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Crochet Turning Chain: Which Way Should I Turn Crochet?

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Have you ever wondered which way you should turn your work in crochet? How to turn your work is a personal preference, but there are some things to think about, or more specifically something that you can do, that either makes things easier or look nicer with minimal effort.

which way to turn crochet

Which Way Should I Turn My Crochet?

To turn to the left or to the right, that is the question. Or something like that. 😜

which way to turn crochet

For this article I made two identical swatches. Both are 12 Half Double Crochet stitches wide and 10 rows tall. They are exactly the same size but there is something different about one. Can you tell the difference?

To me, one looks a bit tidier or cleaner while the other is a bit more loosey-goosey. You may think that it does not matter which way you turn your work in crochet. While this is true technically speaking, it does make a slight difference that is worth exploring more. There are two ways to turn… to the right or to the left.

Turning one direction means that the working yarn is laying in FRONT of your work.

Turning the other direction means that the working yarn is laying BEHIND your work.

Either way you turn, you’re going to have a diagonal loop that is created when making the chain(s) to start the new row. Either this diagonal loop tilts up and in toward the piece (pictured on the left below) or the diagonal loop tilts down and away from the piece (pictured on the right below). Let’s take a closer look – and be sure to scroll down for the VIDEO that explains things further.

Look closely at the picture above. The swatch on the left was made always turning so that the yarn is in FRONT of the piece when starting a new row. The swatch on the right shows the swatch made always turning so that the yarn is BEHIND the piece when starting a new row.

The swatch made turning so that the working yarn is in FRONT of the work is tighter and, in my opinion, cleaner looking. The swatch made turning so that the working yarn is BEHIND your work is a little bit looser at the edges. 

Does it really matter which way you turn crochet?

Technically speaking, no. The most important thing is to stay consistent in the direction that you’re turning so that adding any finishing touches (a border, for example) goes on more evenly. 

Consistency is key! If you are always turning your crochet in the same direction, all of the small diagonal loops will also be going the same direction. This makes finding those loops much easier when sewing two pieces of crochet together (as in the Mattress Stitch) or when adding that first row of a border.

which way to turn crochet

I don’t know that I’ve ever met a crocheter that actually enjoys crocheting into the row ends of a project. For me, the first row of a border is a means to and end that must be endured. Make that first border row easier on yourself by staying consistent in the direction in which you turn your work when starting a new row. Check out the video below for specific actionable tips to make your next project neat and tidy!

Which way to turn crochet video:

If you would rather watch this video on YouTube, you can find it on my channel here. Don’t forget to subscribe while you’re there! 😉


which way to turn crochet

More crochet tips & tutorials:

8 Tips for Creating More Professional Crochet Cardigans

10 Tips for Crocheting with Black Yarn

7 Tips for Counting Rows in Crochet

How to Crochet Hdc Slip Stitch Ribbing

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  1. I have been crocheting (on and off) for years, and this is the FIRST time I have seen this explanation! Thank you so much! It makes so much sense, and I will definitely be changing how I turn :D I look forward to many more years of cleaner sides to my projects!
  2. Thanks Ashlea for posting this on "turning" the work. I've been crocheting for a vast number of years (half a century, TBH, LOL!) and I never considered what the end results would be as I've been guilty of turning "helter-skelter", sometimes to the right, and sometimes to the left, which I now realize has been the "hokey-pokey" of crocheting! I've looked at some of my past projects and now the ones I'm currently doing and have made a mental note to be more conscientious of the turn.....I agree that turning with the thread in front is a much neater why of doing it!
  3. As God is my witness, I see no discernible difference. I had to actually mock crochet to determine which of these I do. I've been crocheting for nearly 50 years, winning accolades and awards, and this is the first time I've ever heard of this being raised as an issue.
    1. Never said it was an issue...just pointing out the difference of turning one way over another. And the key take-away is whichever way you turn, to be consistent.