutorial on the crochet chain and how to turn, but it mainly focuses on single crochet.