Crochet,  Tutorials

Chainless Foundation Crochet Tutorial – this technique will change your life!

chainless foundation crochet row
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Who hates that first row of a new project where you have to crochet into a chain? Yep, me too. So many questions – back loop only? Both loops? Which loop is the back loop anyway? You might end up with uneven chains, or worse, a bumpy bottom. It’s enough to put even the most seasoned crocheter off.

Enter the chainless foundation method, the answer to all your chain related woes. Honestly, once you get the hang of this you’ll wonder how you have survived without it for so long. I sure did.

What is the chainless foundation method?

The chainless foundation method is an alternative technique for starting a new project. It does not involve creating a number of chains and then crocheting your first row into these chains.

Instead, you will create each chain and corresponding stitch at the same time. Pretty neat, huh!?

Why use the chainless foundation method?
  • You end up having to restart projects multiple times because of chain count errors
  • You find crocheting into the starting chain tedious and frustrating
  • The first row of your project ends up with a “bumpy bottom” instead of a neat, straight edge
  • You want your first row to have a bit more stretch. Crochet chains are often just a bit too rigid, where as a chainless foundation row is a lot stretchier.
When can I use a chainless foundation?

You can use the chainless foundation method for any project that starts with a row of:

  • Double Crochet (UK)/Single Crochet (US)
  • Treble Crochet (UK)/Double Crochet (US)
  • Half-Treble Crochet (UK)/Half-Double Crochet (US)

The technique is more or less the same for each stitch, with a few slight tweaks.

When can I NOT use a chainless foundation?

If the first row of your pattern requires skipping chains you will have to skip this technique too, sorry. Alternatively, you could crochet a foundation row and then start your pattern from there. This might not always make sense, but use your own discretion.

How to create a chainless foundation

There are two things you need to remember when using the chainless foundation technique:

  1. Work vertically, not horizontally (you’ll see what I mean by this in a minute)
  2. Add an extra “yarn-over and pull through” at the beginning of each vertical row – this replaces the chain when using the standard foundation chain method
How do you like to learn?

Now, I might be on my own here but I like to learn via step-by-step photographs (am I in the minority!?)

I just find it easier to be able to refer back to the pictures as I go. Often when watching a video I find I have to stop, rewind, start again if I miss a step, or just can’t quite keep up! But this is just me. I know so many people love to learn from videos. So as well as my own photo tutorial of this technique, I am also including a fantastic video tutorial by Toni from TLYarnCrafts. I love the energy Toni brings to all her videos, as well as being a top-notch maker and crochet designer.

Scroll down for both tutorials. I hope that you find this technique useful, I really am not joking when I say it has been life-changing for me!

Photo Tutorial for Treble Crochet (UK)/Double Crochet (US)

Step 1:

Chain 3. Yarn over. Insert hook into third chain from the hook.

chainless foundation treble crochet step 1

Step 2:

Draw up a loop (3 loops on hook).

Step 3:

Yarn over again and pull through first loop only (still 3 loops on hook). This gives you the “chain” in the foundation row.

chainless foundation treble crochet step-3+31

Step 4:

Yarn over and pull through 2 loops (2 loops on hook). Yarn over and pull through remaining 2 loops. First treble (UK)/double (US) done!

chainless foundation treble crochet step-4+4a

Step 5:

Yarn over. Insert hook into the “chain” that you made in Step 3.

Step 6:

Draw up a loop (3 loops on hook).

Yarn over again and pull through the first loop only (still 3 loops on hook). This gives you your next “chain” in the row.

Step 7:

Make your next treble (UK)/double (US) stitch in the usual way.

If you rotate your work to the side, you will see the extra “chains” made before each treble.

chainless foundation treble crochet step-7+7a

Step 8:

Repeat Steps 5, 6 and 7 until your desired foundation row length is reached.

Work vertically rather than horizontally


Double Crochet (UK)/ Single Crochet (US) Chainless Foundation

Step 1: Chain 2. Insert hook into second chain from hook.

Step 2: Draw up a loop (2 loops on hook)

Step 3: Yarn over and and pull through the first loop on hook. This is the extra “chain” in your foundation row. (Still 2 loops on hook)

Step 4: Yarn over and pull through the two loops on your hook. This is your first DC (UK)/SC (US).

Step 5: Insert hook into extra “chain” made in Step 3.

Step 6: Draw up a loop and pull through the first loop on the hook. (2 loops on hook) Yarn over and pull through the first loop on hook. This is the next “chain” in your foundation row. (Still 2 loops on hook)

Step 7: Yarn over and pull through the two loops on your hook. This is your second DC (UK)/SC (US).

Step 8: Repeat Steps 5, 6 and 7 until desired row length is reached.


Half Treble Crochet (UK)/ Half Double Crochet (US) Chainless Foundation

Step 1: Chain 2. Yarn over. Insert hook into second chain from hook.

Step 2: Draw up a loop (3 loops on hook)

Step 3: Yarn over and pull through first loop on hook. This is the extra “chain” in your foundation row. (Still 3 loops on hook)

Step 4: Yarn over and pull through the 3 loops on your hook. This is your first HTC (UK)/HDC (US).

Step 5: Insert hook into extra “chain” made in Step 3.

Step 6: Draw up a loop and pull through the first loop on the hook. (3 loops on hook) Yarn over and pull through the first loop on hook. This is the next “chain” in your foundation row. (Still 3 loops on hook)

Step 7: Yarn over and pull through the 3 loops on your hook. This is your second HTC (UK)/HDC (US).

Step 8: Repeat Steps 5, 6 and 7 until desired row length is reached.


Video Tutorial
Learn how to do chainless foundation crochet with Toni from TL Yarn Crafts
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