I want to sing the praises of the single crochet foundation row. Compared to a foundation chain it is easier to count your stitches, easier to work into on the next row, and I think it's faster than a chain foundation plus a first row of single crochet. If not faster, it's a lot more relaxing. I don't think I'll ever use a foundation chain again. I made the foundation row with the same size hook as the rest of my project. A size larger hook wasn't needed.
You can, of course, make a foundation row of half double crochet, double crochet, and so on. Once you have it mastered, I'm sure you could lay down a foundation of shells, V-stitches, etc. The most I can claim is that I worked some down-pointing picots on a single crochet foundation row.
It's not a new idea. Doris Chan gives illustrated instructions in her book Amazing Crochet Lace, a recent issue of Interweave Crochet had instructions, and I read about it long ago but never tried it. Foolish me. Here's my text only try at instructions:
First sc Chain two. Make a single crochet in the second chain from the hook (First single crochet in the foundation row completed.)
Second sc Yarn over and draw a loop through the base of the single crochet you just completed (into that first chain. You now have two loops on your hook.)
Yarn over and draw a loop through the first loop on your hook. (You still have two loops on your hook.)
Yarn over and draw a loop through both loops on your hook. (Second single crochet in your foundation row completed.)
Third sc Yarn over and draw a loop through the base of the second single crochet (You now have two loops on your hook.)
Yarn over and draw a loop through both loops on your hook. (Third single crochet in your foundation row completed.)
Fourth sc And so on...
Here is a visual tutorial of the foundation row
Sing it, sister! It took me forEVER to get the hang of it, but once it "clicked" it became a favorite!