A crochet chain space, also known as ch-sp, is an essential part of many crochet patterns. Just like basic crochet stitches, these are basic crochet techniques. They are worked by making one or multiple crochet chain stitches to create an empty space. It essentially makes a hole in the crochet fabric. This is used for multiple uses in patterns from simple to complex, including a lace-like look or space for a button or buttonhole. The chain space can then be crocheted into the next row or round.
In crochet patterns, the chain space may be abbreviated as “sp” or “ch-sp” or with a specific number of chains to create the chain space. For example, you will come across instructions like ch-1-sp, ch-2-sp, ch-3-sp, etc. where you’ll need to chain 1, 2 or 3 stitches. Before starting with a pattern that comprises the crochet technique, it is best to understand the pattern instructions to determine how many stitches to skip after crocheting chains. Also, make sure the count of stitches you work on in the next row or round.
To get started with the crochet chain space, let’s walk you through the beginner’s guide.
How to Create Chain Spaces
The basic crochet technique works with chain stitches worked in a way to create aesthetic holes or spaces. The only requirement is the understanding of working the chain stitches. Different crocheters work the chain stitches differently but it is a basic loop of yarn made by inserting the crochet hook. All you need to do is work with any single-ended crochet hooks and yarn. You can also with interchangeable Tunisian crochet hooks without attaching the cord. Work with a uniform tension so that each chain is neat and of the same size and dimensions.
Work on your crochet project as mentioned in the pattern.
On the row or round where you need to work the chain space, make as many chain stitches (CH) as mentioned. For the next step, either skip the number of stitches mentioned to have the effect or work single crochet (SC) or double crochet (DC) stitches to complete the space. Different patterns will mention different steps so go through the pattern carefully before starting. In the next row or round, you can either work into the chain space or follow different instructions. Insert the crochet hook into the chain space to pull up a loop to crochet stitches into the gap.
Take for example if the pattern says, to create a ch-4-sp, and your pattern says to “work 1 single crochet (sc) in the next stitch, ch 4, skip 4 stitches, sc 1 in next st” you would:
Step 1: Work 1 sc in the next stitch.
Step 2: Chain 4.
Step 3: Skip the next 4 stitches.
Step 4: Work your next sc stitch into the next stitch.
You have now created a chain 4 space.
Another example is, work in a chain space:
Your pattern says “sc 4 in the next ch-4-sp”.
Step 1: Pull the yarn up to crochet the stitch by inserting the hook in the open space created by chains instead of into the stitch.
Step 2: Repeat on all 4 single crochet stitches.
That way, you have crocheted into the ch-sp.
Common Uses of Chain Spaces in Crochet
The basic element in crochet can be used for a variety of uses. The most common uses of ch-sp in crochet:
Creating Openwork or Lace: Working with a pattern of a certain number of chain stitches and skipping a certain number of stitches, you can create a lace-like effect. This adds texture and visual interest to your projects.
Filet Crochet: The beautiful subset of crochet works with your regular crochet hooks, yarn and techniques. Filet crochet creates intricate shapes and patterns with spaces. This works beautifully while crocheting a flat piece such as a shawl, dishcloth, scarf, etc.
Increasing and Decreasing: With working chain spaces in your pattern, you can work to increase or decrease the number of stitches in a row. A chain space instead of a regular stitch offers a neat way to add or subtract stitches. This crocheting technique works smoothly for patterns such as granny squares where you need to increase stitches. To know more about crochet increases and decreases, follow our previous blog.
Creating Shells: Shells are a beautiful crochet stitch pattern. The stitch can be created by working multiple chain stitches into a space. The fan-like shape can be used to add interesting textures to your projects. When worked at the edge of a shawl or even a sweater it adds to the beauty of the project.
Creating Picots: Similar to shells, the picots are a beautiful stitch pattern. The crochet technique is worked to add a decorative edge to crochet projects. To create picots you basically work by chaining a certain number of stitches and then slip the stitch back into the same stitch.
In conclusion, crochet chain spaces are an essential element of crochet that allow for the creation of intricate and delicate designs. By varying the number of chain stitches and the number of stitches skipped, it is possible to create a virtually endless variety of patterns.
With this, you can work crochet chain spaces for any project. If you are working on the crochet technique for the first time, here are a few helpful tricks.
- Be careful of the tension when working in chain spaces. If you get distracted, it’s easy to accidentally make the chain stitches too tight or loose affecting the overall look of your project.
- Start with practice working into chain spaces on a swatch. This way you can get the right tension and also have enough practice with the steps.
- When working into a chain space, if you feel that the stitches are not smooth. Or, if you are feeling an obstruction, try working with a larger hook size. This will help create more space to work into and make the process easier.