Bring the needle up two threads away. Loop the thread under needle as shown.

If your directions state differently, then you will have to adjust. The most common is a loop made over two threads for a line of chain stitching, three or more on finer grounds.


Pull on the thread. When there is some slack left, use your thumb and index finger to grasp the thread close to the loop and pull in the direction of the arrow. With long threads, you may have to do this several times.

By grasping with your fingers you can control the look of the loop. It also saves wear and tear on the thread, especially at the eye of the needle.


Put the needle back down in the SAME hole that the thread came out.

Not doing this is the most common mistake made in basic chain stitch.

Again, come up two threads away.

Continue with steps two and three for the length you need.


Illustrated is five chain made over 2 ground threads each.

To end a line of chain, put the needle back down over the loop (arrow) and into the SAME hole where the thread came out. This is a couching stitch that holds the last loop in place.

Sometimes you may feel more comfortable, especially on closely woven grounds, just couching the last loop a thread or two away, rather than the same hole. But on counted work, and coarser grounds (up to 32-count or canvas) couch down into the same hole.


Run out of thread on a line of stitching? Make a loop slightly larger than normal. With thread at the back, unthread the needle and leave the excess. You can also leave the needle threaded and use a new needle for the new thread.

Affix a new thread (red in the illustration) on the back of previous stitches. Bring needle and thread up two holes (ground threads) up at the top of the loop and start a new chain. Adjust the loose thread on the back to form the last loop properly and anchor the thread.

Continue the chain stitch for the desired length.


Need to join a previous line of stitching?

Work chain stitch up to the first line of stitching.

Pass the thread through the first loop of the first row.

Put needle back down in the same hole that the thread came up – just as if you were making another chain. Adjust the loop as necessary for evenness. Anchor the thread on the back.