How to Crochet the Perfect Starting Chain – 5 Easy Ways and Tips

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Crocheting foundation chains or starting chains is the first step when starting a crochet project. I am going to show you 5 easy ways on how to crochet the perfect starting chain.

Foundation chains are more important than many crocheters seem to think. I know sometimes we get so excited to start a new project. We just want to crochet the exciting bits, often not giving the starting chain much thought.

I used to just jump right into the pattern and crochet the starting chain as fast as possible so I can get on with the pattern instructions. But let’s stop for a minute and think! You can not build a house on a pile of sand and expect it to last and look good, can you? 

Crochet Perfect Starting Chains with 6 ways and tips

Foundation Chain Can Make or Break a Project

Let’s just think of the foundation crochet chain as the house foundations. You need this part to be done properly for your crochet project to turn out right and look good too, right?

Some crochet projects require the starting chain to be solid without any stretch to give a little support. This quality is mainly desirable for crochet bags, belts or handles.

Other times we need the foundation chain to be stretchy and have a little give, mainly for garments or accessories. You do not want your jumper to be too tight around your neck or hips because your starting chain does not have any stretch. 

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There are many different techniques and steps to do this properly. However, I am going to concentrate on five different ways to crochet the perfect starting chain which I think will be the most useful. I am also going to give you some tips on how to crochet the first row into the foundation chain so your project will look neat. 

We have all worked on a crochet project with a really long starting chain before too, right? How many times has it happened that you have counted and counted and despite that ended up with too many or too few chains?

It used to happened to me all the time and it was very frustrating! However, I have super helpful tips on how to adjust the starting chains without having to start all over again! These tips are helpful for any crocheter, from a crochet beginner to a more advanced crocheter.

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5 Useful Tips on How to Crochet the Perfect Starting Chain

This is my list of the five most useful tips and tricks I have learned on how to crochet the perfect starting chain. These are all tried and tested techniques I use all the time. They have saved me so much time when working on a project.

Furthermore, they have elevated the finish of my crochet projects to another level. And those really long starting chains when you crochet a blanket? They are not an issue anymore because I know if I miss a stitch or make too many, I can fix it easily without having to start again!

6 Ways to Crochet Perfect Starting Chains – Video Tutorial

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1. Crochet Even Sized Foundation Chain

This might seem like a very obvious thing to say. However, there are so many crocheters that do not pay attention when pulling the loops through the starting chains. You have to make sure that every single loop of the foundation chain is even size.

Make sure you do not pull the loops too tight because you will struggle to work into these loops when working the first row. On the other hand, if you make your loops too loose, your project will look messy. You might even end up with unsightly gaps in your first row and big loops on the underside of the crochet starting chain.

Sometimes crocheters wonder why their projects look a little wonky. It might be just because the starting chain had some issues which are luckily easy to fix.

You just need to pull your foundation chain back to where the issue started and try again to make them all even. Try to keep your arms and hands in a comfortable and relaxed position to crochet neatly.

So, if you want the bottom edge of your crochet project to look neat and tidy make sure you have all the loops of the starting chain the same size.

Even if you have been crocheting for many years, try to make a foundation chain as fast as you can. Then make another one slowly where you pay real close attention to the size of your loops.

I think you might be surprised when you compare the two samples. So, let’s build the foundations of our crochet projects slowly and properly!

Crochet Chains Evenly

2. How not to twist your long starting chain

This very useful tip applies mostly to long crochet starting chains that you need to join into the round. Many crochet patterns out there give you the instructions to “slip stitch into first chain without twisting your chain”, right? But how do you do that?

So you are excited to start a new project which calls for a long starting chain that needs to be joined into a round. You have carefully slip stitched into the first stitch and worked your way around on the first round.

Only to come to the end of the round to realize that you have a twist in your starting chain. That means ripping it all back to the last stitch of starting the chain and trying again. It is very easy to get put off working on a new project when that happens a couple of times. 

However, I have a very useful trick for you to make sure this never happens to you again!

Start working on your crochet starting chain. After a few chain stitches remove the working loop from your hook. Insert the hook through the first chain stitch of your foundation chain. Now straighten your chain out without any twists in it and place the working loop back onto your hook.

You can now carry on chaining as many stitches as your pattern calls for. When you have the correct number of stitches, you can simply pull the working loop through the first chain that is already on your hook to close the foundation chain into a round.

This way you will never have a twist in your starting chain and no more starting over and over. 

Untwist Crochet Chain for round

3. How to crochet a stretchy foundation chain

Certain crochet projects look better with a foundation chain that has a little stretch in it. This can be very important for crochet garments and accessories that are worn.

There is nothing worse than a hat that pulls around your head or a cowl that has no stretch around your neck. Even crocheted sweaters worked top down can be annoying if the starting chain sits around your neck and has no stretch. 

However, there is one easy way how to fix this. You need to crochet your starting chain as a chainless foundation chain. These are worked by using foundation single crochet, foundation half double or double crochet stitch, and many other stitches.

This technique basically makes the starting chain and the first row at the same time! This doubles up as a time-saving trick too so we can fit even more rows into a day!

By doing so, the chainless starting chain has some stretch to it and doesn’t pull tight. THE SECRET TO THE PERFECT CHAINLESS FOUNDATION CHAIN FOR SC, HDC, DC AND TR – CROCHET TUTORIAL is free on my website for you to learn some crochet magic. 

The Secret to the Perfect Chainless Foundation Chains - sc, hdc, dc, tr, Single Crochet, Double Crochet, Half Double Crochet, Treble Crochet - Crochet Tutorial by Nicki's Homemade Crafts #crochet #tutorial #stutches #red #howto #diy #secret #best #perfect #crocheting #learn #easy #foundation #chain #chainless #beginner

You know that I am a big fan of linked crochet stitches. So how about we combine the chainless starting chain and linked crochet stitches? This fun way of crocheting creates such a dense fabric with virtually no holes through your work.

This is especially useful when you are starting a project that requires sturdy crochet fabric with no gaps between the stitches but still needs a little stretch. Take a look at CHAINLESS FOUNDATION LINKED CROCHET – TUTORIAL FOR SC, HDC, DC, AND TR that will show you how to achieve sturdy fabric with stretchy foundation chain.

Linked Crochet Chainless Foundation Chains Tutorial

4. How to remove extra stitches from your foundation chain

We are back at those long starting chains! You have counted carefully when making your foundation chain and worked your first row.

However, you get to the end of your starting chain and realize that you have chained one too many stitches. After putting so much effort into starting your project, the last thing you want to do is start over again. 

So here is my super useful tip on how to remove any extra stitches from your crochet starting chain.

Firstly, you need to remember to make your slip knot at the very beginning lose and do not pull tight on the yarn end. By doing so, you can simply pull the yarn tail back through the loop and remove as many extra stitches as you need.

Once you have the correct number, pull tightly on the yarn tail to close the loop up again! Nobody will ever know you have had too many stitches!

Remove Crochet Chains not used

5. How to add extra stitches to your starting chain if you do not have enough

Imagine this – you have chained what you thought was enough stitches. You work the first row only to realize that you are one stitch short!

The dilemma is do you rip it all out and start again? Or do you squeeze those extra stitches into the last chain? We all know we do not want to do either of those. Losing precious time starting over again or making cheeky adjustments we know won’t look right.

Well, now you do not have to do either of those. If you miss any number of stitches from your regular crochet starting chain, you can add extra by using the chainless foundation chain technique! Simply use the last chain loop to work a foundation crochet stitch through.

Bonus Tip to Make Your Foundation Chain Look the Same as Your Last Row

How do you make the underside of your starting chain look exactly the same as your last row or round? The technique is super simple and it is a game-changer in order to make your project look neat.

The simple tip is working through the back bump that appears at the back of your crochet starting chain.

When you look directly at the front of a chain stitch, you can see the V shape consisting of the front and back loop of the stitch. You do not want to work into either of these.

front of a chain - front and back loop

When you turn the foundation chain over, you can see a third or back bump hidden behind the V shape at the front. This is the loop you want to insert your hook into and work your first row. 

back of a chain - back bump

By doing so, you will push the V shape to the bottom which looks exactly the same as the standard row in crochet!

I share many more beginner’s crochet tips in my LEARN HOW TO CROCHET WITH BASIC STITCHES – MINI-COURSE


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Crochet Perfect Starting Chains with 6 ways and tips and videos

More Crochet Tips and Tricks

If you are hungry for more crochet knowledge check out CROCHET TIPS – PERFECT FOR BEGINNERS AND ADVANCED CROCHETERS right here on my website.

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