Overview of the Turning Chain in Crochet

Chain 2 for Turning Chain (HDC)
Chain 2 for Turning Chain in Double Crochet. Kathryn Vercillo

A turning chain is typically worked in between rows of crochet stitches. Its purpose is to facilitate the transition between one row of crochet and the next row.

After you’ve worked a row of crochet, you typically turn the piece over and work back across. The turning chain helps you to achieve the correct height for your next row of stitches.

A turning chain can be either a single chain stitch ​or a group of chain stitches.

Turning Chain Lengths

The length of the turning chain depends on the height of the stitch you are crocheting. Tall stitches require more chains; short stitches require fewer chains.

Here are suggestions for turning chain lengths for the most basic crochet stitches. Note that these are only suggestions; feel free to use a turning chain of any length that achieves your objective for the project you are crocheting.

Turning chains don't always have to be purely functional. They can be decorative as well.

Bruges Lace

Bruges lace is an example of a crochet technique that utilizes the idea of the turning chain becoming a design element. Bruges lace is a beautiful crocheted lace that resembles the more labor-intensive handmade lace of the same name.