This technique allows you to work the foundation chain and the first row of crochet at the same time!
If you dislike working into a foundation chain, or if you want the foundation edge to be stretchier, this tutorial is for you.
The foundation crochet stitches can make the equivalent of a foundation chain and the first row of crochet at the same time. This can be especially helpful when you need the foundation edge to be stretchy, or when you want to work into the opposite side of the foundation edge. Foundation stitches create a foundation edge that looks like the top of a regular row of stitches, so it is easy to work into the other side of the foundation edge later. A foundation stitch edge also has the same amount of stretch as the rest of the fabric. It does not limit the stretch of the edge like a normal foundation chain.
Whether the row of foundation stitches replace just the foundation chain or both the foundation chain and the first row of crochet is up to you, depending on the application. (If you just want to replace the foundation chain, I recommend using the foundation single crochet for that.)
To use a row of foundation stitches to replace a foundation chain:
When you’re working a flat piece, some patterns will call for a few extra chains in the foundation chain to act as a turning chain. If this is the case, you’ll need to work the same number of foundation stitches as the number of stitches the first row should end with. (It’s OK if you use increases and decreases to create a stitch pattern, as long as they are balanced. This is assuming there are no shaping increases or decreases in the first row of the pattern. If the first row has shaping increases or decreases, you’ll need to work the number of stitches the first row should end with, then add however many stitches were decreased or subtract however many stitches were increased.)
To use a row of foundation stitches to replace the foundation chain and the first row of crochet:
Make sure the first row of your pattern does not involve any increases or decreases. However, if your pattern uses increases or decreases on the first row, or tells you to begin working a stitch pattern directly into the foundation chain, I recommend replacing your foundation chain with a row of foundation single crochet, and then beginning the first row of your pattern. (In other words, use the foundation single crochet row to replace the foundation chain, but not to replace the first row of crochet.) The foundation single crochet is still rather narrrow, so won’t likely affect the look of the project.