Turning chains are used in crochet patterns for transitioning from row to row. Often when reading a pattern it will read, “Chain # and turn” or “Turn and Chain #”

Common abbreviations you’ll see for the turning chain include tch or t-ch and are recognized by the Craft Yarn Council.

The general rule of thumb for turning chains is:

(Click on link to learn each stitch)

One thing to note is that the turning chain can be worked either before of after turning your work…it is largely a personal preference.

Also important:

  • Single crochet: Turning chain does not count as the first stitch. Work the first stitch of the row.
  • All other stitches: Turning chain (normally) does count as the first stitch. Skip the first stitch and continue as usual.

With that being said, you’ll want to refer to your particular pattern.  These are general guidelines and patterns can vary.

With all of this being said, it it good to know the basics, but sometimes rules can be broken!  If something doesn’t look right, tweaking it a little is perfectly fine. Just be sure to do this for all rows so modifications are consistent looking.

Let’s work a turning chain together…

Below we have a swatch of double crochet rows and we’ve the end of our row,

Because we’re going to do the next row in double crochet too, chain three,

And flip the work over (turn):

Now we can continue with our row…happy crocheting!

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6 thoughts on “Turning Chain Basics

  1. i think i just understood y the length of a beanie i was crocheting in vertical kept reducing.. it is all in sc but everytime i turn, i crochet in second stitch….. that does reduce the length of an item, doesn't it?

    1. Yes! Normally for single crochet you do work the first stitch. However, definitely check the particular pattern you are using, sometimes it varies from pattern to pattern depending on the design.

  2. I am never sure where to put the last stitch in a row. That sounds so silly, but I have not figured it out and my rows slant after awhile because I am constantly guessing if I should stop where it looks like the last stitch is or if it is on the side. If I am trying to make a large item like a baby blanket it is too hard to constantly count each stitch.
    Thank you for any suggestions, and your tutorial about turning chains is very helpful to me, but how do you know which stitch is the last in a row?

    1. I understand exactly what you are saying! Sometimes it can be hard to find…it has a tendency to distort or kind of bend around the side. One thing that helps me is to give it a tug so that everything straightens out…the last stitch in the row will be located right above the stitch from the previous row. Giving that corner a nice tug will kind of pull everything apart for a moment so you can see everything better. I hope that helps, that's what I usually do!

  3. I also have learned that if I go into that first loop in the row, and pull the yarn through both loops, instead of doing another stitch, it gets rid of the "hole" that used to show up. I'm not explaining that very well, so maybe you can say it better than I have. I am so happy to find your blog. It's awesome.

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