Thursday, 14 January 2016

How to start crocheting without chain stitch: foundation crochet

Starting with a chain stitch is taught to pretty much every beginner crocheter, and is a hurdle to overcome because it's fiddly and annoying. And as many people chain more tightly than they do other crochet stitches, the beginning of your work can end up with a curling, tighter edge.

(If you HAVE to start with a chain, eg. for v-stitch, then use a larger hook size for the start - eg. if I'm using a 4mm hook, I'll go up to a 5mm hook for the chain and maybe first row).

BUT.... (let me change your life for the better!)

You don't have to start with a chain.  You can use a chainless foundation start (various other names for this: foundation chain, foundation treble etc etc).  What you are doing is creating the base (chain) and the first row (single/double/treble as you prefer) in one go.  In forming each stitch, you make the chain base for the next stitch, then make the stitch you're on.  Chain/stitch/chain/stitch.

Here's a You Tube video - it's in US terms, so it says double crochet where UK term is treble crochet, but it illustrates how it's done.

And here's a step by step photo tutorial, from a UK blogger so it's in UK terms.

It's a really good technique for getting an easier start and less curling. It also gives you a nicer bottom edge than working through the chain can do.

You can do it with double/treble stitches (UK terms) or single/double stitches (US terms).  Or longer stitches (double treble, triple treble etc) if that's what your work requires.

Here's my other tip: staying aware of keeping your stitches level so the bottom edge of your work stays straight.  Keep your stitches at right angles, even if it feels that first loop is loopier than you expect.

It may take you a couple of tries to 'see' what you're doing, but when you do (and you will), it's an excellent technique to have in your bag of tricks.

Note: links are in US crochet terminology.

Note: links are in UK crochet terminology.

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