A few years ago my family took a holiday to Chicago and while we were there we visited the Sears Tower. Once inside we starting reading some information about how the tower was built. A large percentage of the facts were on how they built the foundation. I read that, “The foundation and the floor slabs have some 2,000,000 cubic feet of concrete”… enough to build an eight-lane highway 5 miles long.” They went through a lot of trouble to ensure that the building had a good foundational base before they even starting building one floor of the 110 story tower. In other words they wanted a solid foundation.
The chain stitch in crocheting is similar to the foundation of a building. For most all crocheting projects you will start with a foundation chain. It is one that the rest of your project will be built upon. It is that foundation row that holds all your stitches and all your succeeding rows together. If it is done incorrectly, it could ruin the look of your project no matter how perfect your remaining stitches are from that point on.
When I am teaching students it seems that some of them want to rush through the chain and are more excited about getting to the pattern itself and the more advanced stitches. What they do not realize is that their project will only be as good as their foundation row. I cannot emphasize the importance it is to develop good habits by taking extra care with the chain stitch. Again remember, this is the starting point to ensure the quality and look of your project.
The following are common mistakes that people make when crocheting the chain stitch;
1. You need to stop and see if your chain is too tight or to loose. If your chain row seems to be too tight or too hard to insert your hook into you might want to consider crocheting just your chain foundation row with a larger hook, then switchng back to the required hook to finish the project. This one small thing can sometimes make the difference in how the final project will look.
If your chains are coming out to loose, you might want to work on your tension.
2. There are two sides to your chain stitch. One side has bumps, which is considered the back side (pictured above) and the other is in the appearance of a tear drops (pictured below) which is considered the front side. Unless otherwise told you want to take care to crochet into the front. I have seen a lot of people twist their chain and crohcet into both sides. This will take away from the appearance and also make it more difficult to crochet your edging.
3. When counting chain stitches never count the loop that is on the hook or the slip knot at the end of the chain.
4. You also will want to leave a tail in the beginning long enough to easily weave in to ensure that your project will not unravel.
Tip: When I am crocheting a long chain (for example 225) I will place a stitch holder every 25 stitches. This not only helps me to keep track of the number of stitches, but also helps me not to miscount and discover my mistake after I had crocheted the first row.
A chain stitch is a very integral part when you are crocheting. There are several important stitches that a new crocheter must master; the chain stitch is the first. With that in mind lets get started with the first stitch you will learn on your journey to the world of crocheting.
Tutorial for Chain Stitch:
1. Take the tail of the yarn around the front of the hook
and then proceeding over the top
and then wrap around back toward you around the tail and under your fingers.
2. Hold hook in your right hand wile keeping even tension of the yarn with your left hand.
3. Bring hook under yarn from front to back. (This is also known as yarn over hook or yo)
4. Pull yarn through the loop on hook. — 1 ch is made
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each chain stitch.
Tip: It is easier to pull yarn through loops if the hook is turned slightly down with yarn pulled firmly around hook.
I hope that this will be the first of many tutorials for you on your journey to mastering the art of crocheting.