Turning Chain For Single Crochet – 3 Alternatives

Janne Kleivset
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As a beginner crocheter, learning the turning chain for single crochet (sc) is essential to every project you make. A turning chain is simply a number of chains that are worked at the beginning of each row or round before any stitches can be made.

Knowing how many chains should be used and where to place them can seem intimidating at first but understanding what it does and why it’s important will help you create beautiful projects with ease.

In this crochet tutorial, I’ll discuss everything there is to know about turning chains for single crochet – from materials needed, abbreviations, step-by-step photo tutorials and video tutorial!

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What is a Turning Chain for Single Crochet?

Turning chains for single crochet is the chain stitches you crochet to start a new row or round of single crochet stitches.

The turning chains are used to lift your hook and yarn to the level of the stitch you crochet, for the single crochet stitch this number is 1.

The turning chain can be crocheted either before or after you turn your work, and varies depending on which pattern you follow. Both give the same overall result, so do what you prefer.

There are many alternative ways to start a row or round of single crochet. These are alternative turning chain methods that gives the same result, by lifting your crochet hook and yarn to the same level as the stitch, but may result in neater edges.

Each turning chain technique for single crochet may give better or worse results, depending on the crocheter that uses them. Because of that, it’s important that you try the different techniques and stick with the ones you find suits you best.

Get a full overview of turning chains for all stitches including tips and tricks on our main post here.

Materials Needed

To crochet a turning chain for single crochet you can use any crochet hook size and yarn. If you’re following a crochet pattern, use the crochet hook and yarn suggested.

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Turning Chain for Single Crochet Abbreviations

The turning chain crochet abbreviation is tch or t-ch in crochet patterns.

For single crochet you may also find them abbreviated as ch 1.

Learn more about crochet abbreviations & find a complete list on our Crochet Abbreviations & Terms post.

Single Crochet Turning Chain – Crochet Chart Symbol

The turning chain for single crochet chart symbol is simply the same symbol as for a chain stitch turned upwards.

It is an oval circle representing the chain stitch crocheted as a turning chain.

It will be turned in the direction it will lay in your finished crochet work.

Photo showing the turning chain for single crochet stitch chart symbol.

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3 Alternative Ways To Start A Row Of Single Crochet – Step By Step Photo Tutorials

Alternative 1: Turning Chain Counts As A Stitch

The first alternative for the turning chain for the single crochet the turning chain counts as the first single crochet of the row. In this case you will have to work into that turning chain when you come back to it when you finish the next row.

Step 1: Chain 1

Turning Chain For Single Crochet - 3 Alternatives Pin

To get to the height of the single crochet stitch the common number of chains is 1 turning chain.

Step 2: Work first single crochet into 2nd stitch

Turning Chain For Single Crochet - 3 Alternatives Pin

After working the chain, work the first single crochet stitch into the second stitch. That means the second to last stitch made on the previous row.

By following the instructions above, the turning chain does count as a stitch.

Alternative 2: Turning Chain Does Not Count As A Stitch

In the second alternative, the turning chain does not count as a stitch. In this case you will not work into the turning chain when you come back to it on the next row, as the last stitch of the row.

If you work into it, you will end up increasing the number of stitches on the row.

Step 1: Chain 1

Turning Chain For Single Crochet - 3 Alternatives Pin

The first step is to chain 1 turning chain to get to the height of the stitch.

Step 2: Work first single crochet into first stitch

Turning Chain For Single Crochet - 3 Alternatives Pin

The second step is to work the first single crochet into the first stitch. That means to work into the last stitch of the previous row.

By following the instructions above, the turning chain does not count as a stitch.

Alternative 3: Single Crochet Directly Into First Stitch

The third alternative way to start a row of single crochet stitches is to work the first single crochet directly into the first stitch, without crocheting any chains.

This alternative gives you straight edges and is a simple alternative to do.

Step 1: Work 1 single crochet directly into the first stitch

Turning Chain For Single Crochet - 3 Alternatives Pin

After turning your work, crochet 1 single crochet into the first stitch of the row. That means crochet into the last stitch made on the end of the row (previous row).

This is kind of the same as the stacked single crochet technique that you get for the other basic crochet stitches, however you don’t need more than one single crochet.

Step 2: Continue with single crochet stitches

Turning Chain For Single Crochet - 3 Alternatives Pin

Then continue with single crochet stitches into the following stitches.

When you come back to that first single crochet on the next row, work into that single crochet as well to keep the stitch count correct.

Single Crochet Turning Chains Video Tutorial

Typical Questions About Turning Chain for Single Crochet

Do you need a turning chain for single crochet?

Yes and no. The most common technique is to chain 1 for single crochet, however turning and crocheting the first single crochet directly into the first stitch is also an option.

How many chains on a turning chain for a single crochet?

For single crochet stitches you need 1 turning chain.

Is the number of chain stitches needed for the regular single crochet the same as for different type of stitches?

Yes, for different variations for single crochet stitches you need the same number and length of the turning chain. Including the front loop single crochet, back loop single crochet, front post single crochet and back post single crochet.

Turning Chains – Step-By-Step Tutorials

Below you can find turning chains needed for the different basic crochet stitches:

  1. Turning Chain For Single Crochet Stitch (sc) – this tutorial
  2. Turning Chain For Half Double Crochet Stitch (hdc)
  3. Turning Chain For Double Crochet Stitch (dc)
  4. Turning Chain Treble Crochet Stitch (tr)
Janne Kleivset

Janne Kleivset

Founder, Crochet Pattern Designer & Owner of Joy of Motion Crochet.

Janne has helped millions of crocheters find their next crochet project with more than 250 free crochet patterns and 110 crochet tutorials on her blog.

With more than two decades of crochet experience, and crochet designing since 2011, she's been featured on multiple prominent sites such as Lion Brand Yarn, in crochet magazines and the OML "Make" book.

Learn more about Janne.



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