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The Alternative Turning Chain using this easy formula will make sure you never crochet gaps and bulk with double crochet, treble crochet and taller anymore. This tutorial will teach you how to crochet straight edges and have nice transitions in rounds as well.
A few months ago, when I started crocheting a blanket, I noticed that my sides were bulky, had some gaps, but were still straight. I when I learned how to crochet, I was taught two different ways to crochet a turning chain when crocheting double crochet stitches (or taller ones).
- Chain 2 and crochet a double crochet into the first stitch (chain 2 is not counted as a stitch) OR
- Chain 3 and skip the first stitch and start crocheting double crochets from the second stitch (chain 3 is counted as a stitch)
BUT, nobody told me there actually was a way to crochet the turning chain such that there will never be a gap or a bulk on the side, but instead have a straight smooth edge when crocheting anything equal or taller than a double crochet.
I got frustrated and wanted to find a solution to my problem. Around the same time, I started getting messages from my followers that they had the same problem as me.
So, I started small. I first found a formula that will help those who just need to understand to get straight edges, whether they are bulky or not, but at least they were straight. Then I figured out how to get those straight edges to be smooth also when crocheting single crochets and half double crochet stitches.
I was on a roll.
I tried a few different ideas I had in my mind to get to the solution. And then it hit me. I remembered my linked double crochet stitches. I just needed to modify my technique and I would have the solution. BAM! I had it. And it worked, no matter how tall the stitch is! It worked for double crochet, treble crochet, and even taller ones. I created an alternative turning chain.
Before You Judge Me – Here is what NOT to do! This makes Gaps and Bulk
Let me first show you what I created when I tried the way I was taught. For years, I hated the gaps that crocheting created when making a turning chain of 3 and skipping the first stitch. So I crocheted the chain of 2 and started with the first stitch and crocheted double crochets. And below you can see how that actually looks like.
Now, if you never liked the bulk, most likely you wen with the chain of 3 and skipped the first stitch and then started to crochet double crochets. Yes, the below pictures shows exactly how that looks like. Those gaps sure are not pretty.
The Most Important Part of All to Crochet the Alternative Turning Chain Correctly
I found the solution to never having gaps or bulk again – ever. You simply crochet the alternative turning chain by stacking single crochet stitches on top of each other, similar, but not the same way as a linked crochet stitch.
This technique allows you to have straight smooth edges, no matter how tall the stitch is. If you have a taller stitch then the double crochet then just stack my single crochet stitches on top for the turning chain. Let me show you what I mean with a step by step tutorial. I even added a video tutorial below as well.
How to Crochet the Alternative Turning Chain – Photo Tutorial
First, make a chain, now instead of starting with the double crochet from the 3rd chain from the hook, you will crochet alternative turning chain. But to make this more clear, I will explain you the steps first for the part where you would turn and start a new row. It is easier to see and understand it that way. I will get back to the beginning part and how to do it in rounds later.
So, let imagine you on row 2 and you need to start a turning chain.
First, crochet a single crochet. But do NOT crochet a chain before doing so. Just simply crochet a single crochet into the first stitch.
Next, insert your hook into the loop of the single crochet that is the furthest away from your hook (for righties that is on the left, and for lefties that is the loop on the right).
Now, pull up a loop and make another single crochet. You know have 2 single crochets stacked on top of each other and they have the same height as a double crochet. You can now start crocheting double crochets starting from the second chain from the hook. To summarize, crochet two stacked single crochet stitches on top of each other for a double crochet as an alternative turning chain.
If you need to crochet treble crochet, just repeat the previous step and crochet another single crochet on top of the first two you just created. You will now have a 3 single crochet stitches in the height of a treble crochet as an alternative turning chain. Starting from the second stitch you will now crochet treble crochet stitches.
So, to make this even easier, just think about the formula: Double means two, so you crochet two stacked single crochets as the alternative turning chain. And treble means three, so you would crochet three stacked single crochets as the alternative turning chain. For a double treble crochet it then be 4 stacked single crochets and so forth. Easy right?
Now at the end of each row, you will then just go on top of last of the stacked single crochets to crochet your last stitch of the row.
The same is true for rounds. Instead of the starting chains we usually crochet, just crochet the alternative turning chain and you will reduce the amount of diagonal seams you created also.
Now, let’s go back for a moment and talk about the beginning of a row. How would you start, instead of crocheting from the third chain from the hook if it is a double crochet, for example? Well, you simply do the same as we just did.
Let’s say you need to crochet a row of 15 double crochet stitches. Start by making a chain of 15 +1, then crochet a stacked single crochet in the height of a double crochet, so 2 single crochets on top, in the second chain from the hook. Now from the second stitch on, crochet normal double crochet stitches.
You could also start with a chainless foundation double crochet row and then crocheting normal rows of double crochets using the alternative turning chain at the beginning of each row.
How to Crochet the Alternative Turning Chain – Video Tutorial
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