A pink crochet hook with a pink yarn.
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The Chain Stitch: Your Comprehensive Guide [+Video]

When you first step into the enchanting world of crochet, you soon learn that every masterpiece begins with a single loop. It’s a humble chain stitch!

In this article, you will learn what it is, how to make a chain stitch, and why it is so important. This knowledge will lay the groundwork for countless crochet projects, so keep reading! Discover the magic of the chain stitch and bring your crochet dreams to life!

What is a chain stitch?

It’s the most basic technique in crochet and a second thing to learn after a slip knot. We create the interconnected loops with a simple movement of a crochet hook.

The chain stitch is abbreviated to “ch” and goes by the same name both in US and UK Terms. In crochet diagrams, however, we mark it with a small circle, ellipse, or dot.

What are the uses of a chain stitch?

  1. The foundation chain – we use chains to start the work.
  2. Turning chains – to move to the next row, we need a couple of chain stitches.
  3. Creating chain spaces– eyelets, arches, and spaces are often created with chains.
  4. Working in the round – to start a circular piece, you can create a loop with a couple of chains and a slip stitch.

The importance of the foundation chain

Chain stitches have many purposes, but the most important one is starting the work. To learn everything you need to know about the foundation chain, see my article on this topic: Everything You Need to Know about Foundation Chain.

How to make a Chain Stitch Step-by-Step

  1. Start with a slip knot or a working loop on the hook.
  2. Grab the yarn with the crochet hook and lead it through the loop on the hook.
  3. It will form a new loop.
  4. Repeat as many times as you need.

Video Tutorial for Right-Handed Crocheters

This tutorial will show you slowly how to start crochet.

Video Tutorial for Left-Handed Crocheters

This tutorial will show you how to chain when you crochet with your left hand.

Photo-Tutorial

Learn more on how to make a chain stitch in the article I wrote for YourCrochet.com.

Fixing Common Mistakes

Fixing dropped stitches

Dropping stitches while creating a long chain of crochet stitches is a very common problem, even for experienced makers. To prevent it, learn how to properly move your non-dominant hand alongside the growing chain.

When your stitches unravel, simply insert the hook in the last stitch that is left intact, and recount them to make sure you’re following the pattern correctly.


Adjusting tension

Learning how to maintain proper tension is one of the most crucial skills for crocheters, but it takes some practice.

If your chain stitches are too loose, consider using a smaller hook, or crocheting more tightly.

If your chains are too tight (especially in the foundation chain), your first row of work will be distorted. Try using a bigger crochet hook, or relax the grip.


Avoiding twisted chains

When we work with long chains, they easily get twisted. It’s important to keep them in check, especially when reattaching them to the crochet piece, or when making a foundation chain. Twisted stitches will negatively impact the look of your work.

To prevent chains from twisting, follow along the chain with the thumb and the index finger of your non-dominant hand. It’s very important to know the anatomy of the chain and to place new stitches in the right positions.


Correcting mistakes in the chain

As with any mistakes in crochet, correcting them requires these steps:

  1. Assess the problem and come up with the solution
  2. Unravel to the point of the mistake
  3. Correct it
  4. Redo the part you’ve unraveled.

If you’re not sure how to correct your mistake, consult the web or crocheting groups before you start unraveling.

FAQ


What type of yarn is the best for creating chain stitches?

You can use absolutely any kind of yarn to make these stitches, but for beginners, I’d recommend medium-weight yarn. Choose the yarn that is relatively smooth and easy to work with, and remember to pair the crochet hook size accordingly.


Can I adjust the size of my chain stitches?

Sure, but it mainly depends on your crocheting style (tight or loose), and choosing the right size of hook. Keep experimenting until the stitches feel right, or check the recommendations on the yarn label.


What can I do instead of using a traditional chain stitch to start the work?

To avoid starting with the regular chain stitch, you can try making an advanced foundation chain. I’ve covered it in this article.

Summary

I hope that by now you know how important and indispensable is a chain stitch. It is a building block of almost all crochet projects and a skill you simply won’t go without. Now that you’re ready, grab your crochet hook and let your creativity guide you!


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