Wanna know how to crochet straight edges every time? Try the chainless starting double crochet method.
There are certainly more than one ways to keep your edges straight when you are crocheting. And that’s only because there are more than one reasons your edges aren’t straight.
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In this tutorial I am going to explain how to make a chainless double crochet or alternative turning chain, as some people call it.
But first, let’s take a look and eliminate some of the most common reasons for your uneven edges when you are crocheting.
Why my edges aren’t straight in crochet?
The most common issue is that you might have placed one or more stitches where you shouldn’t have, or even missed some stitches. This is mostly happening near the edge, at the last stitch, which is not always so visible when you are new.
It also depends if your turning chain counts as a stitch in the pattern you are working on, and it can be very confusing when you are starting out. But more on than later.
Your best bet if you usually add or skip stitches in your rows is to count your stitches every time you finish one row, and to place a stitch marker at the first and last stitch of every row. This could be a signal for you when you need to stop crocheting.
Another very common reason for uneven edges is tension. You may start your first rows nice and loose and you might tighten up as your work progresses or the opposite.
Usually, visible tension issues, go away with time and practice, but one thing you could try is holding your crochet hook differently. If you are brand new you might not have found the perfect way for you to hold your hook.
You could even try changing your crochet hook size. Sometimes the size you are using isn’t the right one for the project you are making or for you. Everybody is different! So switch up brands and sizes until you find the perfect hook for you.
Wrong crochet hook size/brand
I always talk about how much I like Furls crochet hooks and how I hate that aren’t right for my hands. I hold my crochet hook as a pencil, and the round bodies of their hooks are just not right for me. So jealous that I can’t work with them…
But, if you are a more advanced crocheter and you don’t have any of these issues mentioned above, keep reading. The next one is for you.
How do your crochet without turning chains?
First, let me explain the old ways of making a turning chain in crochet. A turning chain is just a set number of chains made at the end of each row to achieve the correct height of the stitch you are using.
So, generally, when you are crocheting single crochet stitches you chain 1 and turn. For half double crochet stitches you could chain 1 or 2, and for double crochet, you could chain 2 or 3 stitches, depending on what you were being instructed by the pattern.
The oldest method I know would use a chain 3 as a turning chain and then you would be instructed to skip the first stitch. This is because the turning chain would count as a stitch.
The problem with this is that it creates a big gap between the first and the rest of the stitches. Not an elegant outcome, I would say.
Thankfully, I have never used this method because I quickly discovered the second one.
This is the one I have been using so far, but that’s about to change, and you may see a difference in my pattern writing, too.
In this method you would chain 2 – not 3 – and you would place your first stitch in the first stitch, as the chain 2 wouldn’t count as a stitch.
The 2 chains are a bit shorter than the 3 so you could keep the right stitch count without much confusion, and you would create a small bulk in the place of the first stitch where both the stitch and the turning chain were placed.
Better, but not ideal. For lack of a better way, most of us would use this method.
At some point, there was the instruction of just enlarging your loop, or making one loose chain to achieve the correct height, but that was too annoying, in my opinion, so I quit after a few tries.
More crochet tutorials you may like:
What is an alternative turning chain in crochet?
Now, we are getting into the good part. In my research, I have discovered that there are already many names for the same stitch/method.
Some people call it chainless starting double crochet, alternative turning chain, and even stacked single crochet.
Whatever you wanna call it, it’s the same way of starting a new row of double crochet stitches with no turning chains, and it’s definitely not to be confused with the foundation double crochet row.
Although I am going to explain this technique with double crochet stitches, the same exact method can be applied to any stitch.
Chainless double crochet tutorial
When you get to the end of your row, just turn your work without chaining. You may want to loosen up your loop just a bit (only if you crochet tightly). Now go ahead and make a single crochet in the first stitch.
Yes, a standard single crochet. Then locate the left bar of your single crochet, and make another single crochet on top of the previous one. That’s it!
You have achieved the height of a double crochet with two single crochet stitches stacked on top of each other. Do you understand now what it’s also called a stacked single crochet?
This eliminates the bulk of having a turning chain and a stitch packed together, it looks very nice and it has a very similar look to a double crochet stitch, plus it’s really easy to make.
Once you get used to making chainless starting double crochet stitches, you will never go back.
And if, let’s say you wanted to make treble crochet, what would you do? Yep, you guessed it right. You would repeat this process 3 times, and make 3 single crochet stacked on top of one another.
Also, if you ever had the question “Can I make a single crochet with no turning chain” you probably know this answer, too, by now, right? You most definitely can!
You can go and watch the YouTube video below if you want a quick visual of what’s exactly going on when you stack single crochet stitches.
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Can I use the chainless double crochet in the round?
You most definitely can. It’s the exact same principle but with no turning. Well, except if the pattern says you should turn.
Where else can I use the alternative turning chain method?
You can use it in every single project you want to achieve straight edges. From simple dishcloths to sweaters, plus, I bet your crochet blanket edges never looked so straight.
Especially if any of the parts need seaming, like a sweater, having a straighter edge would seaming easier and neater.
The first thing I created when I learned this new (to me at least) technique, was of course a baby blanket
(coming soon). Can’t wait to show you.
For now, just go ahead and use the alternative double crochet method whether you are working flat or in the round. You are going to love it!
Crochet patterns to practice the chainless starting double crochet:
Conclusion: What is a stacked single crochet?
A stacked single crochet is as mentioned above the method of placing single crochet stitches on top of one another to achieve the correct height of each row with no turning chains.
It’s also called chainless starting double crochet and alternative turning chain and it’s your new favorite hack to keep your crochet edges straight and with no bulk.
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