How to work into the chain

So you know how to create a chain – awesome! But did you know there are actually 2 main ways to then crochet into that chain? Which method you choose depends on what sort of finish you want on this beginning edge. I definitely have a preference, but first thing’s first…

Counting chain stitches

If the pattern you’re following specifies a particular number of chains to be created, it’s super important that you crochet exactly that many chains. This creates the foundation of your crochet item and is determined by the type / group of stitches used.

The only exception to this important step is if you’re making your item bigger or smaller than the pattern specifies – in this case, you will need to know the type / group of stitches used in the pattern and understand how to properly increase or decrease the beginning chain… But this takes quite a bit of practice and crochet know-how, if the pattern doesn’t specify how to make your item larger or smaller.

Remember from How to know the parts of the chain that a chain is made up of six (6) different sections: for example, the ‘bar’ or ‘bump’ on the underside of the chain; and the ‘V’ on the topside of the chain, made up of the front loop and the back loop… Well this is how you count the number of stitches in your chain – every ‘V’ indicates a stitch.

The image below shows exactly the same photo of the same chain, side by side. I’m hoping you will be able to see and count the ‘V’ stitches when you compare the different ways I’ve labelled them:

It’s also important to remember that the loop on your crochet hook isn’t counted as a stitch. And the same applies for the slip knot at the beginning of the chain.

OPTION 1: Crocheting into the topside of the chain

In this method you will be working into the back loop of the ‘V’ on the topside of the chain.

Note that you will very very rarely work into the first chain from the crochet hook. I personally have never come across instructions that say to use this stitch, but that doesn’t mean it won’t come up from time to time… I just imagine it could be pretty tricky to do!

Your finished product will look like this:

Depending on the type of stitch used first, after creating your chain, will generally indicate which loop you will work into going back along the chain. The table below will help you know as a *general rule* which chain you will work into depending on the very first stitch in the pattern:

UK US Loop
Double crochet (dc) Single crochet (sc) Second (2nd) loop from your hook
Half-treble crochet (htr) Half-double crochet (hdc) Second (2nd) loop from your hook
Treble crochet (tr) Double crochet (dc) Third (3rd) loop from your hook
Double-treble crochet (dtr) Treble crochet (tr) Fourth (4th) loop from your hook
Treble-treble crochet (trtr) Double-treble crochet (dtr) Fifth (5th) loop from your hook

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule so be sure to read the pattern carefully. The pattern will always state how many stitches (i.e. ‘V’ chains)w to skip before working your first stitch.

OPTION 2: Crocheting into the underside of the chain

This is definitely my favourite way to crochet into the chain as it creates a much cleaner finish on this beginning edge, and will look the same as on the opposite final edge. Let me explain…

This option utilises the underside ‘bars’ / ‘bumps’ of the chain so that the ‘V’ is what is ends up showing on this bottom edge.

Admittedly, this is not the natural way of working into the chain, so it may take some practice. What you need to do is twist the chain slightly so the underside / ‘bars’ / ‘bumps’ are showing on top so that you can then work your stitches into them:

Then it’s just a matter of working into each ‘bar’ / ‘bump’ until the end of the chain where you’ll reach the initial slip knot:

I promise the bars / bumps are there… I know this photo looks very similar to the one in ‘OPTION 1’; but I promise you’ll know what I’m talking about when you look at your own chain in real life!


Again, always read the pattern carefully in case it says to skip any stitches! And don’t forget to use the table above as a basic stitch-skipping guide.

Now, the next thing to learn is how to crochet actual stitches… Stay tuned! And happy crocheting! Pixel Heart

2 thoughts on “How to work into the chain”

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