Where to Put the First Stitch of a Crochet Row

Most new crocheters question where to put the first stitch of a crochet row. It’s not always clear from reading a pattern where that hook should go. If you don’t get it right, you may gain or lose stitches and have uneven edges.

Knowing where to put the first stitch of a crochet row in every situation will help you maintain the same number of stitches and keep your edges straight!

This article uses American crochet terminology. I’m assuming you want to keep the same number of stitches on each row, and to have straight sides. Be sure to watch the videos listed below to get a good close-up look of where I’m putting the first stitch of the second row in different situations.

Turning Chains

The key to knowing where to put your hook lies in understanding turning chains. Turning chains are the chains at the beginning of a row that bring your hook up to the level of the next row, ready to work the new row.

Your pattern will tell you how many turning chains to work, and whether that turning chain counts as a stitch. If the pattern doesn’t indicate whether the turning chain counts, you can decide for yourself.

Type of
Stitch
Typical
Turning
Chain
Does Turning
Chain Count
as a Stitch?
scch 1usually not
hdcch 2sometimes; you can decide
dcch 3usually but not always
trch 4usually but not always

When the Turning Chain Counts as a Stitch

If the turning chain counts as a stitch and you don’t want to increase or decrease, the second stitch of the row or round (the first “real” dc, for example) goes into the stitch that is one stitch to the left of the stitch at the base of the turning chain. Or one stitch to the right if you are working left-handed.

The last stitch of a row goes into the top of the turning chain from the row below. The last stitch of a round goes into the last stitch of the previous round.

Here’s what that looks like in a stitch charts and on a swatch. This swatch and stitch chart begins with a foundation chain of 13 and has 11 stitches across each row, because the turning chain counts as a stitch.

Photograph showing where to put the first stitch of a row when the turning chain counts as a stitch.

Watch How to Work Double Crochet to see me transition from Row 1 to Row 2 on a swatch, and count the ch-3 turning chain as a stitch.

In How to Work Treble Crochet, I also count the ch-4 turning chain as a stitch.

Photo showing location of last stitch of row when ch-3 counts as a stitch

When the turning chain counts as a stitch, if you put the first stitch into the same stitch as the base of the turning chain, you’ll increase. If you don’t remember to put the last stitch into the top of the turning chain, you’ll decrease.

Photo showing same number of stitches on each row using turning chain as a stitch
There are the same number of stitches in each row, counting the turning chain on each row as a stitch.

When the Turning Chain Doesn’t Count as a Stitch

If the turning chain does not count as a stitch, and you want to maintain the same number of stitches, the first stitch of the second row goes into the stitch at the base of the turning chain because you completely ignore the turning chain.

The last stitch of the row goes into the last “real” dc, because the turning chain is ignored. Here’s what that looks like in a stitch chart and on a swatch. This swatch and stitch chart begins with a foundation chain of 14 and has 11 stitches across each row, because the turning chain does not count as a stitch.

Photo showing where to put the first stitch of a row when the turning chain is not a stitch

Watch Single Crochet with Edie Eckman starting at about 3:32 to see me transition from Row 1 to Row 2 on a swatch, but not count the ch-1 turning chain as a stitch.

In How to Work Half Double Crochet, I do not count the ch-2 turning chain as a stitch.

Photo showing end of row when turning chain is not used as a stitch
Photo showing same number of stitches on each row not using turning chain as a stitch
There are the same number of stitches in each row, not counting the turning chain on each row as a stitch.

When the turning chain does not count as a stitch, if you skip the stitch at the base of the chain and work into the next stitch, you’ll decrease. If you put the last stitch of the row into a turning chain, you’ll increase.

Reminders: Where to Put the First Stitch

Remember: When the turning chain counts as a stitch, treat it like one.

It has magically become a stitch (because the pattern told you so). Why would you put another stitch in the same place? And why would you not work into it on the way back?

Remember: When the turning chain does not count as a stitch, ignore it completely.

Your edges will be straight, your stitch count will stay the same, and you’ll stop worrying about where that stitch should go!

For more about turning chains, read 5 Ways to Prevent Gaps at the Beginning of Crochet Rows. To learn more about this and other ways to improve your crochet, check out my Improve Your Crochet: Essential Techniques on Bluprint.

Free Knitting Pattern: Quick & Easy Summer Placemats

Easy Summer Placemats Free Knitting Pattern by Edie Eckman
Easy Summer Placemats Free Knitting Pattern designed by Edie Eckman

Brighten up your summer with these quick and easy summer placemats. They are a perfect first project for beginning knitters, and they make a great house-warming gift for new neighbors.

This post may contain affiliate links, which help support me but don’t cost you anything extra.

The Yarn

Craft Yarn Council Size 5 yarn icon

Bulky-weight yarn makes the knitting go fast! Lion Brand Rewind Tape Yarn is fun to work with. Because of its construction, it’s less bulky than you would think, and it imparts a great texture to the fabric.

 

Lion Brand Rewind Tape Yarn

I love the exuberant colors that I used, but you can also choose from more muted shades to suit your taste. The instructions below are for two placemats in different main colors. If you want to make four placemats, two of each color shown, with a yellow stripe on each, you’ll need two balls each of the blue and pink, and one ball of the yellow.

 

The Pattern

Garter stitch is about as basic as a knitting stitch can be, and that’s all you need to know to knit these placemats! Minimal pattern-reading is required, and gauge doesn’t even matter all that much.

Easy Summer Placemats Free Knitting Pattern designed by Edie Eckman

Quick & Easy Summer Placemats

One size: 16″ x 13″/40.6 x 33 cm

Materials
Lion Brand Rewind Tape Yarn (70% polyester/30% viscose, 3.5 oz / 100 g, 242 yd / 221 m), 1 ball each color 148 Fish Bowl (A), color 195 Think Pink (B), and color 157 Make Lemonade (C) [See note above about yarn amounts for multiple placemats.]

US Size 10.5 / 6.5 mm knitting needles

Stitch marker or piece of waste yarn

Gauge
13 sts and 22 rows = 4″ / 10 cm in garter stitch (knit every row)
Gauge is not crucial in this project.
Watch How to Measure Gauge in Knitted Garter Stitch for more information.

Pattern Notes
Leave a 6″ / 15 cm tail for weaving in each time you begin and end a yarn.

Beginning knitters will want to knit the pattern exactly as written. More experienced knitters may create a slip-stitch selvedge by slipping the last stitch of each row knitwise with yarn in front.

Abbreviations
k: knit
RS: right side
st(s): stitch(es)
WS: wrong side

Instructions
With A, long-tail cast-on 42 sts. Knit 1 WS row. Turn work, and place a marker or piece of waste yarn on this side to indicate that the side is the right side.

Knit every row until piece measures 13″ / 33 cm from cast-on edge, ending with a WS row. Cut A, leaving a 6″ / 15 cm tail for weaving in.

With C, knit 10 rows (5 garter stitch ridges). Cut C.

With B, knit 2 rows (1 garter stitch ridge). Cut B.

With A, knit 6 rows (3 garter stitch ridges). Bind off.

Weave in ends.

Make a second placemat, substituting B for A and A for B in the instructions above.

Other Projects

Check out these other easy knitting patterns:

Blue Springs Double Cowl

Easy Quick-Knit One-Skein Tea Cozy

Molly Hat

Stoneybrook Shawlette

Zig Zag Eyelet Scarf

 

Flame Stitch Crochet Stitch Pattern

Show your colors with the Flame Stitch crochet stitch pattern! There are several variations of this stitch, but they are all great ways to use different yarn colors. Try it in vibrant hues, or more subtle gradient shades.

This pattern uses American crochet terminology. You’ll be using single crochet, double crochet, and long double crochet (also know as spike double crochet). Watch the video below for more details.

This post contains affiliate links, which won’t cost you anything extra but may provide a small income to me.

You’ll need at least thee colors of yarn, in any weight, and a hook in an appropriate size for the yarn.  The yarn I’m using is Red Heart Chic Sheep by Marly Bird. I’m using a 5.5 mm Clover Amour crochet hook.

Flame Stitch

Flame Stitch stitch chart

Worked in three colors: A, B and C.

With A, chain a multiple of 4 + 2.

Set-Up Row 1 (WS): Working in back bumps of chains, sc in 2nd ch from hook, *ch 3, skip 3 ch, sc in next ch; rep from * across, changing to B on last st, turn.

Set-Up Row 2: Ch 3 (counts as dc throughout), *dc in next ch-space, skip 1 ch of foundation ch, dc in back bump of next foundation ch; dc in same ch-3 space**, ch 1; rep from * to last st, ending last rep at **, dc in last sc, turn.

Row 1 (WS): Ch 1, sc in first dc, ch 1, skip 1 dc, sc in next dc, *ch 3, skip (dc, ch 1, dc), sc in next dc; rep from * to last 2 sts, ch 1, skip 1 dc, sc in last st changing to C, turn.

Row 2: Ch 3, dc in next ch-1 space, *ch 1, skip 1 sc, dc in next ch-3 space, dc in next sc 2 rows below, enclosing the ch-3 and ch-1 spaces, dc in same ch-3 space; rep from * to last 3 sts, ch 1, skip 1 sc, dc in next ch-1 space, dc in last st, turn.

Row 3: Ch 1, sc in first dc, *ch 3, skip (dc, ch 1, dc), sc in next dc; rep from * across, changing to A on last st, turn.

Row 4: Ch 3, *dc in next ch-3 space, dc in next sc 2 rows below, dc in same ch-3 space; rep from * to last st, dc in last st, turn.

Repeat Rows 1-4, continuing in established A, B, C color sequence, for desired length. End with a RS row.

Last row (WS):  Ch 1, [sc in each dc and long dc, and long dc in sc 1 row below each ch-1 space] across. Fasten off. Cut other two colors.

Love this stitch? Want to see it in action? Want to learn more crochet techniques like this? The Skill-Builder Crochet Blanket pattern offers lots of opportunity to grow your crocheting skills. Written text with helpful notes, video tutorials and charts combine to make it easy to learn more than you ever knew.

Buy the Pattern Button

Linked Treble Crochet Stitch Pattern

Linked treble crochet swatch

Crocheters, expand your stitch pattern knowledge with linked treble crochet! While regular treble crochet stitches are quite tall, with space between the posts, linked treble stitches are connected post-to-post, creating a solid fabric.

Linked stitches are sort of a cross between regular treble crochet and Tunisian crochet, worked with a regular crochet hook. Note that I’m using American crochet terminology here. UK crocheters will know this as linked double treble crochet.

This post contains affiliate links which may provide a small income to me but don’t cost you anything extra.

Grab some yarn and an appropriately-sized hook, and practice along with me. I’m using Marly Bird’s Chic Sheep yarn from Red Heart, with a Clover Amour crochet hook, size 5.5 mm.

Be sure to watch the video, where I demonstrate two different ways to work into the chain on the first stitch of the row. Choose your favorite.

Linked Treble Crochet

Beginning Linked Treble in progress
Beginning Linked Treble

Special Stitches
Beginning Linked Treble (Beg Ltr):
Ch 4 (does not count as a st), insert hook into 2nd ch from hook, yarn over and pull up a loop, insert hook into next ch, yarn over and pull up a loop, insert hook into st at base of ch-4, yarn over and pull up a loop (4 loops are on hook) [(yarn over, pull through 2 loops] 3 times.

Arrows showing path of hook
Arrows show the three places to put your hook in linked treble crochet

Linked Treble: Insert hook into upper horizontal bar of previous st, yarn over and pull up a loop, insert hook into lower horizontal bar of previous st, yarn over and pull up a loop, insert hook into next st, yarn over and pull up a loop (4 loops are on hook) [(yarn over, pull through 2 loops] 3 times.

Instructions

Chain any multiple.

Set-Up Row: Ch 1, sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across, turn.

Row 1: Beginning Ltr, Ltr in each st across, turn.

Rep Row 1 for pattern.

Linked Trebles Stitch Chart

Abbreviations
Beg Ltr:
beginning linked treble crochet (see Special Stitches)
ch: chain
Ltr: linked treble crochet (see Special Stitches)
sc: single crochet