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How to Crochet the Chain Stitch

By Susan Brittain, Karen Manthey

The chain stitch (abbreviated ch) is the basis for all crochet. Almost every crochet pattern begins with a chain stitch. If you’re working in rows, your first row is a series of chain stitches, which is not surprisingly called a foundation chain.

When you’re ready to start a new row, guess what, you use the chain stitch. Sometimes, you work just a few chain stitches and join them together to create a ring, which you use when working in rounds.

Make your first chain stitch:

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1Make a slip knot and slide it onto the shaft of your hook.

You make a yarn loop that looks sort of like a pretzel.

2With your yarn hand forefinger, yarn over (yo) the hook from back to front.

Be sure to hold the tail of the slip knot between the thumb and middle finger of your yarn hand.

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3Slide the yarn from the yarn over into the throat of the hook.

With your hook hand, rotate the hook toward you so that the throat faces the slip knot.

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4With gentle pressure upward on the hook, pull the hook, carrying the wrapped strand of yarn, through the loop on your hook.

One chain stitch (ch) is now complete, and one loop remains on your hook. Each chain stitch should be the same size as the one before it, which means you must maintain even tension on the yarn for all your stitches. If your stitches are very tight, try relaxing your hands. If your stitches are too loose, shorten up the distance between your yarn hand and hook hand, and lift the forefinger of your yarn hand.