I taught myself to crochet with nothing but a few books. None of those books ever had a tip on how to work into your turning chain, also known as the last stitch in the row. Because it was a source of frustration for me, I shied away from projects worked in rows, and preferred to work in the round.
Finding this elusive stitch is often difficult for many crocheters. I've heard stories from people who have crocheted for decades and still "hate working into the turning chain". How often have you heard or read that? It's been very difficult for me, because my tension is usually very tight. I've improved my skills over the years, loosened my tension a little, and decided to teach those who need to know the easiest way to find your turning chain.
Get ready to make your crochet projects easier: Have no more fear of working into the turning chain!
This works with any of the basic stitches, but I'll be working in single crochet.
The first key to an effortless turning chain is to make sure you are turning your work in the correct direction. Whether you're left-handed or right-handed doesn't matter.
With your work flat, the opposite end from where you are working will be flipped over the end with the hook. Never flip it under, and you'll never have a problem. This keeps the working yarn behind the hook:
If you turn the wrong direction, you will see the working yarn in front of your work:
The next important key to finding the turning chain again is the loop left on the hook from the last stitch in the row, before you turn. It's easy to pull this loop too tight when chaining and turning.
If this loop sits flat against your work once you turn, it's too tight:
Sometimes I pull my loop so tight, it's almost non-existent when I turn. If you have this problem, go ahead and pull up a bit of slack in this loop before you continue with the turning chain.
I like to make this loop large enough to leave a space equal to the thickness of the hook between the work and the hook:
The problem with the turning chain is that when you turn, it takes some slack out of the stitch.
Once you've chained to turn with this larger loop, you will see it's a tiny bit taller than the other stitches, but that's okay!
That was my first turning chain. Turn, and continue working.
Now, you've reached the end of the row. Where's that last stitch?
The horizontal loop you see next is actually the bottom loop of the turning chain:
Go ahead and turn you work, but do it in the wrong direction, with the working yarn in front.
Now look: What's after your last stitch?
Sometimes, if your tension is still too tight, you might only be able to see part of the stitch, and you'll need to pull up the other loop with your hook.
Insert your hook under both loops:
Turn the work back around to complete your stitch:
For the previous example, I was working into my first row of stitches. This means the stitch I just showed you was the skipped chain from the starting chain (the one that makes the first stitch). This one is always the most difficult for me.
Let's work another row, just to work into that first turning chain I showed you. At the end of the row, we have the same problem again.
Where's that last stitch?
Again, remember that for now, you're going to turn in the wrong direction, so the working yarn is in front of your work.
Once you turn, you'll see the turning chain:
Insert your hook under both loops of the stitch:
Then turn your work back around again to finish the stitch:
Congratulations: No more fighting with the last stitch in the row. Remember to keep your turning chain loose to make it easier!