Crochet Techniques – Chain-less Cast-On Method

Crochet Techniques – Chain-less Cast-On Method

by Alison Stapleton

Most crochet items have a base chain

Typically the pattern will call for a chain of say, 40 or 100 chains, and the first row is built on the base chain.

In the chain-less cast-on method there is no chain.

I have also heard of this being called the chain less starting (crochet stitch) method CShdc, CSdc etc. which I may incorporate soon if that is the general term.

The chain-less cast on technique is used without a base chain so it provides some give in the item as a base chain can pull if not loose enough. Any tightness is only noticeable when you have worked up more of the item.

The first row is actually the base row and indicated as Row 1: on all patterns.


Row 1: 3 ch,IMG_2062

yarn over, insert hook in first ch (but both loops),

pull through (3 loops on hook),

IMG_2063yarn over, insert hook into bottom stitch two “V” and pull through (3 loops on hook),


make 1 dc as normal inserting hook into both loops of previous loop pulled through.IMG_2069 (1)IMG_2065

Each new double crochet is started in the one loop pulled through from the two on the base.IMG_2071

Continue for as many double crochets as required.

Where to use the chain-less cast-on

This is great for waistbands on skirts and shorts. It also goes well for bag handles and straps for summer tops.

I don’t use it all the time but it does result in a really nice edge that has give and does not pull. In a way it is forgiving and I like that.

Tension and Gauge Swatches

Tension and Gauge Swatches

Make your garment the same size as the pattern intended

c1b3b9b0Gauge swatches are usually made 4” or 10cm square. They are used to check your tension.

The pattern will tell you which hook and yarn to use, but in the real world we often reach for some wool that we have to hand and this may work up either too big or too small than the pattern intended.

What you do is make a gauge swatch or a tension square.

Too small or too big?

  • If the swatch is too small then you should use a larger hook.
  • If the swatch is too big then you should use a smaller hook.

The idea is to use the hook that results in the same measurements as the original pattern.

When to do a gauge swatch

Size and tension matters more in garments that have to fit like clothes rather than blankets or throws which are still ok if they are a little bigger or smaller.

When you start a new pattern always do a test swatch  to make sure you will have the correct size at the end.