I get emails all the time asking for pattern help. One of the questions I hear the most is, “How do I know if the beginning chain is included in the stitch count?” – or similar versions of the same question. I can’t give you a simple “yes, you count it” or “no, do not include it in your stitch count.” However, I can offer you a way to figure it out based on the stitches being used.
When to Count the Beginning Chain
“Do I count the beginning chain of each row in the stitch count?” This question seems like it should have a simple yes or no response, but it doesn’t and here’s why.
First and foremost, every designer writes there patterns differently. If it’s not listed one way or another in the pattern all you can do is use your best educated guess. The second reason it’s hard to make it a simple yes or no is because a lot of times it might be based on the stitch being used and not necessarily the pattern. So how do you know? Below is a basic breakdown of whether or not to count the chain as part of the stitch count.
Beginning Chain Breakdown
The general consensus with patterns is “not unless it tells you to” but I have found that isn’t always the case and there’s more to it than that. For instance, take a square/afghan type project. Looking at the 4 basic crochet stitches I would make these assumptions.
- Ch 1 – Almost never. I would say this one is the easiest to figure out. For all the tech editing I do for publishers and designers, the only time a ch 1 is ever counted as a stitch is if it actually says to count it.
- Ch 2 – About 50/50. Ch 2 is primarily used at the beginning of a hdc row/round. From my experience it is counted as a stitch about 50% of the time. If it doesn’t say I would assume it would fall under the “not unless it tells you to” rule.
- Ch 3 – Yes, it normally counts as dc. Not all designers say it, but I think it’s assumed to count it, especially at the beginning of a row.
- Ch 4 – Yes, it normally counts as treble. Again, I think it’s assumed to count it unless otherwise noted, especially at the beginning of a row.
Now here’s the catch. This isn’t 100% all the time. It’s a best guess for a pattern that doesn’t say either way. I’m going off “majority rule” for what I have seen in my experience with publishers and indie designers. Just use your best judgement, and maybe even try to contact the designer to verify if you’re still unsure.
If you need stitch tutorials, please visit my Stitch Guide for more help.