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This guide aims to help you get to grips with the basics of crochet; looking at which supplies you need to get started, hook size conversions, standard yarn weights, specialist abbreviations and symbols that you can expect to find, how to read crochet pattern instructions, and how to complete a variety of basic crochet stitches!
One of the first steps in crocheting is learning how to begin your stitch. Most crochet patterns will ask you to begin with a foundation chain (a series of chain stitches) to form the base of your design. But before you get straight into stitching this, you'll need to secure your yarn.
Prior to securing your yarn on your crochet hook, let's take a look at how to correctly hold it. For right-handers, your left hand is your yarn hand and your right hand will hold your hook.
1. From underneath your hand, bring the yarn up between your ring finger and little finger, wrapping it once around the bottom of your little finger.
2. Move the yarn diagonally across the inside of your hand, then bring it around the outside of the top of your index finger, bringing it around to the inside of the finger.
3. Once you've created a slip knot to keep the yarn in place, use your middle finger and thumb to clasp the yarn, holding the crochet hook in your other hand. Holding your yarn and hook this way provides plenty of room for manoeuvre, and you can actually control the yarn's tension by raising or lowering your index finger!
A slip knot is used to secure your yarn to your hook, giving you greater control whilst stitching.
1. Lay your yarn down on a table. Around 6" from the end of the yarn, make a loop that looks similar to a pretzel.
2. Hold the loop with your left hand, then move your crochet hook through the centre of it, as seen here.
3. Tighten the loop around the hook by gently pulling on both ends of the yarn, leaving a little give. Your slip knot should easily be able to slide up and down the shaft of your hook, but is tight enough to not come off over the end.
'Yarn over' (yo) is a common instruction found in crochet patterns and a crucial element of every stitch, requiring you to move the yarn over your hook. What's more, the process is incredibly simple!
The chain stitch (ch) is a fundamental stitch in crochet, featured in just about every crochet pattern. This stitch is primarily used at the beginning of a project, allowing you to create a foundation chain of chain stitches to then build upon. This joining stitch not only begins your project, but it's even used structurally to connect an old row to a new one.
2. Yarn over, and then rotate the hook so that it faces downwards towards the slip knot.
3. Gently pull the hook, holding the wrapped yarn, through the loop on the slip knot (the one that your hook is currently through), rotating the hook back upwards as you come out the other side to form a chain stitch. Note: make sure you don't make the loop too tight!
4. Continue the chain by repeating the process, pulling the yarn through the second loop. Your chain stitches should have a consistent size, so an even tension is necessary. Once you've completed enough stitches (as outlined in your pattern), you'll have a foundation chain.
We've mainly touched upon how to begin stitching crochet patterns written in rows, so it seems only relevant to look at how you to start a design written in rounds. The adjustable loop is the easiest way to begin a circular crochet design, providing a neater finish than a standard slip knot and chain stitches will.
1. Wrap the yarn twice around your finger, then slide your crochet hook underneath the loops, hooking the second loop.
2. Pull the yarn back through the path it entered to create a loop.
3. Create a chain stitch to secure the loop, then remove your finger.
4. Now it's time to create your foundation chain, according to how many chain stitches your pattern requires.
5. Continue working around the loop, following your pattern's instructions, until you've finished your first round.
6. Give the yarn's tail a gentle tug to tighten the centre ring, so that it elegantly closes together.
Another common stitch found in crochet is the single crochet (sc) stitch. As it's quite tight and flat, it forms a denser finished piece than other stitches might - so it's especially popular in amigurumi!
1. Make a foundation chain. The number of chain stitches you create should correlate to how many single crochet stitches you want your row to have, plus one more chain stitch.
2. The first chain stitch you create is your turning chain, meaning you'll later use it to form a new row. So, that being said, skip this stitch and insert your hook into the second chain stitch from the hook, resulting in two loops of yarn around your crochet hook.
3. Yarn over, then rotate the hook's throat towards you and pull it through the first loop, taking the wrapped yarn with you. This will still result in two loops around your hook.
4. Yarn over again, then pull it through both loops this time. You should now only have one loop around your hook - and a complete single crochet stitch!
5. If you're looking to complete a whole row of single crochet, repeat steps 3 and 4 in the next chain stitch along until you reach the end of the row.
After you've created your first row of stitches, you'll need a turning chain to add height - thus allowing you to crochet back on yourself and complete another row. Turning chains consist of chain stitches. The number of chain stitches you make depends on what your next stitch will be.
|Name of Stitch||Number of Chain Stitches|
|Slip Stitch (sl st)||0|
|Single Crochet (sc)||1|
|Half Double Crochet (hdc)||2|
|Double Crochet (dc)||3|
|Treble Crochet (tr)||4|
|Double Treble Crochet (dtr)||5|
1. Create a chain stitch(es) in the chain stitch at the end of your first row of stitches, making the turning chain.
2. Flip over your crochet so that your hook is on the right side, instead of the left.
3. To begin your next row, insert your hook into the space next to the base of your turning chain, i.e. the first stitch of the row below.
4. Continue stitching using whichever stitch your pattern states. Then, when you've completed another row, simply repeat these steps.
The slip stitch (sl st) is the flattest crochet stitch, primarily used as a utility stitch to join stitches worked in rounds. The best way to practise this stitch is on the ends of a foundation chain, allowing you to create a ring. So, that being said, that's the example we'll use in this process.
1. Create a foundation chain of 6 chain stitches (or your desired length), then insert your hook into the first chain stitch you made, forming a ring.
2. Yarn over, then rotate the hook's throat towards you, perfectly positioning the crochet hook and yarn so that you can form the slip stitch.
3. In one swift motion, draw the wrapped yarn back through the chain stitch, then through the loop already on your hook. You have now completed your first stitch slip, and should have one loop left on your hook.
The half double crochet (hdc) stitch is rather a strange stitch, neither here nor there. Falling somewhere between a single crochet stitch and a double crochet stitch height-wise, this stitch creates relatively tight finished pieces similar to single crochet, but with a little more give like double crochet.
2. Yarn over, then insert your crochet hook into the third chain stitch from the hook.
3. Yarn over, then gently pull the yarn-wrapped hook back through the chain stitch. You should now have three loops around your hook.
4. Yarn over, then pull the yarn through all three loops on your crochet hook, completing your first half double crochet stitch.
5. If you want to create an entire row of half double crochet, simply make a half double crochet stitch in every consecutive chain stitch along the foundation chain, straight after the first one you made.
The double crochet (dc) stitch is another distinct stitch often used in crochet, measuring roughly twice the height of a single crochet stitch. Items created using double crochet are quite solid, but not horribly stiff - so it's perfect for jumpers, afghans, shawls, and home accessories!
2. Yarn over, then insert your crochet hook into the fourth chain stitch from the hook.
3. Yarn over, then gently pull it back through the chain stitch, taking the wrapped yarn with you. This will result in three loops on your hook.
4. Yarn over, then pull the yarn through the first two loops on your crochet hook, beginning your double crochet stitch. You should now have two loops around your hook.
5. Yarn over, then pull the wrapped yarn through the remaining two loops on your hook. You have now completed your first double crochet stitch, and should have one loop left on your hook.
6. If you're looking to complete a whole row of double crochet, make a double crochet stitch in every consecutive chain stitch in your foundation chain, after your first one.
The treble crochet (tr) stitch, or triple crochet stitch, creates very loose stitches that are a little taller than double crochet stitches, ideal for larger garments or home accessories.
2. Yarn over twice, then insert your crochet hook into the fifth chain stitch from the hook.
3. Yarn over, then gently pull your wrapped crochet hook back through the chain stitch. You'll now have four loops around your hook.
4. Yarn over, then pull the yarn back through the first two loops on your hook.
5. Yarn over, then pull the yarn back through the next two loops on your hook.
6. Yarn over, then pull the yarn back through the last two loops on your hook. You should now have a completed treble crochet stitch, and have one loop left on your crochet hook.
7. If you're looking to make a row of treble crochet, firstly yarn over twice, and then insert your crochet hook into the next chain along in your foundation chain.
8. Then, continue to make a treble crochet stitch in every consecutive chain stitch across the foundation chain until your row is complete.
As with most forms of needlecraft, when you reach the end of your crochet piece, you need to fasten off your yarn. This secures it in place and ensures that yours stitches don't unravel.
1. Cut your yarn, leaving roughly 6 inches left from the crochet hook, then pull the loose end through the final remaining loop on your hook. Remove your hook, and then gently pull the yarn's tail to tighten the end.
2. Using a yarn needle, weave the tail of the yarn through three or four crochet stitches in your piece to hide it, and there you have it - a perfectly neat finish!