Foundation Crochet Basics

Using Foundation Stitches for In-the-Round Motifs

From the issue

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When working any in-the-round motif pattern, there are a few different ways to start off your motif, and there is no right or wrong way. Some people prefer to crochet a series of chain stitches and join them with a slip stitch to form a ring, and others prefer to use the magic ring method. Both are effective, depending on your own personal preference, but there’s still another way to start off a motif pattern and that’s by using a row of foundation stitches. These foundation stitches are worked from both the top and bottom to create a rectangular shape. This shape is then expanded in the round to create a flat motif. It might sound a little counter-intuitive, but keep reading to see just how it’s done and then apply what you’ve learned to the Mid-Century Motif Cowl on the next page.

I have used a thick roving yarn for the visual portion of the tutorial, just because it’s easier to see the stitches made with bulkier yarn. At the end, I also show the beginning of a motif using the actual yarn from the sample cowl, Patons Lace Sequins.

To start the process,

  1. Attaching the yarn to the hook with a slip stitch, chain three stitches.
    • 1hdc article 1
  2. Yarn over the hook, and place the hook into the first chain.
  3. Yarn over the hook and draw a loop through the stitch.
    • 1hdc article 2
  4. Yarn over the hook and draw through one loop on the hook. You have just completed the first chain-1, which is the “foundation” part of any foundation stitch.
    • 1hdc article 3
  5. Yarn over the hook and draw through the remaining loops on the hook, which is just like completing a normal half double crochet. Note that you have a ch-1 on its side at the base of a half double crochet.
    • 1hdc article 4
  6. Yarn over the hook, and for purposes of this tutorial (and the Mid-Century Motif Cowl), place the hook in the front loop of the previously-made foundation ch-1.
  7. Yarn over the hook and draw up a loop.
    • 1hdc article 5
  8. Repeat steps 4 and 5 above.
    • 1hdc article 6
  9. Repeat steps 2 through 5 as many times as necessary. For our purposes, we made a first foundation half double crochet and three additional foundation half double crochet stitches. I want to point out that, unlike many tutorials you might see online, I consider the initial three chain stitches made a foundation ch-1 and half double crochet.
    • 1hdc article 7


Once you have completed the correct number of foundation stitches for the particular motif you’re making, you will then do the following:

  1. Chain 1, work 2 half double crochet stitches, chain 1, and one more half double crochet into the final foundation ch-1 space made. This represents the first two corners.
  2. Now flip your work so the foundation ch-1 spaces become your working surface.
    • 1hdc article 8
  3. Work one half double crochet stitch Into the next three foundation ch-1 spaces and the initial chain space.
  4. You will see that you have a rectangular-shaped crochet fabric with two corners.
  5. Into the same st as the last half double crochet made, chain 1, work 2 half double crochet stitches, chain 1, and then slip stitch into the top chain of the initial chain three.
    • 1hdc article 9
  6. You now have completed the first round with four corners around foundation half double crochet stitches worked along both sides of the foundation ch-1 stitches.

I have also worked the first round of a small motif in the Patons Lace Sequins. I show it with split ring stitch markers in each of the four corners for ease of reference.

  • 1hdc article 10


Here is what this looks like in chart form:


hdc article - Diagram hdc article - Legend



I hope you will agree this is a fun way to begin a motif and results in a piece with a well-defined shape that is easy to build upon. Now you should be ready to give the Mid-Century Motif Cowl in the next section a try.