Do you ever wonder why the edges of your crochet project aren’t straight or why your project gets wider or narrower from the bottom to the top? It’s just possible that you aren’t working your first or last stitch of the rows in the proper place. Here are the rules for working in rows with single crochet, double crochet and half double crochet.
Note: These rules apply when no increases or decreases are to be worked.
Sc (Single Crochet) Rows
When working in sc rows, the first sc of the row is worked in the first stitch and the last sc of the row is worked in the last stitch. A turning ch-1 is used so your first stitch will be at the height of the sc to be worked. This turning ch-1 does not count as a stitch.
Dc (Double Crochet) Rows
Note: Beware! Most patterns won’t automatically tell you this. You are expected to know this already. This is a crochet rule (except when the rule is broken!).
When working in dc rows, the first dc of the row is worked in the next (second) stitch. The reason for this is a turning ch-3 is worked at the end of the previous row (or at the beginning of the current row) to bring your work up to the height of a dc to work the dc row. This turning ch-3 counts as the first dc of the row, so the first stitch on the previous row is skipped (if it wasn’t skipped, you’d have an increase). Since the turning ch-3 counts as a dc, the last stitch in the row is worked in the 3rd chain (top) of the turning ch-3 of the previous row (which counted as the first dc of that row) to keep the stitch count the same. This also keeps the edges of the work straight. Turning chains can be worked at the end of the row or at the beginning of the next row. For instance, a pattern can be worded with “ch 3, turn” at the end or beginning of the row instructions.
Hdc (Half Double Crochet) Rows
There are 2 ways to work hdc rows. The first is to use a turning ch-2, which counts as the first hdc of the row. When working hdc this way, work the first hdc in the next (second) stitch of the row. Work the last hdc in the 2nd ch of the turning ch-2 from the previous row. This will keep the stitch count the same in each row.
The second way to work hdc rows is to work a turning ch-2, but not to have it count as a hdc in the row. When working hdc this way, work the first hdc in the first stitch of the row. Work the last hdc in the last stitch of the row (not in the turning chain). This will also keep the stitch count the same in each row, but the edges will stick out a little where the ch-2 is located.