Crochet for beginners chain stitch.

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Kate is a designer and content creator, specializing in crafts and textile-related topics. She runs the Crochetpedia website, where she shares her crochet patterns, teaches through video tutorials, and researches crochet techniques. The experience as a pattern designer and education in fashion helped her better understand the world of textiles and handicraft. Kate comes from the family of makers, knitting and sewing from the early age. She lives by the Polish seaside with her partner and a dog.

The chain stitch is the fundamental building block of crochet, so learn it with our step-by-step tutorials! We invite all beginner crocheters, as well as seasoned crocheters to revisit the basics, to learn how to crochet. Mastering the chain stitch will unlock an array of crochet projects, stitches and techniques.

In this guide, we’ll take you through the process of crocheting a perfect chain. We will show you the anatomy of the foundation chain, and teach you how to count stitches. Let’s dive in and discover the artistry of crochet, one chain stitch at a time!

If you’re new to crochet, start by learning how to make a slip knot.

Basics of Starting Crochet

What is a chain stitch and how to use it in crochet?

The chain stitch is the most important element in crochet because it is the basis of most projects. You create it by working interconnected loops, which become the starting point for subsequent stitches.

We use chain stitches for various purposes:

  • Creating a foundation chain.
  • Turning chains – adding the height in subsequent rows.
  • Chain spaces – adding spaces between the stitches inside the rows.
  • Chain loops – turning a chain into a loop allows you to crochet in the round.
  • Picots – three or four chains folded on themselves and attached to the same base create a decorative element.

Can I use a different type of yarn for chain stitch?

Yes, you can make a chain stitch with virtually any yarn you choose, but you have to match the yarn with the right hook size.

How do I create a foundation chain for a crochet project?

You can learn everything about the foundation chain by following the tutorials below!

Start by making a slip knot on your crochet hook. Then, yarn over and make chain stitches. When you have the foundation chain ready, check how many turning chains you need to proceed with the stitch of your choice.

The foundation chain is the starting point for your work to get the proper size and dimensions of your project.

How to Crochet a Chain Stitch

Follow the instructions to learn how to make a chain stitch. You can choose between a video tutorial, step-by-step photos and written instructions.

Video Tutorial

Video tutorial by Crochetpedia

Step-By-Step Tutorial

Follow the steps and written instructions below.

A series of photos showing how to crochet a crochet stitch.
  1. Keep the hook in your dominant hand and the working yarn in your non-dominant hand.
  2. Wrap the yarn around the hook (yarn over), grab it with the hook, and pull the yarn through the loop.
  3. You now have one chain stitch ready and a working loop on your hook.
  4. Repeat the process: yarn over and pull the yarn through the loop.
  5. You now have two chain stitches and a working loop on your hook. Remember to keep both the working yarn and the emerging chain in your non-dominant hand.
  6. Repeat as many times as you need, until you have the desired number of chain stitches.

Crochet Foundation Chain Anatomy

The foundation chain consists of these elements:

  • Working yarn – the yarn attached to the skein.
  • Yarn tail – the short end.
  • Slip knot – attaches the yarn to the hook, allowing you to start crocheting. Learn how to make it with this tutorial.
  • Working loop – the loop currently on your hook.
  • Front loop – the arm of the “v” further away from you.
  • Back loop – the arm of the “v” situated closer to you.
  • Back bump – the bottom part of the stitch, a little bump in between the “v” arms.
A hand holding a crochet hook and a crochet hook.

How to Count Crochet Stitches

You may have been wondering: How do I count chain stitches in a crochet project? Let us show you, but remember that counting stitches is important, especially if you are following a pattern.

Rules to remember

  • The working loop (the one on your hook) doesn’t count as a stitch.
  • Count the stitches in the direction from the hook to the slip knot.
  • To identify a stitch, look for a “v” shape.
How to crochet a zigzag stitch with a crochet hook.

The next step is to learn how to crochet a single crochet stitch.

Read more about this subject on our other websites


What is the difference between a slip stitch and a chain stitch?

The slip stitch “clings” to the crochet work. You have to insert the hook in the stitch or the crochet work to make it.

Slip stitches are always attached to something or join the first and the last stitch of the round. You can also use slip stitches to create colorful textures on the surface of the work or move across a row without adding height.

The chain stitch, on the other hand, allows you to make a chain that is “hanging freely”. You don’t have to insert your hook in the stitch.

The chain in the middle of the row is attached only by its starting point and can be reattached wherever you want. This way you can create chain spaces for decorative lace elements.

What are the common mistakes beginners make when attempting a chain stitch?

  • Maintaining the right tension – making the stitches too tight or too loose.
  • Twisted stitches – when working the first row of stitches, it’s sometimes hard to keep the foundation chain from twisting. Make sure you know how the chain is built and where to insert the hook.
  • Inconsistent loop sizes – if you’re not confident in keeping the right tension, the stitches may vary in size. This will distort the foundation chain, and the only thing to do is practice.

How do I join a chain stitch to create a round or circular project?

To turn a chain in the loop, insert your hook in the first stitch (slip knot) and make a slip stitch there. This will form a continuous loop, and you can work from there.

Can I use a chain stitch to create different types of crochet stitches?

Of course, the chain stitch is a crucial part of many more or less advanced techniques, even the granny square. It’s a foundation for almost all stitch patterns and designs.


You are now well-equipped to start incorporating chain stitches into your crochet works. These foundational skills will come in handy every step of the way on your new crochet journey.

Now learn how to crochet other basic crochet stitches with our stitch tutorials. Try single crochet, double crochet stitch, or treble crochet stitch next.

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