Crocheting Blog

How to Crochet Foundation Single Crochet (FSC)

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!

Row of Foundation Single Crochet
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What are foundation crochet stitches?

Most crochet patterns call for you to create a chain of a certain length before beginning the 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.”

Why use foundation crochet stitches?

  • Some people find it tedious to work their first row into a very long chain, sometimes causing them to miss stitches. This isn’t an issue with foundation crochet.
  • Some yarn types don’t work well when 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.
  • Starting chains sometimes have 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.

When can you use a chainless foundation?

Some patterns specifically call for foundation crochet or chainless foundation to begin a project. However, you can use this technique with any pattern.

To change a pattern to begin with a foundation chain, simply 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’ll 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. If you’re familiar with Tunisian crochet, you’ll find some similarities between the the FSC and a Tunisian edge stitch before working a return pass.

The “chain” will be on the left side of the vertical strip (if you’re 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.

Step 1:

Two chains on crohet hook

Begin with a slip knot on your crochet hook, then chain two.

Step 2:

Insert hook into first chain stitch for fsc

Insert your hook into the first chain stitch.

Step 3:

Two loops on hook

Yarn over and pull up one loop. You should have two loops on the hook when you complete this step.

Step 4:

Place locking stitch marker around foundation single crochet chain

Yarn over and pull the yarn through the first loop on your hook. The yarn you just pulled through is actually a chain stitch. You might want to add a removable stitch marker here so you don’t forget. 

Step 5:

One finished foundation single crochet

Yarn over and pull through both of the loops on your hook 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. 

Step 6:

Remember how you made a chain in Step 4? That’s the chain you’ll now be working into next.

Insert hook into crochet chain marked with stitch marker

Insert your crochet hook into the space indicated above — the space between the chain and the single crochet.

Step 7:

Pull up loop for next foundation crochet chain

Yarn over and pull up one loop. You should have two loops on your hook. Yarn over and pull the yarn through the first loop on your hook.

You’ve just made your next chain stitch. Now is a good time to move your locking stitch marker and place it around the chain stitch, as shown above.

Step 8:

Two finished foundation crochet stitches

To finish the second foundation crochet stitch, yarn over and pull through both loops on the hook.

Step 9:

Repeat Steps 6-8 until you have the number of stitches you need for your project.

Row of Foundation Single crochet stitched in gray yarn

When you’ve completed the first row, turn your work. You are now ready to begin Row 2 of your project.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2015 and was updated with new photos based on reader feedback in March 2018.

18 Comments

Susan34

Although unusual for Craftsy, this is one of the worst tutorials for foundation single crochet. Of all the photos, doesn’t even show the unique insertion point for the remaining stitches using a photo and/or arrow – just text. You can do better than that, Craftsy!

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Ann

Couldn’t agree more with the first poster. Lousy tutorial. Got a big blob of I don’t know what on my hook

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Millie Vega Pineiro

I don’t get this tutorial. What chain does the hook insert ? We need more and clearer photos for visual learning students. I say students because if you trying to learn something you are a student.

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Carol

I am a newbie, so I followed the text and pictures exactly and was able to reproduce your work. Thank you for this lovely tutorial! Carol in SA

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annie

I’m also a “newbie” and I tried following the written instructions to no avail. A clear photo of the very critical step #7 appears to have been omitted. Unusually unhelpful tutorial for Craftsy. Disappointing.

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Kim

I concur. The photo included with Step 7 seems to be another version of the photo from Step 6. I do NOT see the chain stitch or the single crochet, and therefore have no idea what loops I’m supposed to insert the hook under. I either end up with a curvy blob or I unravel.

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Kim

However, it seems that this problem was identified in May and there’s been no effort to modify the tutorial. I guess Craftsy just doesn’t care.

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Heather

thank you for having this tutorial online – I always forget how to do this starting foundation and I’m never at home with my books when I need to get started!

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Shelly

Tutorial seems just fine so long as you follow it exactly as written. Thank you, Craftsy! 🙂

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Tami

I thought they did a great job with the tutorial. Just follow the steps 1 at a time and look at the pictures for backup. How much easier could they have made it? For the people who didn’t like it, all I can say is you can please everybody all the time. Way to go Craftsy, another great tutorial. 🙂

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Rosemarie

What a time saver! I’m fairly new at crochet. After a few attempts, I really looked at each step and couldn’t believe how easy it was. I was just trying to make it more difficult. Thanks so much for this tutorial!

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Jj

Thanks so much. I started this project a year ago, but gave up. Now, I think I’ve got it, I had to learn it this evening to make a scarf by chaining the longer side. There’s no way I can chain over 100 stitches, single crochet and proceed. This is a big help. If one inserts the stitch marker at the chain one, it all becomes clear

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Laura

I tried watching videos of this technique but couldn’t figure out where to put the hook after the first fsc. Then I looked up this tutorial and the written instructions were so much clearer than watching a video. Yes, the link to the diagram doesn’t work, but I figured it out. The other photos made it much easier to figure out, and now my fsc looks like it is supposed to!

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Mary Riedel

Interesting. I will be doing a scarf in vertical rows and the pattern is completely SC in the back loop only. Does that mean I also do the SC of the FSC in the back loop only?

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missy

Best foundation row explanation ever!!! Now makes sense.

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Diana

I just learned this technique – had a bit of a problem at first until I really looked at that I was doing. And, lo and behold, I finally saw the space at which to insert the hook to begin the next stitch. Success at last, and I completed the Black Cat Slouch Hat using this technique to begin.

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Sarah

Thank you SO much! I’ve been crocheting for 2 years and always skipped over patterns with fsc because the written instructions were confusing and I didn’t want to bother. Because of this post, I learned how tonight AND I’m venturing into my first garment because of it!

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Char

The one thing this doesn’t show is counting stitches when you are at the end – this was confusing and frustrating as a new crocheter!

Reply

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