Understanding the turning chains each crochet stitch needs and whether or not to work into the first stitch of the row can be confusing.
Two very common mistakes people make when they begin to learn to crochet taller stitches are:
- They work an extra stitch into the first stitch of the row.
- They forget to work into the turning chain at the end of the row.
When you work an extra stitch into the first stitch of the row, it means that after you turned to begin your row, you chained your turning chain of 3 stitches (for a double crochet stitch) and then you also worked 1 dc into the first stitch of the row (at the base of the chain 3). What you need to remember is that chain 3 is actually taking the place of the first stitch and you need to skip the first stitch of the row to allow it to take it’s place. When you work this extra dc at the beginning of the row, your project will begin to grow in size on the one edge.
When you forget to work into the turning chain when you reach it at the end of the row and instead, ch 3 and turn to begin your next row, the one edge of your project will begin to shrink in size.
What I recommend for you to do is to place a stitch marker (or safety pin) into the top of the turning chain. When you chain three and work into the next stitch with your next double crochet, take the time to put a stitch marker into that turning chain (the third chain). Leave it there and when you work to the end of the row and chain 3 and turn, place a 2nd stitch marker into that 3rd chain.
From this point on each time you reach that stitch marker it will be a visual reminder that you need to work a double crochet stitch into that 3rd chain. Remove the stitch marker, make that double crochet stitch, chain 3 and turn and put that stitch marker back into the third chain.
Understanding the Turning Chains
For all stitches listed below, except single crochet (unless otherwise noted in the pattern instructions) the turning chain stitch(es) count as the first stitch in the next row.
Understanding the Turning Chains:
Since the turning chain counts as your first stitch you need to begin your row in the 2nd stitch from the hook AND you need to remember to work into the top of the turning chain when you come back to it as it is actually a stitch!
To make this easier – I recommend using a stitch marker to mark your turning chain. When you get back to the stitch marker you will know you need to work into the chain stitch. This will help you with dropping a stitch at the end of each row and having your afghan turn out with one end on an angle!