Meditations on the foundation base chain

P4059793-2What’s this fancy edging for this knitted swatch? Well, I started with this:


The crocheters among you will probably recognize that that’s a foundation base chain. (If you’re a crocheter and don’t know about them, they’re a wonderful replacement for a base chain.)

It turns out that it makes an excellent knitting cast on, like a fancy braid at the bottom. Speaking of which, it would also make gorgeous braid for decorating sewing. Work it up in thin shiny silk and I expect it would look really fancy.

(There are some new things in this post for crocheters as well as knitters.)


Pick up the back loops of the chain across the top and the live stitch at the end. That’s your “right side” row. Purl back, twisting each stitch, and off you go!

I’ve been contemplating the structure of foundation base chains. (This post only shows the one for single crochet, but I think it could be expanded to the one for half-double crochet or double crochet.)

I had kind of thought of the foundation base chain as making a chain along the bottom at the same time as making regular stitches, but I’m not sure that’s the case. It’s a thing all its own.

If I try making it with two colors, and I do one color along the bottom and the other color for the “regular stitches”, then it’s really just a regular base chain with regular stitches. That’s kind of uninteresting.

But here’s something fun. It’s not structurally the same as if I’d done it with just one yarn, but I think it’s kind of cool:


I started out with the trick used in this post for avoiding slip knots. I had the loose slip knot in blue. I pulled one loop of white through the chain, and then picked up the fake “chain” at the bottom.


Chain two with blue.


Yarn over with white and pull through all loops on the hook.


Repeat as desired. It’s pretty nifty-looking, though it is not the same as foundation base chain. (Though it could certainly be used for the same purpose.)

When I looked at that for a while, I started thinking again. The white chain looked like the chain on a bag of pet food. So I unraveled it and stuck the resulting loose stitches on my Tunisian crochet hook. It looked like a cast on.

f5914688-2f5944960-2It was a cast on.

It’s actually nicely stretchy, and you can work it directly onto a knitting needle or afghan hook without the chain across the top! Directions coming next week, because I think they deserve a post to themselves.