There are many ways to crochet into a starting chain. You could crochet into your starting chain by inserting your hook into the front loop, the back loop, both loops, or even the back bump. Have you ever wondered which one of these different methods you should be using?
Anatomy of the Starting Chain
The starting chain (also called the foundation or beginning chain) is the row of chain stitches you make at the beginning of the piece. The rest of your stitches are then worked into this row of chains.
Chain stitches have a front loop and a back loop. These form the two separate “legs” of the “v” shape in the chain stitch, when you’re looking at the chain stitch from the right side, or front side.
The photo below shows a chain stitch viewed from the right side. The photo right below that shows the front loop circled in green, and the back loop circled in yellow.
If you were to turn this row of chains over and look at its wrong side, you’d see a back bump behind every single chain stitch, as in the photos below.
Working into the Back Loop
This is one of the most commonly taught ways to work into a chain. I find this to be the easiest method. Here’s a swatch where I worked into the back loop of the foundation chain.
The starting chain is on the bottom of the swatch. You end up with what looks like intertwined yarn where the starting chain was.
Working into the Front Loop
Another method is to work into the front loop. Inserting your hook into the front loop can be a bit awkward at first, but overall this is still a pretty easy method.
You end up with a slightly different, yet tidy looking border where the starting chain was.
Working into Both Loops
This method is slightly more difficult, especially if you have very tight tension. This is because the yarn ends up having less slack when you work into both loops, which can make it harder to insert your hook.
Working into both loops leaves the back bump unworked, so the result is a slightly scalloped border made up of the back bumps.
Working into Back Bump
Working into the back bump is possibly the least common method, but it yields a pretty result.
The bottom edge of your work will have a border that matches the top edge of your crochet.
It can be a bit awkward to insert your hook into this back bump. If you plan to use this method, I’d recommend crocheting the foundation chain with loose tension, or with a slightly larger hook than what you intend to use for the rest of the project to make it easier for you to get your hook under there.
Picking a method
Each method brings something different to the table. The method you should use will likely depend on what you’re making. If you’re crocheting a blanket or a scarf, but you don’t want to add a border to the bottom edge, you might choose to work into the back bumps of your foundation chain so that the two opposing edges have a matching border. Or you might work into both loops to get that scalloped look. But if you’re just making a gauge swatch, you might opt to work in the back loops of your chain for an easy time.
Which one of these is your favorite method? Do you prefer a different method that I didn’t talk about here? Please let me know in the comments below!