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Great Beginnings: Starting Your Crochet Project Right, Pt. 2

February 12th, 2013

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Technical editor and yarncrafting expert Kj Hay joins us for several articles on starting your project right. Join us this week for a 3-part series on crochet, and join us next week for a 2-part series on knitting. Click here to see her previous blog post on foundation chains. 

Foundation Stitches

The use of foundation stitches for beginning crochet pieces has been gaining a lot of popularity lately. A major reason for this is because foundation stitches solve many of the problems associated with foundation chains.

Each foundation stitch consists of one chain and one standard crochet stitch. In this manner the foundation chain and the first row/round of stitches are worked at the same time. The chain is made by drawing up a loop in the base of the previous foundation stitch. This chain is then treated as a standard foundation chain. There is a corresponding foundation stitch for every standard crochet stitch, e.g. single crochet (sc), dc (double crochet), etc. Here are step by step instructions for working foundation versions of sc and dc. Notice that the Fsc and Fdc steps are very similar and that the final steps of each foundation stitch are the same as the final steps for standard sc and dc stitches.

Foundation single crochet (Fsc)

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Step 1 – begin: Ch 2.
Step 2 – make first foundation chain: Insert hook in 2nd ch from hook, yarn over and draw up a loop. This loop serves as the chain of the foundation stitch.
Step 3 – make the single crochet: Yarn over and draw through 1 loop on hook (2 loops on hook), yarn over and draw through both loops on hook to complete the single crochet.
Step 4 – make next foundation chain: Insert hook in chain of previous foundation stitch, yarn over and draw up a loop. Note The foundation chain is at the base of foundation stitch, insert the hook under two strands at the base.
Repeat Step 3.
Repeat last 2 steps until desired number of Fsc have been made.

Foundation double crochet (Fdc)

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Step 1 – begin: Ch 4.
Step 2 – make first foundation chain: Yarn over, insert hook in 4th ch from hook, yarn over and draw up a loop (3 loops on hook).
Step 3 – make the double crochet: Yarn over and draw through 1 loop on hook, [yarn over and draw through 2 loops on hook] twice to complete the double crochet.
Step 4 – make next foundation chain: Yarn over, insert hook in chain of previous foundation stitch, yarn over and draw up a loop.
Repeat Step 3.
Repeat last 2 steps until desired number of Fdc have been made.

I imagine you now have a good idea how to work Fhdc (foundation half double crochet) and Ftr (foundation treble crochet). To begin working in rounds, join the last stitch to the first with a slip stitch and use the beginning tail to sew the small gap at the base of these stitches together. You can alternate the type of foundation stitches. For example, if your piece will be worked in a pattern of alternating sc and dc stitches, the foundation can be worked be alternating Fsc and Fdc. More complex crochet stitches can also be worked as foundation stitches.

Foundation cluster (FCl)
Step 1 – begin: Ch 4.
Step 2 – make first foundation chain: Yarn over, insert hook in 4th ch from hook, yarn over and draw up a loop (3 loops on hook).
Step 3 – make cluster: Yarn over and draw through 1 loop on hook, yarn over and draw through 2 loops on hook (2 loops remain on hook), (yarn over, insert hook in foundation chain just made, yarn over and draw up a loop, yarn over and draw through 2 loops on hook) twice, yarn over and draw through all 4 loops on hook to complete the cluster.

Come back tomorrow to learn more about adjustable ring foundations (also called the crochet “magic ring”), great for in-the-round projects.

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  • DKTX

    Am I the only one who still has a tension problem with foundation single crochet? Try as I will, that chain stitch is still tighter than the SC. Doing a traditional foundation chain in a larger hook size is the only thing that works for me.

  • Pingback: How to Make an Adjustable Ring or "Magic Ring" in Crochet | Lion Brand Notebook

  • MimiB

    No matter what kind of foundation row I make, I find I must use go up at least one hook size larger for my foundation row than indicated for the pattern used in my gauge swatch. Once the foundation row is completed, I switch back to the smaller hook required for gauge. It’s an easy solution to a common problem.

    How to tell if you need to do this? Make a swatch in your pattern stitch, at least 4 to 6 inches in width and about the same in length. If the first row, ie, bottom edge or foundation row, made either with a chain or a Fsc or Fdc, pulls in and appears tighter than rest of the swatch in the pattern stitch called for in your project, you’ll need to go up a hook size for that first row of your project so it will lie nice and flat and not pucker. Some yarns and stitches require I go up 2 hook sizes. On the next row, put the larger hook aside and use the hook that gives you gauge for the rest of the project.

    Nothing… nothing! is more important than making a gauge/sample swatch before starting a project. It tells you so much. Too many crocheters skip this important step. I suppose if you’re making a familiar afghan pattern or scarf in a yarn you’ve used many times you may be able to skip it, but for anything else, especially a project that needs to be made to size … take a few minutes and do that swatch. Oh, and do it in the exact yarn your project calls for, because I’ve found that even within the same yarn type, different colors in the same yarn can have slight variations in gauge, feel and stitch definition. You can always frog the swatch later if you need the yarn for your project.

    I recommend not ripping out the swatch until you’re almost done with your project, because you can practice edgings and joining on the swatch, sparing your project the trial and error until you get it right.

  • Lyz

    You don’t show the part of fsc (and fdc, etctigh.) that gives me the most difficulty and where I make mistakes: where to insert the hook to start the next stitch. Where exactly is the chain of the previous foundation stitch? I just don’t see it yet…

    I did one project a few years ago where I managed to start with fsc and one side of it was still tighter than the other, as if the chain part of the fsc stitch was still a different tension than the sc part…

    • http://www.lionbrand.com/ Zontee

      Hi Lyz, I think Kj’s note about the next part might help:
      Insert hook in chain of previous foundation stitch, yarn over and draw up a loop. Note: The foundation chain is at the base of foundation stitch, insert the hook under two strands at the base.

      You may also want to check YouTube.com for videos, since there are a lot of crocheters who have put helpful demonstrations on that site. Hope that helps!

  • Dollie

    I’ve been crocheting for 63 years and have taught crochet. I can’t understand why anyone would turn their crochet hook UPSIDE DOWN! It slows you down because you must turn it over each time to bring it through the loop or it catches on the top of the loop. Hasn’t anyone noticed that the shape of the hook when held downward matches the shape of the loop? Turn the hook DOWN and it will speed up your work considerably. I’ve seen this on live TV, instructional videos and illustrations and am always surprised that anyone would turn their hook up and down repeatedly.

    • NM in MN

      Great comment, Dollie! Thanks for sharing. I did not realize I was holding my hook upside down. I am self-taught and never figured that out!! Many kudos for taking the time to point that out!
      NM in MN

      • HNL90

        Can you help me with this….per the Foundation Chain, when do I use the FSC? When do I use the FHDC? When do I use the FHC?

  • brannob

    I am working on a project and instructions say: foundation chain with larger hook and 2 strands held together chain 100. How do you make this stitch?

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