Monday, February 22, 2021

Forward Loop Box Chain: A Stretchy, Elastic Foundation Row for Crochet Projects

Hello fellow crocheters! Here's a technique I developed a couple of years ago, but never got around to posting (too distracted by the book, if truth be told).

This technique has now been used in several projects, with excellent results. So, without further ado, I happily present the:

Forward Loop Box Chain is a variation of the Forward Loop chain, but with much greater elasticity.

As its name implies, Forward Loop Box Chain has a boxy shape. It looks like a chain on three sides, and like a row of bumps on the forth. When worked with normal tension, it makes a subtly handsome foundation row. If worked with a loose enough tension, on a project of some weight, a row of decorative eyelets may appear between the chain and the first row of stitches.

Where to Use the Forward Loop Box Chain

Try the Forward Loop Box Chain as a foundation row on:

  • Mitts
  • Hats
  • Top-down tops or ponchos
  • Top-down socks
  • Any project that needs a stretchy foundation edge with good recovery
I've used the Forward Loop Box Chain on bottom-up mitts and top-down socks, and it's held its shape well through many wearings.

Forward Loop Box Chain foundation rows

Forward Loop Box Chain Video Tutorial

(This video is for right-handed crocheters. For a left-handed version, click here.)

Forward Loop Box Chain Photo Tutorial

1. Start with a slipknot on your hook.
2-4. Make a forward loop* on the hook above the slipknot. 
5-6. Make another forward loop (3 loops now on hook). Yarn over, and pull through all the loops on your hook. (If it's hard to get the hook through the loops, gently grasp the base of the loops and pull downwards/away from the hook, as in Photo 9 below.)

(*How to make a forward loop: Keep working loop on hook and working yarn draped over forefinger, from front to back. Lift forefinger slightly to form 2 vertical strands of yarn, one in front and one behind finger. Place hook behind the back strand and use hook to pull strand towards your hook hand. Slide hook up through the loop that forms. Yarn should look like a letter "D" (for right-handers) or "O", with the tip of the hook pointing up through the hole. Remove forefinger from yarn while keeping hook in the "hole". Gently pull on working yarn to tighten loop until it is snug against the working loop.)

To continue:
7-8. Insert hook into the farthest of the loops you just pulled through.
9. Make a forward loop on the hook (3 loops now on hook).
10. Yarn over and pull through all the loops on the hook.

Repeat Steps 7-10 to desired length.

For a firmer chain: After inserting hook into the farthest loop, tighten the working yarn before yarning over and pulling through the loops on the hook.

Working Into a Forward Loop Box Chain

Note: For maximum elasticity, work only into the bumpy edge.

Before you work the next row, turn your Forward Loop Box Chain so that the bumpy edge is facing you. Stretch the chain, then let it spring back to shape. You should see a row of longer bumps alternating with tiny bumps. When working into a Forward Loop Box Chain, use the longer bumps, and skip the tiny bumps.

To work the next row: Chain 1 (or an appropriate number for the stitch you plan to use). Insert hook into first longer bump, make desired stitch. *Skip the tiny bump, insert hook into next long bump, make desired stitch. Repeat from *.

That's it!

Tip: Be careful not to let the box chain twist as you work into it. Check often to make sure you are working into the long bumps, and not into one of the chain loops.


If you have any questions about this technique, ask away in the comment section below, or contact me in Ravelry (where I'm MrsMicawber).

I hope you'll try the Forward Loop Box Chain for yourself. If you do, let me know how it works.

Happy crocheting!

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  1. Nice! :-) I'll try it the next time I take out the hook.

    Have a good week.


  2. Brilliant! I'll try this! My nephew in Australia has asked me to do some hats for him...slouchy beanies I expect. I'll try this on the foundation chain. Thanks for sharing! keep well Amanda x

  3. Thank you Sue, this looks ideal for baby hats where a lot of stretch is required you are a genius. x

    1. Thank you, Linda! Let me know how it works for you. :)

  4. Thank you for the tutorial and especially for the video. I can't wait to try it. I was wondering....your Pokeberry hat pattern from your book starts with an icord, then joined in the round. I tried it without success and scrapped it for another time. It was too tight to go around my head, and my join of the two ends was not smooth. Would you consider sometime doing a video showing how you connect the two ends of the icord that is called for in that hat? And - do you think this Forward Loop Box Chain could be used in place of the icord for that hat pattern? Thanks again! Jean

    1. Hope you see this answer! (I'm replying here because your Blogger profile is set up as "no-reply", with no email address available.)

      Yes, you could use this to replace the I-cord for the Pokeberry Hat. You could use any foundation you like for that project.

      Regarding a video for seaming I-cord, check out the I-cord edging video here:

      If you skip to around 6:45 you can see me seam an I-cord edging. Except for the final stitch, it's the same process as seaming I-cord.

      See also this blog post, which has some photos of seaming I-cord:

      Good luck, and feel free to email me if you have any questions. (You can find my email address in my blog profile.)

    2. Thank you Sue - I did just see your reply and I will check out your links. Thank you for the info!

  5. What a great idea for a foundation row! So many times it is tight and ruins a project. Thank you for sharing it, you're very generous. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  6. I think I have accidentally made that Box Chain!!! I just saw a post you wrote may 10th of last year for some reason..
    and it had snowed here In lake geneva that day. WE have had enough snow for the rest of the season!!!! Sad that the wolves were hunted for 48 hours per permits

    1. Oh gosh, snow in May - nooooooo! I'm ready for spring. :D

      I heard about the wolf hunt on the news. It made me sad that they got so many in such a short time. Seems like a very unequal battle.

  7. Brilliant! Thank you for sharing - ideas are overflowing!

  8. I'm looking forward to trying this. I now use the forward loop chain that I first read about here for almost all of my crochet projects that start with a chain.

    1. Great! I hope it works well for you. I find I need a little warm-up time with this technique; sometimes it takes working a couple of inches to hit an even tension. Thanks for commenting!


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