This photo tutorial is all about working on opposite side of your starting chains. This technique comes in handy when working in any kind of rectangles, such as mats, slippers, and bag bottoms. As a matter of fact, nearly all my crochet bag patterns use this method.
Although it is fairly easy to do, having a few tricks up your sleeve and knowing where to insert your hook can make a huge difference to ensure that your rectangle is even, and that you have the correct stitch count.
This tutorial will show you how to work into your beginning chains, how to turn the round and crochet into the opposite side of the starting chains, also known as the free loops.
- Place stitch markers to mark your stitches whenever you are unsure of where the next stitch goes.
- I use a tight slip stitch join to help keep the rectangle straighter, also to eliminate the appearance of a seam.
- Step 1: The first step is to make a chain. This can be any number that you want or as specified by the pattern.
- Step 2: Now you have two options. Your chains are basically made up of three loops: You can insert your hook into the top loop only, leaving two loops on opposite side. Or, you can insert your hook under the top two loops, leaving only one free loop on the opposite side. I prefer to go under the top two, but it really doesn't matter as long as you are consistent.
- Step 3: For single crochet stitches work your first stitch into the second chain from the hook. With double crochets you would work into the third or fourth chain depending on whether the skipped chains count as a stitch or not.
- The image below shows the single crochet made. You might want to mark this stitch so that you know exactly where to join it later.
- Step 4: Single across to last chain.
- Step 5: Now depending on the pattern, you might crochet anywhere from 3-5 (or more) stitches into the last chain. Then the pattern will tell you to turn your work and crochet into the opposite side of your chains.
- What I like to do is make my turn halfway through working the end stitches. In this case I will be working 3 single crochet stitches into the last chain. Since you can't divide 3 in half, I make my first 2 stitches in the last chain.
- Then I basically turn my work upside and finish off the remaining stitches, which in this case is 1. It's hard to tell, but there are 3 stitches made in the last chain. At this point you can begin to crochet over your tail end so you don't have to weave it in later.
- Step 6: Now you are ready to work into the free loops of the beginning chains. The stitch marker is moved to the first free loop that you need to work into.
- Step 7: Continue to single crochet into each free loop of beginning chains up to the last loop. Patterns will vary at this stage, but in this case you will work another 2 single crochet stitches into the last free loop. That way you have 3 stitches on each end.
- The last 2 single crochet stitches made.
- Step 8: Your next step is to join the last stitch to the very first single crochet stitch that you made in the round. Basically, insert your hook into the first stitch, yarn over and pull through. I like to pull my slip stitch nice and tight in order to reduce the appearance of a seam.