A recent Facebook poll concluded that many of you need help with crochet rows, specifically which stitch to work into first and which stitch to end with. Well folks, that’s what I’m here for, to serve you!
I’m very excited to be covering this topic. It’s such a great learning opportunity and your crochet projects will directly benefit from it! Let’s just dive right in, shall we?
Crochet Rows – You Have Two Options
That’s right, there is not one but two ways to begin and end a crochet row. Perhaps this is why there is so much confusion surrounding the topic. No matter what the case may be, in order to understand where to begin and end your rows, you need to first understand that there are two options. It’s also important for you to know that we are referring to solid stitch patterns (e.g. single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet).
Some say there is a “right way” and a “wrong way”. I just say there are two ways and you can decide which one is right for you.
Option number one has one important principle – turning chains count as stitches.
So what does that mean exactly? Well as you know, crochet stitches have some height to them and we need to make turning chains in order to keep our row nice and flat. Single crochets require one turning chain, half double crochets need two turning chains and double crochets need three turning chains. Now that we’re clear on that, lets have a look at a picture of option number one.
Direct your attention to the starting chain and where it is coming from. In this option, we are counting the turning chain as a stitch so the V directly at the base of the chain three is NOT where we want to work our first stitch, because our chain is our first stitch. So we want to work our first double crochet stitch into the stitch next to the starting chain as shown here.
Finish crocheting the row as normal. When you get to the end, remember our golden rule…turning chains count as stitches in option one. So what does this mean for the end of the row? Our last stitch must be made in the starting chain of the previous row, specifically in the third chain (for this double crochet swatch).
If you decide that option number one is the way you’d like to go, just remember that turning chains count as stitches. Keep track of your stitch count every row until you get the hang of it and you will have nice, clean edges.
Option number two has one important principle – turning chains do NOT count as stitches.
Have a look at the following picture of a double crochet swatch using option number two for rows. When looking at just the turning chain, it looks just like option number one. The difference is where you work your first stitch.
For option number two, remember we are not counting our turning chains as stitches. So we will work our first double crochet into the stitch with the turning chain.
You will finish crocheting the row as normal. At the end of the row, your last stitch will be the last double crochet and you will not work into the turning chain. Here’s what the end of the row will look like in that case.
Some people feel like this is the “wrong way” to do things. I say there are no wrong ways in crochet, just personal preferences. Both options have methods of maintaining the proper stitch count and that’s the most important part. There are certainly advantages and disadvantages to both. We’ll cover that next!
Option #1 Vs. Option #2
As with many things, there are pros and cons to both examples. I’ll spell them out here so you can make the decision of which option is right for you.
Option #1 Pros
- clean, flat edges
Option #1 Cons
- visible opening in between turning chain and second to last stitch (more noticeable with double crochet and treble crochet stitches)
- Sometimes difficult to work stitch into turning chain
Option #2 Pros
- easy to work in stitches, no turning chains to work into
- slightly “bumpier” edges
- easier to add extra stitches
In my opinion, the most important part when crocheting in rows is to maintain your stitch count each row. As long as you understand turning chains and their role in each row, you can choose either option you’re comfortable with.
I find myself using option number one for single crochet rows or half double crochet rows because you can’t see the pesky gap due to the appearance of the turning chain. For double crochet rows, I tend to use option number two, but then hide the bumpy edges by adding a single crochet border.
The Decision is Yours!
Now that you have all the facts, it’s time to choose which method you will use before you start your next project. There’s no right or wrong answer here!
Until Next Time!