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Let’s start with the real basics, Yarn and a Crochet Hook! The yarn that many of us crocheters started out with was Red Heart Supersaver yarn or some other brand very similar that is available at most big box stores as well as craft stores. Besides the beautiful array of colors you have to choose from, guide your attention to the size or the weight of the yarn. This is usually indicated on the sleeve around the yarn skein by a number. For example, it may show the number 4 which is usually called Worsted Weight or number 2 which is often called DK weight. The smaller the number, the thinner the yarn. I recommend you start with a medium weight such as the worsted or bulky #5 but no lower than a #4. The skill of crocheting takes a lot of hand and finger coordination and trying to handle a thin yarn can make it even more difficult. Now for the hook: the label on the yarn usually gives a suggestion for the hook size so as a beginner crocheter, it’s good to follow this guideline. Hooks are sized here in the U.S. by numbers and letters but sometimes a letter may be listed under two different numbers but again, since we are beginners, go by the size given on your yarn sleeve. Once again, the smaller the number, the thinner the hook.
The Slip Knot
So the first thing we will do is hold our yarn in one hand and the hook in our dominant hand. I am right handed so I will give instruction based on being right handed so if you are left handed, all is the same, just done in opposite hands. We first must place a SLIP KNOT on our hook. Make a loop about 6 inches from the tail of the yarn, then insert the yarn connected to your skein (your working yarn) to form a loop within a loop and slightly pull. Place this loop on your hook and tighten just enough to not slip off.
Pretty much all crochet projects begin with a foundational chain or chain stitch so let’s make some chains! So, now that you have the slip knot on your hook, wrap the yarn over your hook from back to front, then draw that working yarn through the slip knot. You’ve made your first chain!
Continue to yarn over (from back to front of hook) and pull it through the loop on the hook. Repeat this for as long as you desire your chain to be.
I suggest you practice this over and over, to get your chains to be nice and loose enough for your hook to go through for your following stitches. This means, you must RELAX and not tighten up. It’s natural to tighten up when you’re learning something new, I know!…. but make this a fun and relaxing venture – not a job! It won’t be perfect but practice to become relaxed with the process. Once you have this down and your chains are nice and pretty and big enough for your hook to go through later, you are ready to start making Single Crochet Stitches!
Single Crochet Stitch
Let’s learn how to crochet now! Crochet is REALLY just a variation of different loops! So the single crochet stitch is like a building up of the chain stitch.
So we will be crocheting a flat surface, going down the chain, then turning around and going back in the opposite direction, all the while building our fabric upward! Now, to make a single crochet stith, you will
- Chain 1 to make a Turning Chain to build up to the level of a single crochet stitch. now,
- Turn your work, skipping the 1st chain,* insert your hook in the next chain (through the two loops at the top of that chain),
- *Yarn over, pull up a loop, yarn over again, pull through the 2 loops that were already on the hook.** And, you’ve made a Single Crochet! Now, do this all the way down your chain by repeating from the * to **.
- To begin a new row, chain 1 , then turn your work, (insert hook in first sincle crochet (sc), yarn over, pull up a loop, yarn over pull through 2 loops) and repeat!
…….. Now practice the single crochet stitch all the way to the end of your chain and continue to practice, making beautiful rows (adding a chain 1 at end of row before turning to start new row) and remember RELAX, loosen up ! If your rows start to look wonky, it means you started to tighten up your body and your hands. Just take those rows out and start over! NO BIG DEAL. We all started this way but persistance makes nearly perfection (nobody’s perfect!)
You can actually make a beautiful fabric with just this one stitch alone! But, we can’t end everything right here so, next time we will learn the Slip Stitch and the Half Double Crochet stitch. In the mean time, keep practicing and have fun!
Half Double Crochet Stitch
The Half-Double Crochet (hdc) stitch is another commonly used stitch that falls in the category of basic crochet stitches. This stitch is used when you want your stitches to be a bit taller than the Single Crochet stitch but not as tall as the Double Crochet stitch. To make the Half Double Crochet, as with the single crochet stitch, you must have a loop on your hook with foundational chains or another stitch already made. Begin by wrapping the working yarn over the hook, then insert hook into the 3rd chain from the hook (if working with chains). *Yarnover, pull up a loop. You should now have 3 loops on your hook. Yarnover, pull through all 3 loops. You’ve made your first Half-Double Crochet stitch! Now, if you are working half double crochets into previously crochet stitches rather than chains, to begin a new row, you will need to chain 2 then proceed with the same instruction, beginning with the “*Yarnover”. Here’s a short tutorial on the half-double crochet (hdc) Try it!
Double Crochet Stitch
Now we will cover the Double Crochet Stitch (dc). This stitch is very similar to the Half-Double Crochet (hdc) stitch and is probably a stitch that is utilized even more than the single crochet (sc) stitch so it definitely would be considered a basic crochet stitch. This stitch is used when you want your stitches to be double the size of the Single Crochet. **hint – Because this stitch is taller than the single crochet, a basic pattern such as a baby’s blanket would usually take less time to make than that utilizing the single crochet stitch. To make the Double Crochet, as with the Single and Half-Double Crochet stitches, begin with a loop on your hook then make your chains or you can crochet in whatever stitch already made in the previous row. To begin, Yarnover (yo) by wrapping the working yarn over the hook, then insert hook into the 3rd chain from the hook (if working with chains). *Yarnover (yo), pull up a loop. You should now have 3 loops on your hook. Yarnover (yo), pull through 2 loops, (leaving 2 loops left on hook) yarn over(yo) again then pull through the 2 loops **. Hooray, You’ve made your first Double Crochet stitch! For your remaining stitches, (yo),insert into chain, and repeat instructions from the * to the **. Here’s a short tutorial on the double crochet (dc) stitch to show how simple it is to create!
Treble Crochet Stitch
The Treble crochet stitch (also known as the triple crochet ) is created just like the Double crochet only with 2 initial Yarnovers (yo(s)) instead of 1. Start new rows off with 4 chains (ch). This stitch is often used when a long stitch is desired in one’s design. It is the tallest of all the stitches shown above and the treble crochet is a great stitch to use when drape of fabric is desired, especially with yarn that would not normally provide ample enough drape with a stitch such as the double crochet. Learn how to create the treble crochet stitch below:
The Treble Crochet Stitch
The Slip Stitch
Last but certainly not least is the Slip Stitch (sl st). The slip stitch is unique in that it is used in two different ways. This stitch is so short that It’s often used as a Connector! It’s used to to connect the last stitch of a row to the first stitch created in that same row in order to climb up to the next row. This is used for patterns done in the round. The Slip Stitch (sl st) is also used to move along and connect to a stitch where a regular stitch is to be created. In addition to being used as a connector, the slip stitch is used as a regular stitch, for example, to create a stretchy brim for a hat. Learn how to create this wonderful stitch below.