A Crochet Turning Chain Guide with a Chart

What is a Turning Chain?

You may have heard it mentioned but you’re not quite sure what exactly a turning chain is. Don’t worry. I’m here to help you out and explain the crochet turning chain in a really simple and easy way.

A turning chain is a set of chains that you make at the beginning of each row or round in order to bring the working yarn up to the height of the specific stitch you are working with and to keep a straight edge.

Let’s take the half double crochet stitch (UK half treble crochet) as an example. Below shows a small sample made in half double crochet stitch with the turning chain of 2 already made for the next row of stitches.

If each half double crochet stitch measures roughly 0.5cm high, then at the beginning of each row we need to create a straight edge that brings our working yarn up to the height of 0.5cm before making our first half double crochet stitch of the row.

A small sample of two rows of half double crochet stitch crocheted in pastel mint coloured yarn. There is a silver crochet hook inside the working loop and there are 2 chains already made for the next row, this is the crochet turning chain.

If we began our first stitch without this then we would end up with both edges or our work being uneven and our final piece not measuring up how we would expect.

How Many Turning Chains Does Each Stitch Need?

Each crochet stitch is a slightly different height and so in turn each stitch needs a different amount of turning chains to measure up correctly. Below is a handy chart that you can come back to for reference whenever you need to check. Make sure you save / pin this and keep it as a reference.

Please note: The stitches in this chart are referred to in US crochet terms with UK terms in brackets.

Crochet Stitch Turning Chain
Single Crochet (double crochet) 1 turning chain
Half Double Crochet (half treble) 2 turning chains
Double Crochet (treble) 3 turning chains
Treble (double treble) 4 turning chains
Double Treble (triple treble) 5 turning chains

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A two column chart with a white background and orange dividers. There is orange text at the top which reads "Crochet Turning Chain Chart". The column headings are "Crochet stitch" and "Turning Chain". The text in the columns is dark grey.

I really hope this article has helped and that the chart above is useful. If you have any questions, like always, I’m happy to help. Just pop them in the comments section below.

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Tina Rinaudo

Tina is a passionate zero waster and crocheter who aims to live and crochet as sustainably as possible. She has been crocheting since 2016 and specialises in using sustainable yarns to design zero waste crochet patterns to make easy swaps for yourselves and your homes. She has been featured in Happily Hooked Magazine, PatternCenter.com and many other websites for her eco friendly crochet patterns.


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