It took me a while to figure it out, as in several months from when I first tried it on the Starling Handbag, but I am now a convert and a believer. The foundation crochet stitches are the way to go when starting a crochet piece. It beats a starting chain handsdown. It’s the only way to get stretch in your entire piece (super important in clothing) and helps prevent curling (after blocking).
I finally figured out what the foundation stitch actually is. It’s just the regular crochet stitch… Single Crochet, Half Double, Double, Triple… with one extra step. It’s just like you’re working upside down and adding the chain as you go.
- For the very beginning you Chain 2 for SC, 2 or 3 for HDC, 3 for DC, 4 for TC
- You start off like a regular stitch, yarn over if it’s anything other than single crochet and don’t yarn over for single crochet, then insert your hook through two loops (like a regular stitch) *for the first stitch, insert your hook in the first chain furthest from your hook.
- pull up a loop (like a regular stitch)
- then yarn over and pull through one loop (this is the ONLY change from a regular stitch)
- then finish your stitch like you normally would: for SC and HDC yarn over and pull through all loops on the hook, for DC, yarn over and pull through two loops on hook, then yarn over and pull through the last 2 loops on the hook, for TC, yarn over and pull through 2 loops on hook, then yarn over and pull through 2 loops, and yarn over and pull through the last 2 loops on the hook
- You are now an expert in foundation crochet stitches.
There’s a great photo tutorial and video by futuregirl on Foundation Single Crochet that you can view on her blog. I think I watched the video 50 times while I was trying to start the Starling Handbag (which happens to be a great simple bag project and the purse I use everyday). In retrospect, starting that bag with a chain and regular single crochet stitches would have been fine.
Abbreviations for the foundation stitches:
FSC: Foundation Single Crochet
FHDC: Foudnation Half Double Crochet
FDC: Foundation Double Crochet
FTC: Foundation Triple Crochet