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How to Chain in Crochet (ch) for Beginners

As a beginner crocheter, you are probably wondering how to chain in crochet. The crochet stitch ‘ch’ is an entry level stitch that is the foundation for so many crochet patterns.

Our complete step by step tutorial for how to make a chain stitch will help you begin crocheting right now.

What is a Chain Stitch?

In Crochet, a series of chain stitches is the foundation of your crochet project. It is one of the beginner crochet stitches that are essential to learn.

The abbreviation for chain stitch is ‘ch’ and is usually followed by a number, such as ‘ch 10.’ That means 10 chain stitches.

Subsequent stitches and rows are then built upon the chain. This foundation chain serves the same basic function ‘Casting On’ does in knitting patterns. 

To make a chain stitch, 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.

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This tutorial will teach you how to chain in crochet with detailed step by step instructions and photos, perfect for a beginner crocheter. 

See our list of essential crochet supplies you actually need! And nothing you don’t!

How to Make a Crochet Chain

1. Make a Slip Knot

The first step is to make a simple slip knot with your crochet hook. If you are not familiar with this stitch, see our step by step guide for how to make a slip knot.

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)

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

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. 

2. Yarn Over

Next, 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.

3. Pull the chain stitch

Next you will 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.

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.

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!

How Do You Count Chain Stitches?

To count chain stitches, 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.

Does the Slip Knot Count as a Stitch in Crochet?

A slip knot does not count as a crochet stitch. 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.

Be sure to Pin This tutorial for how to chain stitch in crochet to save for later!

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