A pattern will either call for you to use either of these methods to start your rounds:
(They are usually interchangeable but they DO make a different start.)
1. The chain 2 starting method- Chain 2 and make X amount of stitches into the second chain from the hook, making the first chain the beginning round.
2. The giant hole technique- Make X amount of chains, link them by joining to the first chain and then making X amount of stitches into the linked chain circle you created, making the stitches inside the linked chains your beginning round.
3. The Magic Circle- Start using a magic circle and making X amount of stitches into the magic circle to start your first round.
The reason that even when a pattern calls for either of these techniques, that I opt to use the magic circle is, it really is MAGIC!! When you do the chain 2 technique, or the giant hole technique they all leave one thing at the top of the hat or the center of the round… a GIANT HOLE! When using the magic circle technique, you create a circle to make your stitches around, then you pull it tight so that the hole closes completely.
So, if the pattern says either of these:
-Ch 2, sc X in the second ch from the hook
-Ch X, join to make a loop, sc X times in loop
Those are equal and can USUALLY be substituted for this:
-X sc in a mc, join to top of first sc
(You will also see hdc or dc or tc instead of just sc, but for the sake of learning I used sc.)
To Join or Not to Join:
Invisible seams and joins: