Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Working into the foundation chain

Did you know that there are many ways of working into your starting (foundation) chain? Each has a different look and feel to it. There isn't one right way; how you choose to work into your foundation chain can affect your overall product. Let's first take a closer look at your foundation chain. (For this, I'm using a large crochet hook to make it easy to see the strands of each chain stitch.)
Anatomy of a chain:

If you look closely at your chain, you'll see that on one side there is a series of Vs. The reverse side has a bunch of bumps or ridges. (The front is the side with the Vs.) Each chain stitch is made up of three individual strands. The top and bottom of the V and the back ridge.

A couple of ways of working into the chain:
1. Work stitches under the top strand of the V only.
Using this method the first row of stitches (single crochet stitches in this instance) has a slight gap between them and the starting chain. The unworked loops of the chain will shift slightly toward you as you work this row. 

2. Work stitches under the back ridge (bump).

This method creates a starting edge that is exactly like the finished edge. (It has the same appearance of a row of single crochet stitches.) The advantage here is that it's easier to add additional rows or edgings to this side of your work.

3. Work under the top strand and the back ridge.

This method is similar to the first one I listed in that the remaining, unworked loop of the chain shifts toward the front of your work as you work the first row. This is typically the method I use mostly because I like to have a little substance to where I work my stitches. It does however make working edgings or additional rows (or working on the opposite side of the chain) a little difficult because there's only one strand of the chain left.

There are a couple of other ways you could work into the chain. For example, you could work under both strands of the V. (I find this a little difficult to do especially if you make your chain stitches tight.) There is also a method of working your foundation chain AND the first row at the same time. (YouTube has a number of videos on how to do this. Here's one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A83tzk49DzI)

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