Foundation chain

A foundation chain is often used to start a flat piece or an oval piece. 

The chain stitch (ch), which is the same technique as the foundation chain minus the slip knot in the beginning, is often used to increase the height of a new row, to create embellishments like hair for a doll, or to add a hole to a piece like to make a basket handle.

Step-by-step photos

Yarn on hook

1. Make a slip knot and place it on your hook, with the working yarn behind the hook. Hold the yarn tail tightly near the base of the knot, to make it easier to create the next stitch.

*If you’re making a chain stitch and not a foundation chain, skip this step and go directly to step 2.

Yarn over yarn on hook

2. Yarn over, and pull through the slip knot.


1 chain stitch

3. This is a completed chain stitch!

Diagram explaining how to count number of chain stitches

Here’s a chain with 13 stitches in it. I’ve called out the second chain from the hook, because if you’re making the next row with single crochet stitches, the first stitch you make will be in the second chain from the hook. This is because the chain that you skipped gives the first single crochet stitch its height.


To help keep your chain straight, and make it easier to create chain stitches, keep moving your yarn-holding hand as close as possible to the base of the upcoming stitch.