How to Crochet a Turning Chain

The Number One Reason I Failed at Crochet

Are You Making the Same Mistake?


How to Crochet a Turning Chain


Hi folks!  If you are new to crochet then you’ve probably heard of a turning chain.  Most likely from a pattern or another crocheter.  The first time you heard about it I am sure your brain went “uh… what the heck is that”?  I am sure because that’s what my brain did.

If your brain didn’t do this and you’ve already figured it out then that’s awesome!  Kudos to you!

My brain, however, just couldn’t grasp it.  And this is why I failed at crochet.  And I do mean failed.  Massively.

Of course, that was my first go at crochet over 10 years ago. Back then I just couldn’t figure out why that darn pot holder kept getting smaller and smaller!

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Now I know that I wasn’t making a turning chain at the end of each row and if I was, I wasn’t doing it properly.   I didn’t even understand what the turning chain was.

If this sounds familiar, then let me help out.

A turning chain is one or more chain stitches you make at the end of a row and before you start the next row. If you need a refresher on chain stitches see How to Crochet the Foundation Chain.


Turning Chain in Crochet


The point of the turning chain is to bring your yarn to the height needed so you can work the first stitch of your next row.

The number of chain stitches you make for the turning chain depends on the type of stitch that is next in the new the row.  This is because some stitches are taller than others.

The turning chain almost always counts as the first stitch of the next row.  That is unless the first stitch of the next row is a single crochet.  In this case, the turning chain does not count as the first stitch in the next row.  This is because the single crochet turning chain is not wide enough to substitute for the first single crochet of the row.


How Many Chain Stitches Make a Turning Chain_Pin


Now most patterns and perhaps even most crocheters will say to turn your work and then make the turning chain. But this doesn’t work for me. It didn’t work for me 10+ years ago and it doesn’t work for me now!

When I turn my work and then make the turning chain, my stitches get twisted and tangled. I don’t know why. It just happens!

I eventually learned that what does work for me is to make the turning chain and then turn my work. Yep, I do it completely the opposite. Just call me a rebel! If you are struggling with the turning chain you might be a rebel too. Try it this way and see if it works.

Either way, make sure you are not skipping the turning chain at the end of your rows and that you are adding the correct number of chains.  This was my problem all those years ago.  I either skipped the chain altogether or didn’t make the right number of chains for the stitch I was making in the next row.

Please don’t make the same mistake(s)!  For me this issue was so frustrating that I actually quit this wonderful hobby for many years.  I’d hate for you to do the same.

I hear people say that they “just can’t crochet”.  This is exactly what I said when I was first learning crochet and the turning chain was my problem.  I wonder how many of those who’ve given up on crochet also had this issue.

Are you struggling with the turning chain?  Have you experienced the same issues as I have?


Until next time…  Happy Crocheting!


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4 thoughts on “How to Crochet a Turning Chain

  1. Hi Rae Lynn
    Thank you so much gor your helpful hints. I am self taught and just getting back into crocheting after 40 years. I am having trouble with turning chain and knowing where to start after doing the 3 chain turn. Do I start the row in the 2nd chain along or in the bottom of the 3 turning chain?
    Kind regards

    • Hi Ruth,

      Thanks so much for stopping by! I’m so glad you are picking up a hook once again and enjoying this delightful hobby. When you are doing double crochet and have made a 3 chain turning chain, you start the next row at the base of the turning chain. So you would count 1, 2, 3, chains from the hook and that’s where you start. Make sense? If not, please feel free to email me anytime and I’ll help you get it worked out.

      Best wishes,


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