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How to Crochet

As with any form of needlecraft, crochet requires a few basic stitches to get you on your way. We've gathered together some widely used crochet stitches often found in patterns, taking you step-by-step through how to perform each one. Not only this, but we'll also look at how to start your stitch, hold your yarn, yarn over, make a turning chain, and fasten off at the end of a session, meaning you too can learn how to crochet!

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.

How to Hold the 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.

How to Hold the Yarn Example one

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.

How to Hold the Yarn Example two

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.

How to Hold the Yarn Example three

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!

How to Make a Slip Knot

A slip knot is used to secure your yarn to your hook, giving you greater control whilst stitching.

How to Make a Slip Knot Example one

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.

How to Make a Slip Knot Example two

2. Hold the loop with your left hand, then move your crochet hook through the centre of it, as seen here.

How to Make a Slip Knot Example three

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

How to Make a Slip Knot Example one

'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!

  1. Assuming you already have a slip knot around your crochet hook, bring the long length of yarn up behind the hook. Then, bring it over the top of the hook, moving it right into the throat to hook the yarn from below.

Chain Stitch

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.

How to Make a Slip Knot Example one

1. After you've created a slip knot, hold your yarn and hook as described above, holding the tail of the slip knot between your middle finger and thumb.

How to Make a Slip Knot Example two

2. Yarn over, and then rotate the hook so that it faces downwards towards the slip knot.

How to Make a Slip Knot Example three

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!

How to Make a Slip Knot Example one

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.

How to Make an Adjustable Loop (or, 'Magic Ring')

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.

How to Make a Slip Knot Example one

1. Wrap the yarn twice around your finger, then slide your crochet hook underneath the loops, hooking the second loop.

How to Make a Slip Knot Example two

2. Pull the yarn back through the path it entered to create a loop.

How to Make a Slip Knot Example three

3. Create a chain stitch to secure the loop, then remove your finger.

How to Make a Slip Knot Example one

4. Now it's time to create your foundation chain, according to how many chain stitches your pattern requires.

How to Make a Slip Knot Example two

5. Continue working around the loop, following your pattern's instructions, until you've finished your first round.

How to Make a Slip Knot Example three

6. Give the yarn's tail a gentle tug to tighten the centre ring, so that it elegantly closes together.

Single Crochet Stitch

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!

Single Crochet Stitch Example one

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.

Single Crochet Stitch Example two

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.

Single Crochet Stitch Example three

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.

Single Crochet Stitch Example four

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!

Single Crochet Stitch Example five

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.

How to Make a Turning Chain

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
Single Crochet Stitch Example one

1. Create a chain stitch(es) in the chain stitch at the end of your first row of stitches, making the turning chain.

Single Crochet Stitch Example two

2. Flip over your crochet so that your hook is on the right side, instead of the left.

Single Crochet Stitch Example three

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.

Single Crochet Stitch Example four

4. Continue stitching using whichever stitch your pattern states. Then, when you've completed another row, simply repeat these steps.

Slip Stitch

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.

Single Crochet Stitch Example one

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.

Single Crochet Stitch Example two

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.

Single Crochet Stitch Example three

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.

Half Double Crochet Stitch

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.

Single Crochet Stitch Example one

1. Make a foundation chain of 17 chain stitches (the last 2 stitches are designated for your turning chain).

Single Crochet Stitch Example two

2. Yarn over, then insert your crochet hook into the third chain stitch from the hook.

Single Crochet Stitch Example three

3. Yarn over, then gently pull the yarn-wrapped hook back through the chain stitch. You should now have three loops around your hook.

Single Crochet Stitch Example one

4. Yarn over, then pull the yarn through all three loops on your crochet hook, completing your first half double crochet stitch.

Single Crochet Stitch Example two

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.

Double Crochet Stitch

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!

Double Crochet Stitch Example one

1. Make a foundation chain of 18 chain stitches (the last 3 stitches are designated for your turning chain).

Double Crochet Stitch Example two

2. Yarn over, then insert your crochet hook into the fourth chain stitch from the hook.

Double Crochet Stitch Example three

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.

Double Crochet Stitch Example four

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.

Double Crochet Stitch Example five

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.

Double Crochet Stitch Example five

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.

Treble Crochet Stitch

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.

Double Crochet Stitch Example one

1. Make a foundation chain of 19 chain stitches (the last 4 stitches are designated for your turning chain).

Double Crochet Stitch Example two

2. Yarn over twice, then insert your crochet hook into the fifth chain stitch from the hook.

Double Crochet Stitch Example three

3. Yarn over, then gently pull your wrapped crochet hook back through the chain stitch. You'll now have four loops around your hook.

Double Crochet Stitch Example four

4. Yarn over, then pull the yarn back through the first two loops on your hook.

Double Crochet Stitch Example five

5. Yarn over, then pull the yarn back through the next two loops on your hook.

Double Crochet Stitch Example five

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.

Double Crochet Stitch Example four

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.

Double Crochet Stitch Example five

8. Then, continue to make a treble crochet stitch in every consecutive chain stitch across the foundation chain until your row is complete.

How to Fasten Off Your Yarn

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.

Double Crochet Stitch Example one

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.

Double Crochet Stitch Example two

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!

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