"What's wrong with base chains?" you may be asking. Nothing, really. They are quite useful most of the time. In fact, they don't really make a difference most of the time. Sometimes, though, they're quite annoying.
For example, base chains aren't particularly stretchy. This is a good thing if you want a nice, solid base to work with, and less so if you're making, say, clothing.
Base chains are kind of annoying to work into; even the most advanced crocheters spend way more time working the first row into the base chain than they do working any other row in their project.
The reason this tutorial is coming up now is because base chains are at their most annoying when working with variegated yarn.
I give you this example:
This is from the pattern for a motif I made recently. I made the first one the regular way, with a bunch of chains, then a dc worked into each chain. The second one was made using the method I'm about to describe.
If you look closely, you can see, very clearly, the base chain on the first example. The colours don't match the stitches of the first row. I imagine there are some projects where this won't matter (I can't think of any off hand, though...), but in this one it's quite obvious. If I'd made all of my strips that way, my motif would have looked quite odd.
I made all of my strips like the second example, and they look quite nice. Notice how the colours all match up. Purple on top of purple, dark teal on top of dark teal.
Here's how I did it:
(or ch4, if you wish) :
yo, insert hook into first ch made, pull up a loop (just as you normally would to make a dc) 3 loops on hook:
yo and pull through one loop (ch made), 3 loops on hook:
Finish the dc stitch as normal; yo, pull through 2 loops, yo, pull through 2 loops. 1 loop left on hook:
Here's the "tricky" part. yo, and insert hook in the ch you made at the bottom of the last dc. I inserted my hook under both arms of the ch to make for a pretty bottom edge:
Pull a loop through:
yo and pull a loop through the first loop on hook (ch made) :
Finish dc as normal:
Keep doing this until you get the number of dc stitches you need (did I mention this method is excellent for when you don't feel like counting chains? It's the base chain and first row done all at once!). Basically just start your stitch as you normally would, but once all of the loops are on the hook, do a ch-1 in the first one, then work the stitch off as normal, and work the next stitch into that ch-1 you made.