Foundation rows and cast on techniques

On this page I have grouped different types of foundation rows and cast on techniques used to start a first Tunisian crochet row counting several stitches.

The foundation chain is probably the best known technique. When you learn crochet, you usually start with how to make chains before anything else. It is quick and straightforward. But if you have a lot of chains to make, you can easily lose your count. Also chains sometimes are not stretchy enough for what you wish in your project.

The other foundation rows (slip stitch, single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet) have a different visual aspect. They are taller. To note: they are not always interchangeable with the foundation chain in all patterns. They take more time to crochet but it is easier to count stitches in such foundation rows. And often they are stretchy.

At the end of this page, I share with you a stretchy foundationless Tunisian crochet cast on technique. I devised this technique and could not find any documentation about it. So I made a video in English specifically for this technique.

You can also use knitting cast on techniques. You may need a second hook or a knitting needle depending on the technique. The objective is to have several loops on your hook to start your Tunisian crochet project, just like for a knitting project.

One last technique to start a project: the magic ring (or circle). I use it mainly to start beanies from the top or projects in a semi-circle shape. It’s also a very useful technique to make amigurumis.

Foundation chain

That’s the most used technique to start a Tunisian crochet project. I show how to do it in the video on the basic principles of TC (video in French).

Foundation row with chains

Foundation slip stitch

You make a foundation row of chains AND a first row of slip stitches. Here is how it works step by step:

  1. chain 2
  2. insert your hook into the second chain from hook, yarn over and pull up a loop (2 loops on hook)
  3. yarn over and pull yarn through 2 loops on hook (1 loop left)
  4. insert your hook under both threads of yarn on the side, yarn over and pull up a loop (2 loops on hook)
  5. repeat steps 3 and 4 as many times as necessary and finish with step 3

To note: All videos below are in French (unless specified otherwise).

foundation slip stitch

Foundation single crochet

Here the idea is to make a foundation row of chains AND a first row of single crochet all in one pass. Proceed as follows:

  1. chain 2
  2. insert hook into the second chain from hook, yarn over and pull up a loop (2 loops on hook)
  3. chain 1 (still 2 loops on hook)
  4. yarn over and pull yarn through 2 loops (1 loop left)
  5. insert hook into chain made in step 3, yarn over and pull up a loop (2 loops on hook)
  6. repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 as many times as necessary and finish with step 4

If you take this technique from a different angle, you basically make extended single crochet stitches and you insert your hook into the chain that you have made just before closing your single crochet stitch.

Still from a different angle, this foundation single crochet is nothing else that a series of tiny (very short) Tunisian crochet rows made of edge stitches only. The FwdP is made of the starting edge stitch (the loop that remains on hook at step 4) and the edge stitch at the end (the loop picked up in the chain at step 5). The RetP starts when you make a chain (step 3), and ends when you make a yarn over and you pull yarn through 2 loops (step 4). See the video in French below.

Foundation single crochet

Foundation half double crochet

Same principle as before: you make a foundation row of chains AND a first row of half double crochet at the same time. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. chain 2
  2. yarn over, insert hook into the second chain from hook, yarn over and pull up a loop (3 loops on hook)
  3. chain 1 (3 loops on hook)
  4. yarn over and pull yarn through 3 loops (1 loop left)
  5. yarn over, insert hook into the chain made in step 3, yarn over and pull up a loop (3 loops on hook)
  6. repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 as many times as necessary and finish with step 4.
Foundation half double crochet

Foundation double crochet

You make a foundation row of chains AND a first row of double crochet at the same time.

  1. chain 3
  2. yarn over, insert hook into the third chain from hook (3 loops on hook)
  3. chain 1 (3 loops on hook)
  4. yarn over and pull yarn through 2 loops (2 loops on hook), again yarn over and pull yarn through 2 loops (1 loop left)
  5. yarn over, insert hook into chain made at step 3, yarn over and pull up a loop (3 loops on hook)
  6. repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 as many times as necessary and finish with step 4.

The foundation double crochet has a lot in common with a series of tiny (short) Tunisian crochet rows made of 3 stitches. The big different is that you make a yarn over in step 5 instead of a Tunisian simple stitch (or any other basic stitch). If you make a simple stitch instead of a yarn over, your foundation double crochet becomes a foundation linked double crochet or a series of Tunisian crochet rows made of a starting edge stitch, a simple stitch and an edge stitch at the end of the row.

Foundation double crochet

Stretchy foundationless Tunisian crochet cast on

This technique allows you to cast on loops directly on the hook without picking up loops in a foundation row. You’ ll get a very stretchy first row and I would recommend that you use a smaller hook than the one you plan for the rest of your work. I mainly use it when I make closed necklines in top down garments, like in my pattern Céleste.

Because I devised this technique and could not find any documentation on it, I came up with a descriptive name (rather long, actually) and I made a video in English.

Stretchy, foundationless Tunisian crochet cast on technique
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