Does The Turning Chain Count As A Stitch? | All Of Your Questions About Turning Chains- Answered

I have been asked the question, “Does the turning chain count as a stitch?” about a million times and I completely understand your frustration because I’ve been there. I remember how frustrated I would get in the beginning because I didn’t know what was right and what was wrong. The information was so contradicting. And that’s why today I’m going to make sure all of your questions about turning chains will be answered.

There’s a video tutorial at the bottom of this post that explains everything visually, but still read through this post because there is more information in this post than in that video.

A turning chain is the amount that we chain at the beginning of a row before we move on to the next. The amount that we chain depends on the stitch we’re using. You’ll also find out later that it also depends on the designer who created the pattern you’re working on.

So let’s go over this step by step.


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Before we get into all things turning chains, I wanted to invite you to join my crochet community! I will send you beginner tips, free worksheets, and beautiful beginner-friendly patterns (NEVER spam). Plus you will also gain access to my freebie library and my private Facebook group where you can share your makes, frustrations, and get all of your questions answered. We would love to have you!

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Does The Turning Chain Count As A Stitch?

To get things started with a bang, I’m going to give you the straight up, technical answers to your questions. Then I’ll explain what this means and why it’s so contradicting, later.

And trust me, that part is just as important so don’t skip it!

STITCHTURNING CHAINDOES IT COUNT?
Single Crochet1DOES NOT count as a stitch
Half Double Crochet2DOES NOT count as a stitch
Double Crochet3DOES count as a stitch
Treble Crochet4DOES count as a stitch

So Where Do I Place My First Crochet Stitch After The Turning Chain?

I know you’re thinking about this and I promise I’m about to explain. But I wanted you to know that while I’ve given you all of the technical answers above, it also depends on the designer and the pattern you’re working on.

If a designer doesn’t like the way something looks, he/she will change it and that is why this next part is important to understand.


Single Crochet Turning Chain Explanation

When you’re working rows of single crochet, you will chain 1 as your turning chain at the beginning of each row. Because this chain does NOT count as a stitch, you will create your first single crochet into that very first stitch. Then you will completely ignore that turning chain when you count your stitches at the end.


Half Double Crochet Turning Chain Explanation

When you’re working rows of half double crochet, you will chain 2 as your turning chain at the beginning of each row. Because this chain does NOT count as a stitch, you will create your first half double crochet into that very first stitch. Then you will completely ignore that turning chain when you count your stitches at the end.

But there is one exception

The only exception to this is if you’re working on a pattern that states the half double crochet does count as a stitch. If the pattern says this, then you will skip the first stitch and place your first half double crochet into the next stitch.


Double Crochet Turning Chain Explanation

When you’re working rows of double crochet, you will chain 3 as your turning chain at the beginning of each row. This chain DOES count as a stitch, you will skip the very first stitch (sometimes called a false stitch) and create your first double crochet into the next stitch.

When you go back to count your stitches, count the chain 3 as if it were a double crochet.

But again there’s an exception…

Just like with the half double crochet, if a pattern tells you the chain 3 counts as a stitch, then you’ll continue with the pattern as I explained above. If a pattern tells you the chain 3 does not count as a stitch, then you would place your first double crochet into the very first stitch. Then you would ignore the chain 3 when counting your stitches.


Treble Crochet Turning Chain Explanation

I didn’t mention the treble crochet stitch in the video tutorial, but I thought it would be good to mention it here.

When you’re working rows of treble crochet, you will chain 4 as your turning chain at the beginning of each row. This chain DOES count as a stitch, meaning you will skip the very first stitch (sometimes called a false stitch) and create your first treble crochet into the next stitch.

When you go back to count your stitches, count the chain 4 as if it were a treble crochet.


When I look up turning chains, why is the information so contradicting?

The reason why it’s hard to find a straight answer is because it all comes down to personal preference.

The straight up answers I gave you above are the technical answers, but anyone can be a designer and each one of them has their own personal preference. That’s why it’s so important to read the notes section of a pattern because that is where you’ll find this information.

Commonly, you’ll see patterns that chain 2 at the beginning of a double crochet row and the notes will say something like “the chain 2 at the beginning of the row does not count as a stitch.”

This is because when you chain 3 and skip the first stitch for a double crochet, it leaves a larger gap. A lot of designers don’t like this so instead they chain 2 and double crochet into the very first stitch to eliminate that gap.


Does The Turning Chain Count As A Stitch Video Tutorial

If you need more of a visual, I’ve included a video tutorial as well! But remember to also read through this post because there are some things mentioned here that is not mentioned in the video.


Let’s Wrap It Up

Today we learned all about turning chains and we answered the most infamous question, “Does the turning chain count as a stitch?”

Turning chains are used to reach the height of a stitch. For some stitches, they count as a stitch and in other cases, they don’t. Here are the turning chains for each stitch as follows:

  • Single Crochet Turning Chain = 1
  • Half Double Crochet Turning Chain = 2
  • Double Crochet Turning Chain = 3
  • Treble Crochet Turning Chain = 4

If you missed it, scroll back to the top to see which of these stitches count or don’t count as a stitch.

The reason why it’s so hard to find the answer to this question is because it’s all based on personal preference. If a designer decides they don’t like the way a chain 3 looks at the beginning of a row, then they can change it. It’s their pattern after all.

That’s why it’s so important to read the notes of every pattern before you start a new project.


Did I answer all of your questions about turning chains?

Or is there something you’re still unclear about?
Let me know in the comments!

I would love for you to join my crochet community! I will send you beginner tips, free worksheets, and beautiful beginner-friendly patterns (NEVER spam). Plus you will also gain access to my freebie library and my private Facebook group where you can share your makes, frustrations, and get all of your questions answered. We would love to have you!

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