+1 AnyoneI get asked a lot of interesting questions about crochet and today a really great one came my way that I thought would be perfect to share right here on the blog!

HodgePodge Fan Writes:

I’m trying my first graphghan and I am a little confused as to how to begin. My foundation chain calls for 150 stitches. I am supposed to put +1 for the turning chain which makes 151. Right?

Well, Row 1 is the same exact stitches…shouldn’t it be 1 less…150 and not 151? Your help would be greatly appreciated!

That’s a great question because foundation chains and + amounts confuse a lot of crocheters. When creating something with so many chains, it is so important to get right because you don’t want to have to frog that much yarn.

Here is the skinny on + amounts in foundation chains.

Sometimes a pattern will tell you that the skipped chain(s) count as whatever stitch you are working for row 1. Most of the times, the skipped chains are there because they take the place of a stitch in the pattern and are important for the multiple to work correctly. For example:

Chain 20

Row 1: DC in 4th chain from hook (skipped chains count as dc)…

In this pattern, you would include the skipped 3 chains in the foundation as a dc stitch when you get back to this end in row 2 of your pattern. Generally, the pattern will tell you to work into the turning chain (this is the + amount of your foundation or the 3 skipped chains)

When you are working a graphghan, the skipped chain does not count. Most patterns won’t really tell you that but generally what this means is that you will not be crocheting into it on the way back in row 2. Adding a +1 means you will end with the exact number of stitches you need. In the case of the question above, that means 150 sc.

If you were to leave out that critical +1 when crocheting the foundation chain of 150 sts, when you get to the end you would have 149 sc. (Not including the skipped chain.) Your graphghan would be off by one stitch. That’s not a huge deal if your edges are all a solid color but if your pattern takes the design all the way out to the edge, something is going to go awry!

If you’d like to include the skipped chain (meaning you will crochet into it when you finish row 2) then you will have 150 sts but you might also end up with a pinched foundation that throws your corners off as your blanket grows. It might not be noticeable at first but you’ll see it as you get 10+ rows in.

If you’d like to see what I mean (but on a smaller scale) you can try two test swatches in a solid color. Here is how:

Test One: +1 Included:

With any hook and worsted yarn:

Ch 10 +1

Row 1: sc in 2nd ch from hook (skipped ch does not count as a st), sc in each ch to end, ch1, turn. (10 sc)

Row 2-4: sc in 1st sc, sc in each sc to end, ch 1, turn. (10 sc)

Row 5: sc in 1st sc, sc in each sc to end, Finish off. (10 sc) +1 Anyone

Test Two: +1 Not Included:

With the same hook and yarn:

Ch 10

Row 1: Sc in sc in 2nd ch from hook (skipped ch does count as a st), sc in each ch to end, ch1, turn. (10 sc)

Row 2: sc in 1st sc, sc in each sc to end, sc in beginning turning chain, ch 1, turn. (10 sc)

Row 3-4: sc in 1st sc, sc in each sc to end, ch 1, turn. (10 sc)

Row 5: sc in 1st sc, sc in each sc to end, Finish off. (10 sc) +1 Anyone

Notice how both photos show exactly 10 sc over 5 rows but that the second–without that tricky +1 chain–has a weird corner. That will come back to haunt you later when it’s time for a border and depending on how tightly you crochet, it could pull your entire blanket out of line and make you wish you hadn’t started at all!

So, to recap, add a +1 to all of your graphghan patterns and do not treat the skipped chain as a stitch! Practice the technique over a smaller swatch just to make sure you’ve got it down and if you have used this technique I’d love to see your finished projects over on the HodgePodge Crochet facebook page!

+1 Anyone?
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