Starting without a chain: foundation stitches – Newsletter October 2019

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Starting without a chain: foundation stitches

In my previous newsletter, we had a good look at the crochet chain, the classic starting point for any crochet project.

But the classic chain can be problematic, particularly because of its lack of elasticity.

There are ways to work around this problem and make sure that your chain isn’t too tight. Using a larger hook to make your chain is a good idea, and what I recommend if you are a beginner.

But if you want to avoid the chain entirely, it is also possible! You can work your first row of stitches directly, using foundation stitches. I will show you how, first with dc’s.

Ch 3. We are going to work our first dc in the 3rd ch from the hook (at the arrow).

Yo, insert the hook in the 3rd ch from the hook, yo and pull up a loop. There are 3 loops on the hook, just as for any dc.

However, before we finish this particular dc, we are going to add a step.

Yo, pull through 1 loop. You’ve just made 1 ch (at the arrow in the photo).

Finish your dc as usual:

We now have a dc worked in the newly created chain stitch.

This chain stitch is where we are going to insert our hook to make the next dc.

Flip the work toward you so you can better locate the two strands under which you will insert your hook. (If you need a refresher on the different strands in a chain stitch, please refer to the newsletter for September 2019.)

Yo and pull up a loop – there are 3 loops on the hook.

Ch 1 to make a foundation for the new dc (yo, pull through 1 loop on the hook) …

… and finish your dc as usual.


I find it easier to work foundation stitches holding your work vertically (as in the pictures).

The chain at the base of the previous stitch tends to try to hide a little – make sure to flip the work over so you can go and get both strands.

You can, of course, do the same thing with sc’s!

Ch 2.

Insert your hook in the 2nd ch from the hook (the first chain made) under both strands.

Yo, pull up a loop – there are 2 loops on the hook.

Yo, pull through 1 loop – you have just made the chain that will be at the base of your sc.

Yo, pull through both loops on the hook: your sc is finished.

Continue following the same system as with the dc’s, just using sc instead!

On Rachel Henri’s YouTube channel (Rachel is a wonderful designer from Belgium who works in Tunisian crochet – her channel is mostly bilingual) you can learn how to make foundation slip stitches.

The method is slightly different but very interesting.

Ch 2.

Insert the hook in the 2nd ch from hook, yo and pull up a loop.

Yo, pull through both loops on hook. No chain stitch is made, so we are now going to work under the strands on the left side of the stitch (see arrow in photo).

Flip the work toward you to see the two strands, and insert your hook under both.

Yo, pull up a loop…

… yo, pull through both loops on the hook.

Repeat! Visually, you obtain something that resembles a braid. It’s a good, elastic base for your work, and will not add a lot of height compared to a classic chain.

Have you tried the different foundation stitches? What do you think about them? Feel free to share your experiences, ideas and questions in the comments below.

Next time we will discuss selvedges!

See you soon!

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