Working flat

Hello there and thanks for popping by!

A while back I asked my Facebook fans if they would like me to do tutorials on certain aspects of crochet and one of the suggestions was tips on how to crochet a flat piece.
It may seem simple to some but it is actually quite tricky to get a nice even edge and  to not loose any stitches.

So, I’ve decided to put a little tutorial together.
I’ll be showing you the ‘traditional’ way and my way.

Firstly, lets start with the foundation chain.

A pattern will tell you to do something like this….

CH x number of stitches

Row 1: SC in 2nd CH from hk, SC in each CH across.

I’m just using a little swatch of ten stitches for this tutorial, so I made a chain of 11.

Ten of the loops will become my foundation chain and the 11th chain is my turning chain. My first row will consist of single crochet stitches, so I only need one turning chain.
If you are going to use HDCs you will need two turning chains, if DCs you will need three and so on. If you are using a pattern it should tell you how many chains you need for the turn but the general rule is one chain per YO (except for the HDC).

So, here is the chain.


Traditionally you would work the first row of stitches across by inserting the hook through the top two ‘bumps’ of the chain.


And this is what it looks like. You will have a row of stitches (in this case SC with one ‘bump’ left at the bottom.
You’ll notice that this row tends to twist quite a lot and getting it to lie flat is a mission!

I prefer to start my flat pieces in the following manner.
Here is another chain of 11 but this time you are looking at the chain from the bottom.


I insert my hook only into the central ‘bump’ of the chain.

This is what the first row looks like.

It lies flatter, there’s only a very slight twist but the best part of beginning this way is that you end up with two ‘bumps’ at the bottom. This comes in really handy, since the bottom side of the row looks just like the top of the stitch and you can easily follow the stitches when crocheting a border around the work for a blanket. However, even when you aren’t making a blanket I find it nice to have the beginning and end of the work look the same, it’s just a bit neater.


Here’s a comparison of the two foundation rows. See how much the ‘traditional’ row twists? Not nice 🙁

Now on to the second row (I used HDCs).

Your pattern will say something like this:

Row 2: CH 2 (counts as HDC), HDC in each ST across, turn.
The ‘counts as HDC’ means that the first stitch is skipped because the CH2 replaces it.

Here is what a few rows look like.


I don’t like that! There are holes on either side of the work!
I thought that maybe I was reading the patterns wrong but when you have a look at a diagram showing the same stitch it is correct! You are supposed to skip the first stitch.

It also means that you have to place the last stitch through the top of the turning chain from the previous row and I really don’t like doing that either.

So, here’s how I do it. It might be wrong but I think it creates a much neater overall finish and you can do it with any stitch you like, well, if it’s a complicated lacy pattern or a special stitch I would definitely recommend following the pattern to the letter but with simple SC, HDC and DC patterns I would suggest trying my way.

When you have completed the first row make a slip stitch and make sure you pull it quite tight,


then make a chain and turn your work (Oh, that’s another thing I do differently, I always do the turning chain before I turn, I just find it easier).


Notice that the slip stitch and chain are not as long as two chains.
Now place the first HDC into the first stitch and carry on until the end of the row.


I had ten SC in the first row and I placed ten HDCs across the second row.

When you have a look at a few rows you will notice that there are no gaps at the ends of the rows and I actually think that the entire edge of the work is neater this way.


Here is a side by side view of my way and the ‘traditional’ way.


That’s all I have for you for today.
I would suggest trying out both ways to compare them and then picking the one you prefer.

Let me know what you think and also if you have any other questions.

Next week I’ll be looking at changing colours.

05. February 2013 by Stephanie Davies
Categories: Tutorials | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 comments

Comments (4)

  1. That’s how I do my next row, too! My mother always tells me that I do it wrong, but then she complains about the gaps she leaves when starting a new row. I like the foundation row technique. I’ve started doing the chainless foundation, but I’m still not sold on it. Thanks for the tutorials! — Sydney (who complained about working flat projects on FB)

    • Ah, that’s great!
      I’m glad I’m not the only one 🙂
      That was my big problem with the ‘correct’ way too. I don’t like the gaps and I think that, as with any art form/craft, there is room for experimentation and development. There are so many little tricks that ‘traditional’ crochet is only finding out about now. Like the magic ring, invisible decreases and the chainless foundation row.

      I agree with you, the chainless foundation row is not for everyone, or for every project. I use it sometimes but I actually chain faster than I create a chainless foundation so I usually use a chain and now that I’m using the bottom bump for my first row I don’t get a twisted first row either.

      Did you know that the chainless foundation row is actually a Tunisuan stitch?

  2. Pingback: Working flat | A bag full of Crochet

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