Beginner Crochet Series – Learning How to Do the Chain Stitch

A series of chain stitches
A series of chain stitches that make a chain.

Today, we are going to learn the foundation of all crochet projects.  Whether you are going back and forth in rows or going around a center point, you will need to know the chain stitch.  And you won’t just see it in the beginning of a project.  It is used in many other stitches and patterns.

Unfortunately, the chain stitch also seems to be the hardest for a crocheter to master.  This is why I recommend doing chains upon chains until you have enough to wrap around several hundred Christmas Trees.  (Okay, that last sentence was a bit of an exaggeration, but you should practice as much as you can.)

In the beginning the yarn, hook, and your many fingers as well as your brain won’t be in synch.  There is so much that needs to be learned for what will be in hindsight very simple.  Take it as slow as you need to in the beginning.  I’m not going to be there looking over your shoulder.  Nor will I be judging your progress.  I’m here as your guide.  Everyone learns at their own pace and in their own way.

I do recommend that you think about each step as you do it.  Keep your eyes on where your hook, yarn, and your fingers are.  They are your tools and they work together.  Eventually, it will all become second nature and you won’t have to pay such close attention to your every move.

The First Chain

Making your first chain stitch
Click on the photo to make it larger.
Part 2 of making your first chain stitch
Click on the photo to make it larger.

Make a slip knot as I showed you in last week’s lesson.

Hold the hook in your right hand with your thumb and middle finger.  Most hooks have a flat area on the shaft that shows you where you need to rest these two fingers.  The tip of your hook should be facing you.

Place your pointer finger on the loop that is on your hook.  Feel free to take a few moments to move the loop up and down the shaft of the hook with your pointer finger.  The loop should move freely, but it should not be loose.  You can also roll the hook between your fingers.  This will help you become familiar with using the hook to your advantage as you crochet.

Once you become familiar with the loop and the hook, put your pointer finger on the loop to keep it stable.  Grasp the ball end of the yarn in your middle, ring, and pinky fingers while you keep your pointer finger straight.  Take the hook end of the yarn and moving from back to front, lay the yarn over your left pointer finger.

Hold the tail end of the yarn as close to the slip knot between your thumb and middle finger.  This will help keep the loop in place on your hook.  Also note that you will be moving these fingers often as you make your chain.  I tend to reposition my pinch on the chain every time I start to do a new chain stitch.

Keep your right pointer finger on the loop that is on the hook to hold it steady.

Pull the yarn over the hook from back to front using the yarn that is lying over your left pointer finger.

Readjust where you are pinching your thumb and middle finger of your left hand which will be either on the slip knot (for the first chain stitch) or the last chain stitch you did (for the rest of the chain).  If you pull this end down it will open up the loop that is on the hook into a teardrop hole that you will use to pull the yarn through.

Lift up the pointer on your right hand as you roll the hook down, pulling the yarn that is under the tip of the hook through.

Congrats!  You’ve made your very first chain stitch.

The Second Chain and Beyond!

Your second chain
This is how the second chain should look. Click on the photo to see it larger.

Pull the loop down the shaft of the hook to start your next chain stitch.

Put your right pointer finger on the loop to keep it stable.

Yarn over from back to front with the yarn that is over your left pointer finger.

Readjust your left thumb and middle finger on the chain you have made so that these fingers are closer to the hook.

Roll the hook down and pull the loop that is under the tip of the hook through the teardrop shaped loop that is on your hook.

Note:  Keep the ball end of the yarn  that is over your pointer finger and between your middle finger somewhat taut.  This helps the yarn pull evenly as you do your yarn overs and complete the stitch.  I tend to only readjust this when I need to fiddle with the ball of yarn, but you may need to readjust more until you become familiar with crocheting.

One Final Note

In the beginning your chains are going to be incredibly tight.  This is due mostly to the stress of learning something new.  They are also going to be very wonky looking because you haven’t learned to be consistent just yet.  It’s all fine for now.  Everything will come with time and practice.

If become frustrated, stop and take a break.  Sometimes you just need to let your brain marinate this new information for a little while.  Have a cup of tea or go for a walk.  Maybe even give it a good night’s sleep.  There is no timeline that needs to be followed.  You can go at your own pace.

Homework Assignment

Practice crocheting a chain.  It can be as long as you want it to be.  If you feel you need it, use up the entire ball or skein or yarn.  Or you can pull the chain stitches out and reuse the yarn.  It’s all up to you as long as you practice.

If you need some more visual assistance I suggest watching The Crochet Crowd’s video from this point.  And of course, should you have any questions just leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to help you.

Have an excellent day!

Nose Bumps
Nose bumps from the Bun Sisters

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