Crochet 101: (Foundation) Chain Stitch Tutorial

Welcome back to the second lesson in our Crochet 101 series! Last week, we talked about how to make a slip knot to start your project. This week, we’re moving on to the chain stitch. The chain stitch is the foundation of your piece, so it’s the first one you’ll need to learn. We’ll take it slowly and go step by step since this is a beginner’s course. Let’s start with the video, then move on to the pictured instructions and the freebie at the end.


If you get the hang of the chain stitch and can’t wait until the next lesson goes up, no problem! Feel free to move on with The Beginner’s Guide to Crochet.  [clickandtweet handle=”@shehlagrr” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]You can download the free ebook! It covers all the tutorials I’m going to share + 15 free patterns[/clickandtweet]

(Foundation) Chain Stitch Tutorial

The chain stitch is how you create the first row of your crocheted item, and for that reason, the first row is called the foundation chain. The video showed you how to work this kind of stitch, but in case you need to see each step as it happens, I also have some pictured instructions for you.

All you need is your yarn and hook.

1. Begin with a slip knot and hold the working yarn over your index finger. You don’t have to hold the tail end of the yarn the way I am in the picture below; it just kept getting in the camera’s way!

Foundation Chain 1

2. Wrap the working yarn over (YO) the top of the hook.

Foundation Chain 2

3. Rotate the hook so the working yarn is held securely in the notch of the hook. This isn’t necessarily a “step” but it helps maintain control over the yarn. When I first started to crochet, I always had difficulty keeping the yarn on the hook as I made stitches and this is what I did to make it easier.

Foundation Chain 3

4. Pull the yarn through the loop of the slip knot. This makes the first chain stitch, or chain 1. You see how simple that was? Let’s do a few more.

Foundation Chain 4

5. Now repeat steps 2-4 to create as many chain spaces as you need. Count the < shapes they make to keep track of how many chain stitches you’ve worked. In the example below, I’ve made 10 chain stitches.


Foundation Chain 5

If you’re just starting out, don’t worry if your chain stitches aren’t even yet. Some might be big and loose and others might have been pulled tight and almost disappeared. That’s okay. It’s really just a matter of practicing and getting your hands used to making the movement. I’m going to end this tutorial here and leave you all to practice this stitch until you can get a fairly even and straight foundation chain. You can remove the hook and tug on the working yarn to undo the whole thing and start again, or just keep making the chain longer. As you work further up the chain, move your hand closer to the hook so you have better control over the yarn and hook.

Foundation Chain Stitch

Here’s a little bonus for you!

In last week’s lesson, I offered a checklist of 5 things every crocheter needs to have in their kit. That checklist included the tools and supplies that I think are absolutely essential to have when you crochet. Even if you’re just a beginner and this is your first time trying this new craft out, the items on the list can help you make sense of all the different types and sizes of yarn and hooks and whatnot. Just subscribe at the bottom of this post to the get access to the resource library and download it from there! You’ll also get access to a bunch of other goodies, too.

Incentive Image

Thank you all so much for reading. If you’re following the course, let me know how it’s going and if you’re having trouble with anything. I’d love to help!

  • Just another tutorial to add to my list! 🙂

    Would love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipes, crafts, and tips:

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

    • Will do, Jess! I’m so glad you like my tutorials 🙂

  • This is a great tutorial of a single crochet stitch!! The pictures are good and you explained it very well.