Chain (ch)

The chain is the foundation stitch of crochet, similar to casting on in knit.  With few exceptions, most crochet patterns will start with instructions to chain a specified number of stitches.

Pattern Abbreviation:  ch

If you are chaining to start a project, it is necessary to begin the work by creating a slip knot on the hook. Do not count this slip knot in your chain count. Once your slip knot is created, or if you are instructed to chain within your pattern at some point other than the beginning of the instructions, use the following steps to chain:

Step 1:  "Yarn Over" by bringing your working yarn around the hook from the back, around to the front and into the hook.  "Yarn Over" is a common crochet term and is commonly abbreviated as "yo".

TIP:  Although the hook in this picture is shown somewhat downwards, it is always easier to yarn over when the hook opening is directly facing you. 

Step 2:  Engage the yarn that has been passed  into the hook by turning the hook downward and pulling through the loop that is on the hook.

TIP:  Tension is a crucial for easy crocheting.  2 key tips to acheive good tension and allow your hook to move smoothly:

  • With thumb and forefinger opposite the hook, grab the base of the crochet loop that is on the hook to create a little tension.  This tension will make it easier to pass the hook and yarn through the loop.
  • Turn the hook!  Yarn over with hook facing you.  Turn the hook opening downwards as you move it through the loop on the hook.
Step 3:  Pull this loop entirely though the loop that was previously on the hook.  This completes the chain.
Step 4:  Chain as many times as the pattern directs.  If working a "Base Chain" which will form the foundation of your project, you will later be directed to work crochet stitches into this chain.