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How many foundation chains?

A little while ago I was teaching a lesson about tunisian mosaic at the NSW Knitters Guild Gathering. One of my students asked me to explain something I hadn’t thought about since I was starting out in tunisian crochet.


Why is it, if you make 8 chains, and you skip the first chain, do you end up with 8 loops on your hook at the end of the forward pass? It doesn't make sense!

Thinking back on it now, the reason is rather simple, I just couldn't quite put my finger on the words to answer her. So here goes.


Whenever you start your chain, you always make a slip knot on your hook. This is the first loop on your hook. Then you make the number of chains indicated in the pattern. 

slip knot on a Tunisian Crochet hook chain 8

In the photos here, you can see I’ve made a slip knot on the hook, then 8 chain stitches. 

To make the foundation row, you always skip the first chain from the hook and start by picking up loops starting with the second chain from the hook. In the photo below the purple needle is indicating the first chain from the hook.

skip the first chain from the hook 8 loops on a Tunisian Crochet foundation row


Ok, so, how can there be 8 loops on your hook when you made 8 chains but then skipped picking up one of them? It’s that sneaky little slip knot at the start – THAT’S the first loop on your hook. It’s correct, you have only picked up loops in 7 chains out of the 8 you made. 

the skipped first chain


Please note, that I’m talking about freestanding foundation chains – not like in entrelac or linked crochet, that’s slightly different.