If you’ve crocheted anything ever, there’s been a time where you’ve finished a huge project that you’ve put a ton of work into, shaken it out to show it off with pride and your eyes zero in on an issue. The first rows of your crochet project are one of two things: too loose, so your corners point out in a weird wave, or too tight, so they curve inward. Ugh! After all the love and attention you’ve put into a crochet project, the last thing you want to see is an unforgiving weird curved edge. Meet the foundation single crochet (FSC): a technique where you create the chains and the single crochets at the same time.
By using the foundation single crochet (or also sometimes called the chainless single crochet), you not only create the chains and the single crochets at the same time but you also take advantage of your tension from the very beginning.
The benefits of using the foundation single crochet versus a chain and then a row of single crochet are several fold. By using the foundation single crochet instead….
- Your first row benefits from your tension from the start. You shouldn’t have to go up (or down) a hook size to make sure your starting chains aren’t too tight (or too loose).
- You create the chains and single crochets at the same time, which is faster (after you’ve gotten the hang of it).
- The foundation single crochets are more stretchy and forgiving than a chain and single crochet row, so you shouldn’t have that unfortunate curl.
- Especially with doing long chains for projects like blankets or scarves, you won’t lose count of the chains because there aren’t any. Just count your stitches in your first row like you normally would.
- Twisted chains? What’s that? There are no more twisted chains because there isn’t a long strand of chains.
- Working into the back bump? Not anymore!
- Borders on projects will be easier to complete because the bottom of your chains will look more similar to stitches and be easier to work into (similar to how working in the back bump looks).
Should I go on?
Or, maybe you’re just tired of doing chains and then a row of single crochet. There must be a faster way, right? There is. The foundation single crochet.
When to Use the Foundation Single Crochet
Before we get into the tutorial, you might be wondering when you should or when you can use the foundation single crochet to create your chainless single crochet row.
The answer is… whenever you can or want to! If you’re following a pattern that instructs you to create chains and then single crochet into the chains for a row, you can replace the chains and row with foundation single crochets for the number of indicated stitches. If you’re more of a free form crocheter that crochets without a pattern, you can use them as your starting base whenever you prefer. The choice is yours.
- This foundation single crochet (FSC) row counts as row 1.
- So if you’re following a pattern that says your first row is a single crochet in each chain, this FSC row counts as that first row (Just so you don’t accidentally do it twice!).
- If your pattern says to chain and then put in single crochets for a certain number of stitches, make sure that you only create the stitches needed and don’t include the extra chain to turn in your stitch count
- For example, if a pattern says “Chain 36, single crochet into the second chain from the hook and each across (35)”, you’ll want to only create 35 FSC, not 36, because 35 stitches are what is required for the pattern.
When shouldn’t I use the FSC?
You shouldn’t use the FSC on any pattern that has a more advanced or open stitch, such as stitches that require you add several stitches into one chain, skip several chains, etc.
Grab any yarn and hook you like, and let’s get to learning the FSC – foundation single crochet.
How to Work a FSC Row
In this tutorial, I’ve included both a photo tutorial with written instructions as well as a video tutorial. In the video tutorial, I work through 10 foundation single crochet with you slowly with big chunky yarn so you can really see what’s going on. I also explain the stitch anatomy and show you what would happen if we didn’t take certain steps, or followed certain steps too many times. If you prefer to learn via video, I recommend giving it a watch.
If you prefer a photo tutorial, let’s get to it!
Step 1: Chain 2
Step 2: Insert your hook into the second chain from the hook (your first chain made). In the picture above, you can see that I’ve gone under both strands of the chain. You can go under only one strand of the chain on this first chain*, but the side of your work might be a bit wonky. I would recommend going under both.
* Going under only one loop of the chain only applies to this very first chain. You will need to go under both strands in all subsequent foundation single crochets. There will be a note on this later.
Step 3: With your hook inserted into the chain (from step 2), yarn over and pull a loop through. Your work should look like the step 3 image, with two loops on your hook.
Step 4: Yarn over and pull through ONLY the first loop on your hook. This creates your next chain. Your work should now look like the step 4 image. The white arrow pointing to a loop below the nose of the hook is pointing to the chain we have just created. You now have two loops on your hook.
Step 5: Yarn over and pull through the two loops. This completes your first foundation single crochet. Your work should look like the step 5 image.
We now have one foundation single crochet. Let’s make some more.
Step 6: To begin your next FSC, you’ll want to locate the chain you’ve just created in step 4. If you turn your work so you can view the bottom, the chain is the upside down “V”. In the Step 6 image, a white arrow is pointing to it.
Step 7: Insert your hook under both loops* of the chain (upside down “V”) that we located in Step 6.
* Remember how I said in Step 2 that you “can go under only one loop of the chain”? That doesn’t apply here. For this step and all subsequent steps where we are inserting our hook into the chain to move forward, you do need to go under both strands.
Step 8: Yarn over and pull up a loop.
Step 9: Yarn over and pull a loop through only the first loop on your hook to create the chain for your next single crochet. You should have two loops on your hook. In the step 9 image, a white arrow is pointing to the chain we have just created.
We need to create these chains (like in steps 6 through 9) to keep the work moving forward and give the single crochets something to stand on. If we didn’t make these chains, our work would curl inward and we wouldn’t have a space to work into.
Step 10: Yarn over, pull a loop through both loops on your hook to finish your single crochet. The step 10 image is how your work should look so far and a white arrow is pointing to the top of our second FSC.
Second FSC complete!
To continue placing chainless single crochets on this foundation row, continue working steps 6 through 10. These steps are the steps you will take to create one foundation single crochet. You will work steps 6 through 10 as many times necessary to begin your project.
I would recommend practicing the foundation single crochet before you commit to a project. Creating 10 at a time should build your confidence, get you used to the stitch and prepare you for the best outcome on all future projects.
Here you can see I’ve completed 10 chainless single crochets. At the top are the tops of the stitches, as they normally would be. At the bottom you can see the chains we have created in between each single crochet and, of course, the posts of the single crochets are in the middle. From here, you can move on to working all of your following rows of your project like normal.
Before you head out to practice your chainless single crochet foundation rows, I want to give you a few important tips to keep in mind:
- When you’re learning, take it slow. Speed will come with time.
- Always make sure to create the chain one (Steps 6 through 9) to keep your work moving forward. If you do not create this chain, your work will curl and you won’t have anywhere to place your next single crochet.
- Similarly, make sure you don’t accidentally add another chain (I show you what this looks like in the video tutorial).
- As your practicing, keep in mind that your stitches might look a bit wonky or be a bit loose (or tight). That’s okay! With practice, your stitches will look more and more uniform.
That’s it! After some practice, you should be able to move forward with the foundation single crochet with confidence.
If you’re interested in learning the foundation double crochet and don’t want to wait around for me to make a tutorial, you can check out this picture tutorial on Heart Hook Home.
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