Right and wrong side. Working in rows.
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The chain stitch (abbreviated ch) is the basis for all crochet. Almost every pattern begins with a chain stitch. If you’re working in rows, your first row is a series of chain stitches, which (not surprisingly) is called a foundation chain. When you’re ready to start a new row, guess what? You use the chain stitch! Sometimes you work just a few chain stitches and join them together to create a ring, which you use when working in rounds.
Each stitch has a right side (front) and a wrong side (back). The right side of the chain is smooth, and you can see each stitch clearly. The wrong side has a small bumpy loop on each stitch. The figure below shows both the right and wrong sides of a chain.
When you’re talking about the right or wrong side of a piece of crocheted fabric, the first row of stitches (not counting the foundation chain) is generally considered the right side. You can always distinguish which side of the fabric you’re looking at by locating the tail of the foundation chain. If it’s on your left, then the right side is facing you; if it’s on the right, then the wrong side is toward you.
To work your next row of stitches into the chain stitches, you have to know where to insert your hook. If you look at an individual stitch, you see that it consists of three separate loops or strands of yarn: two strands that create the V on the right side, which are called the top 2 loops, and a third that creates the bump on the wrong side.
You can insert your hook anywhere in the stitch and start stitching, but you get the best results like this: With the right side of the chain facing you, insert your hook between the top loops and under the back bump loop, catching the loops on your hook (as shown in figure below). Working in the chain stitches like this gives you a neat base without any loose loops hanging down.
Turning your work
To turn your work around so you can start a new row of stitches, keep the last loop on your hook and simply take the completed work, which should be positioned under your hook hand, and turn it toward you until the work is positioned under your yarn hand (rotate work clockwise). This way, you hold the work between the middle finger and thumb of your yarn hand, your yarn is positioned behind your work, and the hook is in place to work the beginning stitches of the next row.
Keep in mind that each time you turn your work to crochet back across the previous row, a different side of the piece will be facing you. If the first row is designated as the right side of the piece, then when you turn to work the second row, the wrong side is facing you. The third row again has the right side facing you, and so on.
After you turn your piece around, you’re ready to crochet the turning chain, the one or more chain stitches that you make after you’ve turned your work and are about to begin your next row. The purpose of the turning chain is to bring your yarn to the height necessary in order to work the first stitch of your next row or round.
The number of chain stitches you make in the turning chain depends on what the next stitch in the row is, because some stitches are taller than others.
Figure bellow shows the height differences of several turning chains used for successively taller stitches (US terminology).
The turning chain almost always counts as the first stitch of the next row, except for the single crochet. (The single crochet turning chain isn’t wide enough to substitute for the first single crochet of the row and creates a rough edge to your rows. Working a single crochet stitch in the first stitch of the row fills out each row on the end.)
Some patterns like to change things up and may tell you to insert your hook in a different place in the previous row. But if no specific instructions are given, always work the stitches in each subsequent row under the top 2 loops of the stitch in the previous row. This is the best way to create a smooth, even fabric.
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