Maybe Matilda: How to Get Rid of Extra Chains from Foundation Chain (Crochet)

Friday, March 15, 2013

How to Get Rid of Extra Chains from Foundation Chain (Crochet)

That’s a wordy title, isn’t it? Can’t think of a more succinct way to put it, though, so it’s staying. I thought I’d cover a nifty crochet trick I learned recently. Maybe it’s common knowledge and not worth doing a full-blown tutorial on, but I figured that if I didn’t realize this was an  easy option for hiding foundation chain screwups, surely someone else doesn’t know and could benefit from learning it as well.

If you’re anything like me, you probably lose track of how many chains you’re making when starting in on bigger projects . . . if you’re making a blanket, for instance, and you’re starting with a whopping foundation chain of 100 chains or 200 or even more, you’re bound to lose count at some point and either have to go back and tally them up, or just hope for the best and move on. And if you’re really like me, you’ll get the number of starting chains wrong anyway, even if you’ve counted and recounted, and you won’t realize the count is off until you’ve finished your first row and have extra chains dangling at the end.

I never knew there was a quick and simple fix for this. All along, I’ve been either ripping my work apart and starting over when I ended up with too many chains, or forging onward and trying to find a way to hide those extra chains by sewing them into the project (which makes for a bulky, awkward finish that probably no one but you will notice, but still—it’ll bug you). There is a better way. A MUCH better way. And if this is news to you, like it was to me, you’ll be kicking yourself for never realizing how easy it could be to get rid of those extra chains.

How to get rid of extra chains when crocheting

So you’ve reached the end of your first row. You have the correct stitch count, you’ve followed your pattern carefully, but curses! Extra chains! You don’t want to mess with the pattern to include them, but you don’t want to just leave them hanging there as a reminder that you miscounted your foundation chain. Here’s what you need to do.

How to get rid of extra chains without tearing your crochet apart!

1. Find your extra chains. You’ll have a knot on the far left, then however many chains you overshot your foundation row by. I have two extra chains here. Dangnabbit!

Getting rid of extra chains without frogging your crochet!

2. Grab a blunt needle and use it to loosen up the knot. Maybe you’ll be able to do this with your fingers . . . I can’t. Just pull that  knot loose with the needle or your fingers, and undo it.

Getting rid of too many chains in foundation row of crochet

3. Now just carefully unravel those extra chains. They won’t just rip loose, like you’re used to when you have to pull your work out. Since you’re kind of working backwards here—from the bottom end instead of the top--you’ll have to manually unravel each individual chain.

How to get rid of extra chains from foundation chain

4. Once your extra chains are pulled loose and you’ve reached the first real stitch of the row, just pull the yarn tail tight, and you’re all done! When you get a few more rows out of the way, you can go ahead and weave that tail in, and no one will ever know you messed up your foundation chain.

Simple, right? I can’t believe I’ve ripped out so much work in the past because I didn’t realize I could just undo the knot and unravel the chains. Totally kicking myself for all that wasted time, but hey, at least I’ve figured out a better way. And now that I know how easy it is to fix, I purposely add extra chains when making blankets just to make sure I don’t make the even more annoying mistake of having too few chains in the starting row. I’d rather go back and undo too many chains than try to make up for too few.

Is this concept news to you like it was to me, or is this Crochet 101 that you can’t believe I haven’t heard of before?

35 comments :

  1. That's brilliant!! Thanx for sharing!!
    Esther.

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  2. It's so obvious now you share it, but I had never thought of it! Thanks for sharing :)
    Helen x

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  3. Niiiiiiice! Thanks for the tip!

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  4. You just blew my mind!! I can't believe I never thought of that before. I am so going to use this trick from now on!

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  5. Sweet!! I totally didn't know this - and will save me time from starting over as well :) Thank you for posting!

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  7. Um...that is genius. Seriously. Why have i never thought of this before??? You rock!

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  8. What made you think of this? It's funny how the simplest fixes take brilliant moments to come up with ;) Thanks for sharing! You will save me many hours in the future.

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  9. Brilliant! Thanks for saving me several hours in the future.

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  10. This is awesome! I didn't know this trick.... and it will be so helpful as I never chain the right amount. ~Stephanie

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  11. How did I never think of this before!? Genius!

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  12. I almost did something like this the other day because I though I over counted but it turned out I just left out a stitch. And what's really funny is it was the same stitch pattern that's in your picture :) thanks for sharing because now I know this is a legit way to fix extra chain mistakes

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  13. Huh. That's called a foundation chain?

    You are enlightening me, as always. ;)

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  14. I learned this trick during a Craftsy class I took; so glad you are sharing it.

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  15. I love this! I might never count my chains again. I'm so pinning this!

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  16. I love this! I might never count my chains again. I'm so pinning this!

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  17. Great tip! Now all I need to do is learn how to start crocheting.

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  18. Yes, you blew my mind. I can't believe I didn't know this either.

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  19. Oooohhh, that's tricky! I like it! I'm glad you shared... I wouldn't have thought of doing that!

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  20. I had heard of this but you have shown it so beautifully!! This is the best tip of the Craft Month for me. :)

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  21. Freaking cool! Thank you so much for sharing. I think I will purposely chain extra stitches, like you've mentioned. Thanks again for this awesome tip:-)

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  22. Freaking cool! Thank you so much for sharing. I think I will purposely chain extra stitches, like you've mentioned. Thanks again for this awesome tip:-)

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  23. You can add extra chains this way, too. Just leave a long yarn tail (about 8 inches) when crocheting a long chain, open up the knot the same way, insert your hook in that loop and chain however many more stitches you need :).

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  24. Awesome! Can't believe never thought of this. Thanks for the great tip and insight! Love reading your blog btw :)

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  25. Just awesome....how did I never think if that before!

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  26. Just awesome....how did I never think if that before!

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  27. Thank you for posting that. And thank you Marie/Underground Crafter for the extra info.

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  28. Was just browsing your crochet pinterest board, and Oh. My. Goodness! This genius!

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  29. Love the hint! Actually thought of doing it before but not accomplished enough to figure it out! Duh!!

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  30. Thank you!! That is awesome!! Not everyone knows that little trick. Now I do!!

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  31. Just figured this out last night with a new project and I have been crocheting for years. Thanks for writing this out. You can teach an old crocheter new tricks.

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  32. I discovered this quite by accident myself . I just never utilized it nor had anyone else confirm my findings until now:) thank you for proving me right!

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  33. Brilliant! Thank you so much. I was going to do a border and 'lose' my extra stitches in that, but this is so much better! :)

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  34. Funny, but when I saw this on Pinterest, I thought, "I bet she's just going to tell me to unravel it." Yeah, but I hadn't thought about it until then. Grrrrr. Thank you!

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  35. how do you add an extra stitch in the same process??

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Thanks for commenting!