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.

Crochet Pattern: Tower Stitch Granny Square

Tower Stitch Granny SquareHere’s a new take on the classic granny square. Use it wherever you would use a regular granny square.

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The pattern is written for four colors (A, B, C & D), but use as many colors as you like. I used Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice for this square. It’s a great way to use up small amounts of yarn!

If you’ve never crocheted a Tower Stitch before, check out this blog post or watch the video.

Tower Stitch Granny Square

Tower Stitch Granny Square chart

Abbreviations & Special Stitches

Ch: chain

Dc: double crochet

Edc (extended double crochet): Yarn over, insert hook into next stitch, yarn over hook and pull up a loop, yarn over, pull through 1 loop on hook, (yarn over, pull through 2 loops) 2 times.

Partial Tower St: Complete 1 edc, dc into base of edc as follows:  yarn over, insert hook under both strands at base of edc, yarn over and pull up a loop, (yarn over and pull through 2 loops) 2 times.

Rep: repeat

Rnd(s): round(s)

St(s): stitch(es)

Tower St: Complete 1 edc,  2 dcs in base of previous edc as follows:  *yarn over, insert hook under both strands at base of edc, yarn over hook and pull up a loop, (yarn over and pull through 2 loops) 2 times; rep from * once more.

 Instructions

With A, ch 4, join with slip st to form a ring OR begin with an adjustable ring/Magic Ring..

Rnd 1: Ch 3 (counts as dc), 11 dc in ring, join with sl st to top of ch-3—12 dc. Fasten off.

Rnd 2: Join B in any space between 2 dcs, ch 3, Tower st in same space, *sk 2 dc, 2 Tower sts in space between next 2 dc; rep from * 2 more times, sk 3 dc, partial Tower st in beginning space, join with sl st to top of ch-3. Fasten off.

Rnd 3: Join C in corner space between 2 Tower sts, ch 3, Tower st in same space, *Tower st in space between next 2 Tower sts, 2 Tower sts in space between next 2 Tower sts; rep from * 2 more times, Tower st in space between next 2 Tower sts, partial Tower st in beginning space, join with slip st to top of ch-3. Fasten off.

Rnd 4: Join A in corner space between 2 Tower sts, ch 3, Tower st in same space, *(Tower st in space between next 2 Tower sts) 2 times, 2 Tower sts in space between next 2 Tower sts; rep from * around, ending last rep partial Tower st in beginning space, join with slip st to top of ch-3. Fasten off.

Rnd 5: Join B in corner space between 2 Tower sts, ch 3, Tower st in same sp, *(Tower st in space between next 2 Tower sts) 3 times, 2 Tower sts in space between next 2 Tower sts; rep from * around, ending last rep partial Tower st in beginning space, join with slip st to top of ch-3. Fasten off.

Weave in ends.

What Will You Do Next?

To learn some almost-painless ways to join these squares to make a blanket or other item, watch one of my Craftsy videos, or read Connect the Shapes Crochet Motifs.

Or work along with me in the Baby Blanket Crochet Along.

There are SO many things you can do with a granny square, and SO many ways to put them together!

Crochet Answer Book 2nd edition
The Crochet Answer Book

For answers to all your crochet questions, read The Crochet Answer Book. For more online resources, check out Crochet: Basics & Beyond.