5 Ways to Prevent Gaps at Beginning of Crochet Rows

There’s more than one way to prevent those ugly gaps at the beginning of crochet rows. I’ll explain what causes those annoying holes, and how to fix them.

Learn these methods, then choose the one that works best for you in each situation. Different yarns and stitch patterns will create different results, so the solution in one project might be different from the solution in a different project.

I’m using American crochet terminology.

Blame the Turning Chain

A turning chain usually starts a new row or round. Its purpose is to bring the hook up to the level of the new row. When the turning chain is used as a double crochet or a treble crochet, it sits in the location of that stitch, but it’s a lot skinnier than the stitch it’s standing in for.

A regular chain-3 turning chain leaves a gap in double crochet.

Also, the turning chain usually sits a bit to the side, rather than squarely on top of the stitch below it, causing a gap.

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#1: Use a Shorter Turning Chain

Instructions typically tell you to chain 3 for a double crochet or chain 4 for a treble crochet. Instead, chain one less. In other words, chain 2 for a double-crochet turn or chain 3 for a treble-crochet turn. You still count that turning chain as a stitch, so work the next “real” stitch into the next stitch of the row, and work the last stitch of the next row into the top of that shorter turning chain.

#2: Don’t Use the Turning Chain as a Stitch

Use a turning chain, but don’t count it as a stitch.

Use a regular turning chain (chain-2 or chain-3 for double crochet, chain-3 or chain-4 for treble crochet),  but put the first stitch of the row into the stitch at the base of the turning chain. Put the last stitch of the next row into the top of the last “real” stitch, ignoring the turning chain.

#3: Use a False Turning Chain

Pull the first loop of the row up to the level of the new row, then chain 1. Put the first stitch into the very first stitch of the row, and ignore the turning chain as you did with the method above.

#4: Use An Alternative Turning Chain

Alternate turning chain example
An alternate turning chain prevents a gap.

Without chaining, work a single crochet into the first stitch. Insert the hook into the left-most leg of the stitch you just made (or the right-most leg for left-handed crocheters), yarn over and pull up a loop, yarn over and pull through 2 loops. You’ve just put another single crochet into the left-most leg of the previous stitch.

For a double crochet row, you should now be up to the level of the double crochet stitch. Count this alternative turning chain as a stitch, and continue working across the row. When you come back to this stitch at the end of the next row, be sure to work into the top of it.

For a treble crochet row, put one more single crochet into the left-most (right-most) leg of the single crochet, for a total of 3 single crochets, before continuing with your treble crochets.

#5 Use Linked Stitches

This method links the turning chain directly to the first stitch. Count this linked stitch as a stitch, and be sure to work into the top of it when you get to it on the next row.

For double crochet, ch 2, insert the hook into the back bump of the 2nd chain from the hook, yarn over and pull up a loop, insert hook into stitch at base of chain, yarn over and pull up a loop. You now have 3 loops on your hook. (Yarn over, pull through 2 loops) 2 times to complete the double crochet.

For treble crochet, ch 3, insert the hook into the back bump of the 2nd chain from the hook, yarn over and pull up a loop, insert the hook into the back bump of the next chain, yarn over and pull up a loop, insert hook into stitch at base of chain, yarn over and pull up a loop. You now have 4 loops on your hook. (Yarn over, pull through 2 loops) 3 times to complete the treble crochet.

Other Solutions

If you are starting a new yarn, you can use a standing stitch in place of a turning chain. These 5 ways to prevent gaps at the beginning of crochet rows are by no means the only ones you have available to you, but they are the ones I use most often.

If you know a different method that works well for you, please share it in the comments below.

11 Replies to “5 Ways to Prevent Gaps at Beginning of Crochet Rows”

  1. Hi Edie
    Can you tell me what a spike single crochet st is from your book Beyond the Square motif 29, pg 68
    Thank you

  2. love this 🙂 where were you for the past 50 years of my crocheting life? ohh so many afghans that look wanky… but the kids didn’t mind. thank you so much. G-d bless.

  3. Well, I’ve been around for the past 25 years or so, but I’m glad you found me now! 😉

  4. I feel like Marsha but only 80 years of my crocheting life,thank you so much, and I am 90 and still learning., you are never too old to learn.
    God Bless You

  5. Hi! My go to method is to chain 3 for turning and counting it as a double crochet. However, when I go back over it in the next row, I work my double crochet into the back bump of the top of the turning chain. This will move it more into the position of a regular stitch.
    Hope this helps!

  6. Thank you, Edie, for these turning chain gap tips and tricks. They’re great…. I hate that chain-3 gap on a finished project and any tip to remedy it is so very welcome! I’ve tried a couple of your methods but can’t wait to try the rest! And Marianne, thank you for giving us your method for alleviating the gap. I’m excited to try your tip as well!

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