How to chain stitch: a beginner’s guide to crochet

Ready, set, crochet!
Loading the player...

If you’re keen to try your hand at crochet, the first stitch you need to master is the chain stitch.

Watch: How to pretty up your flower pots 

After making a slip knot on your hook, the next step in most crochet patterns is to make a chain stitch. This will be the foundation for the rest of your project.

How to chain stitch in crochet

The chain stitch is a simple stitch that creates a chain of loops. While the tension of your chain stitch can greatly impact the rest of your project, it’s still a pretty easy stitch to master. 

What you’ll need:


Step: 1

Grab your yarn and hook. There’s two method for holding your crochet hook, Here is how to do them both. 

Pencil method

how to hold crochet hook pencil method

Hold the hook like a pencil in your right hand (if you’re right-handed), about 3-5 cm from the hooked end. If your hook has a flat area, you’ll find it comfortable to hold it there. 

Knife method

how to hold crochet hook

Hold the hook between your thumb and forefinger, about 3-5 cm from the hooked end, resting the end of the hook against your palm. This gives you lots of control. 

How to hold the yarn

Method 1

how to hold yarn crochet

Pass the ball end of the yarn between the little finger and the third finger of your left hand (if you are right-handed), then behind the third and middle fingers, over your index finger. 

Method 2

how to hold yarn when crocheting

Loop the ball end of the yarn loosely around the little finger of your left hand, then take it over the third finger, behind the middle finger and over your index finger.

Step. 2

how to chain stitch crochet

Hold the hook in your right hand, and both the yarn end and the working yarn in your left hand. Move the hook under and over the yarn to wrap it around anticlockwise.

Step. 3

how to chain stitch crochet

Pull the hook towards the slip knot, catching the yarn in the hook and pulling it through the slip knot loop. This forms your first chain (ch) stitch. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to form a chain length.

Step. 4 

how to chain stitch crochet

This is what your row of chains will look like. Hold the chain and your left hand near the hook to keep the tension. Keep going until you have the number of chains stated in your pattern. 

How to count chains crochet

how to count chains in crochet

Each chain or loop counts as one stitch. Never count your first slip knot or the loop on the hook (called the working loop). So that you can be accurate, make sure the chain is not twisted and that the front is facing you.

how to chain stitch crochet
(Credit: Getty)

Chain stitch tips

  • Practice makes perfect. It can take some time to master crochet, but with a little practice, you will be chain stitching with your eyes closed. 
  • Tension. As mentioned earlier, your tension can affect your whole project. If your stitches are too loose or too tight, your chain won’t look smooth and even.

Our new knit and crochet collection is out now

The Better Homes and Gardens Knit & Crochet Collection 2023 has more than 76 fabulous projects and comes with free chunky knitting needles and a crochet hook. Plus, there are stylish and simple patterns from Cardigang, the cool new kids on the knitting block!


Shop Now

You might also like:

How to crochet a chunky throw

How to crochet a granny square

How to crochet a flower

Related stories