Which Comes First: The Turn or the Chain?

Turn And Chain Background

I see this question quite often in crochet conversation. Some instructions will say to turn your work and then chain up. Some instructions with say to chain up and then turn your work. Which is correct?

The answer is: It doesn’t matter!

The only thing that matters is that you remain consistent so your edge stitches look the same. It’s also good to note that the direction you turn will also affect your edge stitches.

How do I crochet?

I chain then turn and I always turn exactly the same direction every single row.

“Okay, you chain and turn? Why do your patterns say turn and chain?”

Let’s take a look at an excerpt of a pattern here, which is written with a chain and turn at the end of the row.

Row 2: Sk first sc, dc in each remaining sc across, ch 1, turn.

Row 3: Sc in each dc across, ch 3, turn.

Rows 4-7: Rep rows 2-3. Fasten off after final row.

When writing crochet patterns, you need to be exact. You can’t take anything for granted. When I say to “repeat rows 2-3”, it means to repeat it fully. Row 3 has a chain 3 at the end. So, if you follow the pattern exactly, you single crochet across, ch 3 and then fasten off. Naturally, I don’t REALLY want that chain 3 at the end before the fasten off and I’m taking for granted that the crocheter is reading my mind, therefore, I write my pattern like this instead.

Row 2: Ch 3, sk first dc, dc in each remaining sc across, turn.

Row 3: Ch 1, sc in each dc across, turn.

Rows 4-7: Rep rows 2-3. Fasten off after final row.

See that very subtle change? Now, after the completion of row 7, I don’t have a dangling chain 3 hanging out at the end.

And, there you have it! The ONLY reason you find this instruction in patterns is to aid in pattern writing. It’s something the pattern writers have learned with experience in their neverending quest of clearing up every instance of possible confusion in a pattern. It’s got absolutely nothing to do with the personal preference of turning and chaining or chaining and turning. Do what you want!

Consistency is the key to success.

Note: If you’re looking for the pattern for my image photo, you can find it HERE.