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Turning Chain in Crochet, What is it ? + Free Downloadable Chart.

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Will learn how many chains you need depending on which stitch you are using.

What is a Turning Chain?

In crochet,a turning chain is the amount that we chain at the beginning of a row before we move on to the next . However their purpose is to make a transition between one row of crochet and the next row, their most important goal it to maintain  the height of each row. 

A turning chain can be either a single chain stitch ​or a group of chain stitches, depending on the type of stitches you are using for the row.

Turning chains are  made at the end of each row before turning the work ( can be done also after turning work, at the beginning of each row).

In crochet patterns, the turning chain is usually abbreviated as tch or may also be called the turn chain

Even though you forget to make the turning chains you will notice it for sure because  Your crochet row will be compressed at the first stitch and your piece will not be square.

Turning chain in crochet

Turning chain length?

The length of the turning chain depends on the height of the stitch you are crocheting. Tall stitches require more chain stitches; short stitches require fewer chains.

Remember than the purpose of turning chains is to keep the same length in all rows.

Does the turning chain count as a stitch?

Usually turning chains count as the first stitch of the following row, except in rows of slip stitch or single crochet. AlthoughIt it is not always like that, we are going to talk about it later.

I prepared the following chart with information about turning chain lengths, if they count as first stitches and more…


How many chain stitches in the Turning Chain?

Does it count as a stitch?
 In which chain stitch place the hook when working in the foundation chain?
slip stitch ( sl st )0NOon  1st chain from the hook
single crochet ( sc )1NOon 2nd chain from the hook
half double crochet( hdc )2NOon 3rd chain from the hook
double crochet ( dc )3YESon 4th ch from the hook
treble crochet( tr )4YESon 5th ch from the hook


As I mentioned before sometimes we do not follow these rules. Advanced crocheters and designers prefer sometimes not to do what it is in the chart. Sometimes depending on the project or the result we want to obtain we can do it in another way.

For instance, when you are working rows in half double crochet you can make the 2 turning chains count as the first stitch of the next row, the gap between the turning chain and the next half double crochet is not noticeable at all.

If the pattern states that the turning chains count as the first stitch of row, then you will skip the first stitch and place your first half double crochet into the next stitch.

When working in rows of taller stitches as double crochet it is different. Even though the turning chain in this case counts as the  first stitch of the next row, the gap between the turning chain and next stitch is really noticeable.


Thats is why de designer makes some changes depending on the project. They decide if th turning chain count or not as a stitch. All that in order to get  a better result.

Most of the times designers, and me too, when working in double crochet rows decide to make a 2 chains turning chain and then the first double crochet on the first stitch. That way looks better and with  straighter edges too.

In the case of treble crochet rows, instead of making a 4 chains turning chain , just chain 3. I really love the results.

Free Chart!

Above all , what is important any time you follow a pattern is to take into account the decision of the designer. And to know more about it, just read carefully the NOTES section in each pattern, usually it is well explained.

I leave you a Downloadable PDF CHART for you to have it any time you need it.

I hope you liked this post and learned a little bit more about crochet and turning chains. Any questions just leave me  a comment below. Thanks for reading!


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