Foundation crochet stitches are designed to skip the usual first step of creating a long crochet chain to begin your work, instead making the first row and the chain stitch in one step. For example, in the Foundation Single Crochet (FSC) stitch, you'll create the chain row and the first row of single crochet at the same time. Cool, right?!
Read on to learn when and why you might want to use foundation crochet stitches, plus how to do the FSC!
Images via Kathryn Vercillo of Crochet Concupiscence
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Understanding foundation crochet stitches
A traditional crochet pattern calls for you to create a chain of a certain length before you begin your first row of the work. Foundation crochet stitches combine these two steps into one, creating the chain at the same time that you create the first row. That's why these stitches are sometimes called "chainless crochet." There are several benefits to this approach:
- Some people find it tedious to work their first row into a very long chain, sometimes causing them to miss stitches. This is not an issue with foundation crochet.
- Some yarn types don't lend themselves well to working into a base chain because the stitches are tougher to see (novelty yarns are often like this); it's easier to work directly into the first row.
- Many people complain that their starting chain has a different tension than the rest of the project. This problem is eliminated with foundation stitches.
- Foundation stitches have a little bit of give to them, making them a great choice for projects such as garments where you want a little bit of stretch.
Some patterns specifically call for foundation crochet or chainless foundation to begin a project. However, you can use this technique with any pattern.
Simple eliminate the chain from the equation and begin with the first row, creating the same number of foundation stitches as the row calls for. For example, if the first row in your pattern calls for 100 single crochet stitches, you will skip the chain and make 100 foundation single crochet stitches instead.
How to crochet Foundational Single Crochet (FSC)
As you work your foundation single crochet, you'll notice that this first part of the project is worked vertically instead of horizontally. For those of you who are familiar with Tunisian crochet, crochet designer Doris Chan explains that, "It resembles the way the edge stitch is worked as you begin a return pass in TSS." The "chain" will be on the left side of the vertical strip (if you are a right-handed crocheter) and the first row of single crochet will appear on the right side of this vertical strip. Let's give it a try.
Begin with a slip knot on your crochet hook.
Insert your hook into the first chain stitch.
Yarn over and pull through one loop. You should have two loops on the hook when you complete this step.
Yarn over and pull through one loop again. The yarn you just pulled through is actually a chain stitch. You might want to add a removable stitch marker so you don't forget.
Yarn over and pull through both loops to make a single crochet. You should have one loop on the hook when you complete this step.
You've just finished your first foundation crochet stitch. Pretty easy, right? The second stitch is a little trickier, so stay with us.
Remember how we said you made a chain in Step 5? That's the chain you'll now be working into:
Insert your crochet hook into the space indicated above — the space between the chain and the single crochet.
Now complete Steps 4 – 6 to make another FSC: YO and pull through one loop; YO and pull through one loop again; YO and pull through both loops.
Then you'll have a two FSCs:
Repeat step 7 until you have the desired number of stitches to start your project.
When you have complete the first row, turn your work. You are now ready to begin Row 2 of your project.
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