Starting Your Chain

Most projects start with a chain stitch and as it becomes the foundation of your entire piece it is important to keep each stitch equal - meaning that each loop is the same size.

To begin the chain make a loop, then pull a loop of yarn through the loop.

 Now you have your beginning loop. The best way that I have found to maintain the same loop size is to keep tension on the string that feeds your project. I do this by looping the string around my left index finger and using my middle and ring fingers and thumb to hold my project.

Every time that you pull a new loop, pull the yarn snug, this will keep the loop size the same as the hook size. Now if you're going for a looser crochet, than this rule goes straight out the window.

Next, grab another bit of yarn and pull another loop, and another and another. You can buy a stitch counter at a craft store or make check marks on a piece of paper as you go. I've tried it both ways and both work fine.

 Ok, so now you have your chain. The next question is, what goes on the next row? If you're following a pattern it's going to say to start your next row X number of loops from the hook. Why? you might ask. Because to make each row equal in height the turning chain(s) must be the same height as the stitch you'll use in the next row.

If you're putting in a row of SC (single crochets) than you need 1 chain - see above where I'm pointing at the 2 chains from the hook. One loop is for the turning chain, the next is where you start.

If you're putting in a row of HDC or DC (half and full double crochet) than you need 2 chains. Above you'll see I skipped 2 chains and am now pointing at the third chain from the hook.
If you're putting in a row of TC (triple crochet) than you need 3 chains. etc etc. So if you have a pattern, make sure to put in the correct number of chains for turning. If you making it up, follow the above guidelines.

Ok, so next you need to decide what you're going to build your next row on. The basic convention is the whole chain (top two loops), the front loop or the back loop. Crocheting in both loops is the standard and unless your pattern tells you differently, this is what you should do. Crocheting in either the front or back loop will create pattern and help you make the project bend (for boxes or bags and such).
 In the above photo I've put the hook in the front loop.
 In the above photo I've put the hook in the back loop.
 In the above photo I've put the hook in both loops.

 Ok, so here's an example of 2 rows of SC - check back tomorrow for step-by-step instructions on SC.

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