When you’re crocheting a project with a long foundation chain – like a blanket or a scarf worked lengthwise – it can be so frustrating to discover (typically, at the end of the first row!) that you didn’t count your chains correctly. I have an easy fix that will ensure you can always finish your first row with the right number of chains. I’m sharing a video version and photo tutorial version of this tip below so you can learn the way you prefer!
Watch the video version of this tip below, or scroll down for the photo version of this tip.
If you can’t see the video above, click here to watch it on Instagram.
To prevent having to unravel my project or add on another piece of yarn, I always leave a very long yarn tail of 12” (30 cm) or more at the beginning of any project with a long foundation chain.
Easy fix for when you end Row 1 with too few chains
When I get to the end of the first row and find I need to add a few more chains to my project, I pull up the loop on the hook so that it is very tall and won’t unravel.
Next, I remove my hook. I locate the slip knot I created at the beginning of my chain. I gently untie my slip knot until it forms a small loop.
I place this loop on my crochet hook, and add as many stitches to the foundation chain as I need.
(This time, I’m sure to check my count again before fastening off the foundation chain!)
I finish by returning my hook to the loop and continuing across Row 1. I may waste a few inches of yarn when I’ve counted the chain correctly, but I save myself a lot of frustration when my chain is too short.
Easy fix for when you end Row 1 with too many chains
Sometimes, the opposite happens. I finish the first row and find that I started with too many chains.
I locate the slip knot I created at the beginning of my chain.
I gently untie my slip knot.
I slowly unravel each extra chain until I reach the base of the last stitch of the first row.
I hold the base of the last stitch in one hand and the yarn tail in the other and pull them gently apart.
This forms a new slip knot and the end of my first row.
57 thoughts on “Easy Fixes for a Foundation Chain with Too Few or Too Many Chains | #Crochet #TipsTuesday”
Thanks for this tip. There’s times I’ve miscounted too.. I think I have shared your link about unraveling if there’s too many chains. Sometimes I need to be shown. Then I kinda do a “well dah!”
Glad it could help, Linda! It took me a long time to figure this one and I know all about that “well dah” moment!
I’ve just seen a post which left the edge of a striped afghan very uneven. I’m thinking the add on technique could be adapted and used here too. Ideas yet?
Linda, without seeing the actual blanket, I would probably recommend blocking an uneven edge or adding a border rather than adding stitches to a completed afghan. Hope this helps!
Hi. It wasn’t my blanket and it’s now buried deep in posts on a fb group page. It was a stripped blanket and the stitches were simple double crochet.
The problem was incorrect stitch counts and the person didn’t notice until 6 rows later. She asked for suggestions. And dreeded the thought of frogging it. I was thinking of adding on stitches in the same manner you added on to your foundation chains. But…she frogged it.
It was just a thought. Thx. Linda.
wish i would have known this 5 months ago when i first started to crochet, lol!! i cant seem to count, maybe i should be going back to kindergarten, lol 😀 !!! this will be a life saver! (it is one reason i learned, finally, how to do the chainless foundation, but that cause a new problem cause i dont know really how to count those stitches, lol :D. i learned by watching youtube vids, and everyone that does vids, no one seems to do this as their base so i can learn the ins and outs of this!! i will have to keep searching, but in the mean time, know i can fix my mis-counting thanks to you!! no more avoiding chain stitches!! thanks 🙂
So glad it could help, cindyzs! Let me know if you have other crochet problems/questions you’d like to see answered on Tips Tuesday.
I was having a very similar problem and in order to help myself keep a better count I started placing stitch markers at every tenth stitch. This helped me a great deal and it might make it easier for you. When there was not a stitch marker for me to use (I keep a bunch of the scrap yarn) I just grabbed a piece of yarn and used it for my marker.
This is a great tip, Phyllis! I use a lot more stitch markers for knitting, but they are useful for crochet, too.
This is great information.. I can’t count how many times I have had to take out the second row because I miss counted.
I am happy that I have found your website and the current CAL project.
Haha, I had the same problem many times, Christina, so I’m glad to help out a fellow crocheter.
Loved this!! I have, through trial and error, learned this. Wish I had seen your tips long ago!! Also, I have a problem keeping long starting chains from twisting when you have to join them in a circle. To avoid that problem I make my chain and then work my first row of stitches without having joined. At the end of the first row I finally make the join as it much easier to see if the work is twisted or not. I use the beginning tail to sew the bottom of the beginning chain together. This has saved me a lot of frogging and headache!! Maybe this can help someone else avoid crochet troubles.
Great point, Mimi! I do the same, and for the same reason. (I guess it is something we learn from trial and error!)
Thank you, this was so helpful
Glad to help, Mare!
My husband’s aunt taught me some tips and tricks as she taught me to knit and crochet years ago. This tip for too few or too many stitches has been used more times than I can count over the years. Thanks for sharing with others. I also use stitch markers or safety pins or bits of yarn to keep count of my foundation row.
thank you, you saved the project or at least my peace of mind
Oh thanks so much for your tips and the wonderful other comments that I just read! So helpful! Thanks everyone.
You have saved my life spent 2 evenings redoing crochet because chain was too long after I’d crochet into it … a lifesaver
What a lifesaver you are! After calculating the number of chains I needed for my project after finishing Row 1, I realized the project would turn out way too wide. I followed your instructions for reducing the number of chains and it worked perfectly! Thanks.
I’m so glad I found your post. I will definitely bookmark it. It just saved me work on an afghan I had started. I had not left enough extra when I started but even with having to add yarn, it looks fine.
Thanks for the tips they are very helpful, I have those problems all the time.
Great idea, thanks.
Thank you so much for this great information. I often seem to have the foundation count off by a few stitches.
Even if I count out loud while I am making the chain (which makes my kids look at me questioning way).
What a great tip. Usually when I get toward the end of the chain I hold my breath and prayer that I have the right number. Now if I don’t I can fix it thanks to you…Thank you so much
Thank you , thank you, thank you!
After making the short or over mistakes many times, I just add 10 stitches to the end of the chain row on EVERY pattern. If it is short, you have enough, if it is over, just undo the last few. This has saved many hours of redoing the chain!!!
Thank you that helps a lot done it to many times
I was short 2 chains, cant thank you enough
Excellent tip about adding extra chains! Thank you.
Thanks for the great tips.
So helpful to have options other than starting again!!
I will jsut need to remember not to make the starting chain too tight, and to make sure I leave a long tail!!
I never knew this trick! I learned basics from my mother and have since learned a few stitches to get me through easy projects.
This was an absolute answer to that frustration I get after completing a row of wave double crochets only to realize I miscalculated when I wanted to make the project wider.
Wish I’d known these tricks sooner!
Thank you for sharing!
God bless you!
I think this is definitely one (or should I say two) of the best tips I have seen for a long time! Thank you for sharing this as I know that it will definitely come in handy one day.
I to cannot count! I have done the decrease and increase by taking out the slip knot and fixing things. Also, I now use stitch markers because no matter what I do, I am always under on my stitch count!!! Now you would think it couldn’t happen repeatedly. I must say that no matter what, there are times I have ripped it back to the beginning in some cases. All to correct the problem. Seems the older I get, the worse my counting gets!!! I laugh a lot over these stupid mistakes (mostly when I am trying to multitask) and my husband shakes his head and says “Oh sweetie”. Love your hints and ideas. Thank you so much.
I just found your post and I am so thankful for the tip. I am relearning crochet now. I know I did some maybe – gee – was it really about 65 years ago. I’m pretty sure I was in my 20’s and I’m 85 now.
Thank you so much for these helpful hints. I too, like many others have had to rip out because of a wrong stitch count. This will be very helpful
Per 10 steken haakte ik telkens 1 steek meer, was het teveel dan deed ik de teveel gemaakte steken terug eraf zoals je beschreven hebt. toch hartelijk bedankt.
I use stitch markers to keep track of my foundation chain count. If you want to chain 200 chains for a afghan/blanket get stitch markers as follows 4 of one color, 1 of another color, and 1 of another color. Crochet 10 chains, insert one of the 4 stitch markers, repeat until you have 40 chains with stitch marker every 10 chains. Then crochet 10 more chains and insert stitch marker of a different color and remove all 4 of the stitch of one color. (You have 50 chains.) Begin 10 more chains inserting 1 of 4 stitch markers until you have 90 chains. Chain 10 more chains Inserting last stitch marker (you have 100 chains.) Removing all stitch markers except your last one. Begin 10 chains and inserting 1 of 4 stitch Repeating 10 chains insert stich marker again for 40 more chains. Chain 10 more insert last stitch. Insert last stitch marker (You now have 150 chains.) Now remove only your 4 of one color stich markers. Begin your chain 10 and insering stitch marker for the next 40 stitches. Add 10 more chains. You now have 200 chains. Remove all stitch markers and begin crocheting your next row.
I came up with this method because when you lose count, it’s easier to count 10 chains than 190 chains.