Lesson on Rows and Turning Chains

In my previous post for Cheater Crochet Headbands, I worked back and forth in rows to get the rectangle from which we’d form the bow. In today’s post, I’d like to focus more on how to correctly form your rows and turn your work so that you can continue adding more rows…over and over and over.

It’s important to know how many chains you’ll need in your foundation row to get the desired number of stitches in your rows. You’ll also need to know how many chains you’ll need to start your next row. In a Red Heart Yarn video tutorial, you can learn how to create five basic stitches – I will only go over single crochet, double crochet, and treble crochet.

I made it so that for each of the examples below, we’d end up with 10 stitches on our rows.

Single Crochet Stitches (sc)
Single Crochet Turning RowYou will cast on 11 foundation chains.
Your needle will go into the second chain from the hook.
Hook the yarn to the front of the work.
Yarn over and pull through the two loops.
Move to the next chain and create your next stitch.
Repeat until you get to the end. You have completed row 1.

To turn, you will chain one and turn your work. You are going to insert your hook into the first stitch, pull the yarn through the front of work and crochet your first single IMG_6772crochet stitch.
Insert your hook into the next stitch, pull the yarn forward, yarn over, pull through two loops.
Continue this way until you get to the end. You have completed row 2.
Repeat instructions for row 2 to obtain as many rows as necessary.

Double Crochet Stitches (dc)
IMG_6776
You will cast on 12 foundation chains.
Your needle will go into the fourth chain from the hook. The three chains before the fourth chain will be treated as the first double crochet stitch.
Hook the yarn to the front of the work.
Yarn over and pull through the two loops. Yarn over once more and pull through two remaining loops.
Move to the next chain and create your next stitch.
IMG_6777Repeat until you get to the end; you should have 10 stitches total, including the three chains that counted as the first double crochet. You have completed row 1.

To continue to row 2: you will chain 3, yarn over once, and insert your hook into the second stitch. Like in the first row, the chain-3 will count as a double crochet stitch.
Complete a doublIMG_6779e crochet stitch (yarn over, pull through two, yarn over, pull through two). Continue this way until you get to the end.
For the final stitch, you will insert your hook into what would be the third chain of the chain-3 that you did in row 1.
You have completed row 2.
Repeat instructions for row 2 to obtain as many rows as necessary.

Treble Crochet Stitch (tr)
Chain 13.
Your needle will go into the fifth chain from the hook. Similar to the double crochet stitch, the four chains before the fifth chain will count as the first treble crochet stitch.
Hook the yarn to the front of the work.
Yarn over and pull through the two loops; do this a total of two more times.
Move toPresentation1 the next chain and create your next stitch.
Repeat until you get to the end; you should have 10 stitches total, including the four chains that counted as the first treble crochet. You have completed row 1.

To continue to row 2: you will chain 4, yarn over twice, and insert your hook into the second stitch. Like in the first row, the chain-4 will count as a treble crochet stitch.
Complete a treble crochet stitch (yarn over, pull through two x 3). Continue this way until you get to the end.
For the final stitch, you will insert your hook into what would be the fourth chain of the chain-4 that you did in row 1.

So there you have it. I absolutely hope the information proves helpful to you.

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Laying Down the Foundation – 5 Foundation Chain Tips for Beginners

Just like any proper building structure requires a solid foundation, so will your crochet projects. If you don’t pay enough care and attention to your foundation chains, your entire project will suffer for it. Although a faulty foundation won’t cause your project to fall apart, it may cause it to bunch up, curl up, or even tilt like the Leaning Tower of Pisa (kind of).

Obtaining clean foundation chains is one of the first challenges any beginner will encounter. After you’ve tied your slip knot (Crochet Guru shows you how), you’re ready to begin with your foundation chain. These next five tips will help you crochet the perfect foundation chain.

1. Take it Slow and Easy
Until you get a feel for the crochet hook in your hand and how your yarn will respond to it, take it a few chains at a time. I stitch five chains before readjusting my yarn and stitching on another five. Speeding through the foundation stitches also makes it so that your stitches come out different sizes; more times than not, they come out too tight. A tight stitch is a small stitch and this will result in your project bunching up at the foundation row instead of lying flat.

Examples of two yarn labels. Top one recommends G/6 hook, bottom recommends H/8.

Two yarn labels. Top one recommends G/6 hook, bottom recommends H/8.

2. Use the Right Tools
You’ll need to make sure that your yarn and hook are a good match for each other. If your yarn is too thick for your hook, you’ll have a difficult time completing the stitch or your stitch will be too tight. On the flip side, if your yarn is too thin for your hook, your stitches will be too big and loose. The label on the yarn skein will also usually recommend what size hook to use for that skein of yarn.

3. Start Big
Use the next hook size up for your foundation chain than what the pattern calls for. Let’s say your project calls for a size H hook, you may want to start your foundation chain using a size I hook (this is the next hook size up) and then switch to your H hook for the remainder of the project. Why is that? For most beginners, and even for the old pros, our foundation chains run a little smaller and our row stitches run a little bigger.

Purple indicates back loop of foundation chain, while white-speckled indicates front loop.

Purple indicates back loop of foundation chain, while white-speckled indicates front loop.

4. Be Consistent! B-E CONSISTENT!
A foundation stitch has three parts: the front and back loops (these form the V), and the spine. Once you start working on your first row, you’ll want to make sure that whichever part of the first stitch you insert your hook into that you do this for the rest of your foundation row. This one is a biggie because if you alternate which part of the stitch use, you’ll throw yourself off in the stitch count and end up with more or less stitches than you cast on. Not a big deal if you’re making baby booties, downright tear-inducing if you’re making an afghan.

5. Nip It in the Bud
If you don’t like the way your foundation chain looks, it’s best to rip it and start again. There is no need to drag it out hoping that your project will fix itself as you go along – trust me, it won’t! But a word of caution: don’t cast on and rip foundation chains too many times with the same piece of yarn! Your yarn will to get kinks in it that will make it increasingly difficult to cast on the foundation chains (Catch-22, I know).

Are these tips useful to you? Sound off in the comments section below.