How to Chain in Crochet for Beginners (ch)

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Learn how to easily make a crochet foundation chain with this complete step by step tutorial. Perfect for beginning crocheters!

So, you have finally found the perfect beginner crochet pattern and the first instruction reads ‘ch 10’. What does that mean?

In crochet, the abbreviation ‘ch’ means to make a chain stitch. The chain is a basic foundation stitch for many (but not all) crochet patterns and it is super simple to master.

In a nutshell, all you have to do is make a slip knot and then begin pulling loops of yarn, one for each chain stitch required in your pattern. This post will teach you how to chain in crochet with detailed, step by step instructions and photos, perfect for a beginner crocheter.

How to make a chain stitch for crochet

What is a Chain Stitch?

In Crochet, a series of chain stitches is the foundation of your crochet project. Subsequent stitches and rows are then built upon the chain. This foundation chain serves the same basic function ‘Casting On’ does in knitting patterns.

Supplies needed

  • Yarn (Bulkier yarn is easier for beginners)
  • Crochet Hook (to match the yarn, check the yarn label)

This Complete Crochet Kit includes everything you need to get started including Yarn, Crochet Hooks, 6 E-Books, Weaving Needles and Stitch Markers.

How to make a crochet chain

1. Make a Slip Knot

Step 1 is to make a simple slip knot with your crochet hook.

Pull out a long tail of yarn with your right hand. Then, wrap the yarn around the fingers of your left hand. (See the photos below)

step one for making a slip knot
Make a slip knot to begin your crochet chain

With your right hand, insert the hook under the bottom thread, hook the tail end of the yarn and pull up a loop.

Pull the yarn through the loop
Loose slip knot

Hold onto the two ends of the yarn and pull to form a knot. Now, with your fingers, tighten the knot on the crochet hook. You want the yarn to be snug but the hook should still be able to be moved freely.

Crochet slip knot
Slip knot for making a chain stitch in crochet

2. Yarn Over

In Step 2, you will loop the yarn over the hook which is called a Yarn Over (abbreviation – yo)

Hold the working yarn (long end) with your left hand by looping it over the index finger, under the next two fingers and over the pinky (see photo above). This gives you more control over the tension of the yarn.

Pinch the slip knot with your thumb and middle finger to hold it while you work the stitches.

(There are many different ways of holding your yarn, this method is simply the one that works for me. Feel free to experiment!)

Now with the hook in your right hand, grab the yarn from underneath.

yarn over to crochet a chain

3. Pull the chain stitch

Step 3: Draw the hook with the yarn through the loop.

You did the Yarn Over and with the yarn now secured by the hook, pull it backwards through the loop that is already on your hook (this is the Slip Knot you created in Step 1).

You should now have two loops: one loop on the hook and one loop off the hook.

Yarn over and pull through the loop
making a crochet chain
Chain stitch in crochet

4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3

Continue making chain stitches (Steps 2 & 3) until you have the number required by your particular pattern.

Note: As explained below, the Slip Knot does not count as a Chain Stitch.

How to make a chain stitch for crochet

See the video for crocheting a chain stitch:

Congratulations, you have now crocheted a foundation chain. It may seem a little fussy at first, getting used to how to hold your hands, crochet hook and the yarn but with a little practice, you will master this skill in no time!

Also see How to work a Single Crochet Stitch (sc) and Making a Half Double Crochet Stitch (hdc), how to Double Crochet (dc) and triple crochet

How do you count chain stitches?

To count, gently stretch and straighten out the chain, if it is twisted, which sometimes happens. Now look at your stitches. Do you see V shapes? If you don’t, then turn the chain over to the other side and you should see them.

Each ‘V’ shape is one foundation chain stitch.

Counting the stitches in the crochet chain

Does the slip knot count as a stitch in crochet?

No, it does not. The slip knot is never counted as the first chain stitch in crocheting. This is simply used to the get the yarn onto the hook. Therefore, you do not crochet in the slip knot. The next chain counts as the first stitch.

What is the easiest thing to crochet?

There are a quite a few easy crochet patterns that are perfect for beginners to get comfortable holding the yarn and hook. Furthermore, many of these easy patterns give you a chance to practice basic crochet stitches over and over.

Some good patterns for beginner crocheters include:

  • Simple Granny Squares
  • Crochet Necklaces
  • Scarves
  • Dish Cloths
  • Trivets, Coasters and Potholders

how to make a crochet chain tutorial
making a foundation chain

How to Chain in Crochet (for Beginners)

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