I have seen so many complaints about "chain starts" that it honestly began to baffle me.
I've had one or two people write to me requesting that I re-write a pattern so that they can begin with a "magic circle" instead of a 'chain' and even had one who accused me of using camera tricks and that I was using glue or something to "not have gaps in my beginning (chain) round"
Now, I say baffle me because I've never had an issue with gaps or spaces when I begin with a chain and before I began designing larger amigurumi, I was a thread bear/animal fanatic. So, I just accepted that perhaps my tension was extremely tight.
NO, I do not use a smaller hook for the beginning chain round, that would be changing the pattern - if the pattern calls for a Size G Hook, that is what I use through and through.
No, I do not sew anything together - I do not use glue or any 'designer tricks' - I think the glue would be too hard once dried (as I use superglue at the finish off of a doily) - and I really don't know any designer "tricks" per se.
Chain starts are very common in many Asian amigurumi instructions, so perhaps when I was taught, I was not taught as most Americans are taught- perhaps my way of doing things isn't normal... which wouldn't really surprise me as I've been told my entire life that I "have my own way of doing things - right or wrong".
It wasn't until a fellow designer posted a 'tutorial' about crocheting an oval that I realized why so many people were having gap issues - they are splitting the chain!
A tutorial to help anyone who is having a problem with spaces, gaps or just wants to learn a different way of beginning a project with a "chain start".
Perhaps the pattern reads as such:
Inc in 2nd chain from hook, sc in ea of nxt 8 sts, 4 sc in end ch st - turn piece to allow you to work up the other side of original beg chain (as if a flat round), sc in ea of nxt 8 sts, Inc in last st. (24 sts)
You begin your chain -
Your chain - and from the side (this is important!)
Do you notice the little 'hump' behind each chain?
When I was taught to crochet in the chain, it was these little humpy bumps that the first row of stitches were worked into - whether the project was for an amigurumi, a blanket or an article of clothing - a chain in almost any other item would show, you want it to look as polished as the rest of the project, not 'loopy' or like someone has pulled at it.
Working the chain - completing the stitches instructed by the designer, but working in these 'humps' rather than splitting the chain.
*I decided to change colors to emphasize the different 'sections' of this tutorial.
Here you can see what I've done (in purple) with the first few stitches
Continuing to follow the instructions, single crochet stitch being placed in each hump directed, then 4 single crochet in the last stitch's hump/turning the piece as the final stitch is placed to allow the piece to be worked on the opposite side of the chain.
As you can see from the photo, the chain is very 'full' this way and not flimsy or being pulled by your stitches - it almost looks as if you are crocheting in ROWS instead of crocheting around a chain.
Now you can see the end result is much cleaner, more polished - no holes, no gaps, no smaller hooks, no sewing - no tricks!
I hope you have found this tutorial useful - and perhaps, you may learn to love chain starts as much as I do.