Alternative Turning Chain – How to Never Crochet Gaps and Bulk

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The Alternative Turning Chain using this easy formula will make sure you never see gaps and bulk in your work. Use with double crochet, treble crochet and taller stitches. This stacked single crochet tutorial will teach you how to crochet straight edges and have nice transitions in rounds.

A few months ago, when I started crocheting a blanket, I noticed that my sides were bulky. They had some gaps, but were still straight.

When I learned how to crochet, I was taught two different ways to crochet a turning chain. This was always used when crocheting double crochet stitches (or taller ones). The turning chain for double crochet is an essential step in crocheting, creating a seamless transition between rows.

  • 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 in a different way. Such that there will never be a gap or a bulk on the sides of your work. But instead, you can have a straight smooth edge when crocheting anything equal or taller than a double crochet.

crochet chain 3 alternative

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I got frustrated and wanted to find a solution to my problem. Around the same time, I started getting messages from my followers saying that they had the same problem as well.

No bulk and straight edges – how it all started

So, I started small. I first found a formula that will help those who just needed to understand how 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 traditional way of starting with a crochet 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.

Turning chain of 2 for Double Crochet creates bulk

Now, if you never liked the bulk, most likely you went with the chain of 3, skipped the first stitch and then started to crochet double crochets.

Yes, the pictures below show exactly how that looks. Those gaps sure are not pretty.

Turning Chain of 3 for Double Crochet creates gaps

Crochet the Alternative Turning Chain for DC, TR and taller stitches
Video Tutorial

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Alternative Turning Chain - stacked single crochet

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 than 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 added a video tutorial below as well.

Alternative Turning Chain - no gaps and bulk - straight edges

How to start crochet without chaining aka Stacked Single Crochet – Photo Tutorial

Instead of starting the double crochet with the 3rd chain from the hook, you can crochet the alternative turning chain, which is also known as the stacked single crochet.

But to make this clearer, I will first explain to you the steps 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’s imagine you are on row 2 and you need to start a turning chain.

first step of how to start crochet without 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.

make one single crochet to start a crochet row without chains

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).

start with single crochet stitch

Now, pull up a loop and make another single crochet. You now 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.

make 2 stacked single crochet

If you need to crochet a treble crochet stitch, 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 (stacked single crochet). Starting from the second stitch you will now crochet treble crochet stitches.

make 3 stacked single crochet to replace turning chain

Simple formula for each stitch to remember

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?

straight edges with no turning chain

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.

side view of no turning chain

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 – OLDER Video Tutorial

No gaps in crochet - how to start crochet without chain

If you love this alternative turning chain crochet aka stacked single crochet tip as much as I do, please use the social media share buttons above or below and share this pattern link with the world and your friends. They and I will thank you! I promise!


You can have the most amazing pattern and yarn in the world, but if you don’t have the knowledge on how to crochet in a way that makes you proud, then all your work is for nothing.

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  1. Fantastic! I am so glad I came across this! It works beautifully (I made a large dish cloth and the sides were finally straight! Your explain was clear and understandable! Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Thank you for this tutorial, I have had problems for years. I am sharing this tutorial with my granddaughter whom I taught to crochet when she was a young teen. She loves to crochet and creates her own patterns for infant hats and sell them. It is a hobby that she loves and makes some side money while relaxing.

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