Turning Chain in Crochet, What is it? + Free Chart.

Will learn how many chains you need depending on which stitch you are using.

What is a Turning Chain?

In crochet, a turning chain is we chain at the beginning of a row before we move on to the next. However, their purpose is to make a transition between one row of crochet and the next row, their most important goal is to maintain the height of each row. 

A turning chain can be either a single chain stitch ​or a group of chain stitches, depending on the type of stitches you are using for the row.

Turning chains are made at the end of each row before turning the work (can be done also after turning the work, at the beginning of each row).

In crochet patterns, the turning chain is usually abbreviated as tch or may also be called the turning chain

Even though you forget to make the turning chains you will notice it for sure because  Your crochet row will be compressed at the first stitch and your piece will not be square.

Turning chain in crochet

Turning chain length?

The length of the turning chain depends on the height of the stitch you are crocheting. Tall stitches require more chain stitches; short stitches require fewer chains.

Remember that the purpose of turning chains is to keep the same length in all rows.

Does the turning chain count as a stitch?

Usually, turning chains count as the first stitch of the following row, except in rows of slip stitch or single crochet. Although it is not always like that, we are going to talk about it later.

I prepared the following chart with information about turning chain lengths if they count as first stitches and more…


How many chain stitches in the Turning Chain?

Does it count as a stitch?
 In which chain stitch place the hook when working in the foundation chain?
slip stitch ( sl st )0NOon  1st chain from the hook
single crochet ( sc )1NOon 2nd chain from the hook
half double crochet( hdc )2NOon 3rd chain from the hook
double crochet ( dc )3YESon 4th ch from the hook
treble crochet( tr )4YESon 5th ch from the hook


As I mentioned before, sometimes we do not follow these rules. Advanced crocheters and designers sometimes prefer not to do what it is in the chart. Sometimes depending on the project or the result we want to obtain we can do it in another way.

For instance, when you are working rows in half double crochet you can make the 2 turning chains count as the first stitch of the next row, the gap between the turning chain and the next half double crochet is not noticeable at all.

If the pattern states that the turning chains count as the first stitch of a row, then you will skip the first stitch and place your first half double crochet into the next stitch.

When working in rows of taller stitches like double crochet, it is different. Even though the turning chain, in this case, counts as the first stitch of the next row, the gap between the turning chain and the next stitch is really noticeable.


That’s is why de designer makes some changes depending on the project. They decide if the turning chain counts or not as a stitch. All that in order to get a better result.

Most of the time designers, and me too, when working in double crochet rows decide to make 2 chains turning chain and then the first double crochet on the first stitch. That way looks better and with straighter edges too.

In the case of treble crochet rows, instead of making 4 chains turning chain, just chain 3. I really love the results.

I hope you liked this post and learned a little more about crochet and turning chains. Any questions, just leave me a comment below. Thanks for reading!


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