In the previous post, I discussed selecting the appropriate yarn and hook to begin learning.
But what do you do with it? Let’s go over some crochet basics! First, I will explain how to hold the hook and yarn. Then we will start with the basic slip knot, go into how to chain and finish with how to work single crochets for a few rows.
There are two main ways to hold your hook. The first, and the one I use, is the “knife” hold. You hold the hook with your first finger and thumb similar to how you would hold a knife, with your palm over the top of the hook.
The second popular way, is called the “pencil” hold. You hold the hook between your first finger and thumb with the end resting on the webbing between those two fingers.
Experiment with both options to see which one feels the most comfortable for you.
There are many different ways to hold your working yarn with your left (or non-dominant) hand. I prefer looping it over my first finger and running the end through my palm to help control my tension.
It’s also quite popular to wrap the yarn through various fingers to help with your tension. Don’t worry too much about tension right now (it just means how loosely or tightly you hold the yarn and work); it’s something that you learn to control with practice.
Crochet Basics: Slip Knot
To start with, I always hold the yarn in my left hand with the tail end of it resting in my palm.
Run the yarn on the outside of your index finger, over the top of it, then finish moving it around by coming underneath your finger and crossing the yarn over what is already laying on your finger.
Now, slip the loop off your finger and take the working yarn and push it through the bottom of the loop with your index finger. “Working yarn” is the yarn running from your project to the skein. Grab it from the top with your other hand and pull it tight. You’ve just made a slip knot!
Now you can stick your hook into it and use the working yarn end to snug it up to the hook. Don’t pull it too tight! You need to be able to slip your hook through it to work your chains, which we will start now.
Crochet Basics: Chain
The first step in creating a chain (or ch) is called a yarn over (yo). It’s just what it sounds like, wrapping the yarn over the hook.
You can do this either with your other hand or by twisting the hook into the yarn. Once you have the yarn over your hook, make sure the hooked end has caught it and pull it through your slip knot. That’s chain one.
Now you just repeat the process of YO and pull through until you have as many chains as you need.
If you are not following a pattern but want to have a specific amount of stitches across, you will need to include a chain or chains to account for stitch heights. For a single crochet and a half-double crochet, you chain one. For a double crochet, chain two and for a treble crochet, chain three. Depending on your tension, you may have to chain three for a double and four for a treble.
Crochet Basics: Single Crochet
Now to practice our single crochets (or sc), let’s create a swatch that is 10 single crochets wide. To do so, you will chain (or ch) 11.
Note that the loop on the hook does NOT count as a chain. Skip the chain that is right next to the hook, and start working in the second chain from the hook.
To create a single crochet, insert your hook into the chain from front to back. Yarn over (yo) and pull up a loop (just pull the yarn through the chain but leave it on the hook). You should now have two loops on your hook.
YO again and pull through both loops and you have your first single crochet!
Continue this process (insert hook into chain, YO, pull up a loop, YO and pull through both loops on hook) until you reach the end of your foundation chain. At the end, you should have 10 single crochets. If not, count your chains to make sure you had 11 and that each one except for number 11 (counting from the slip knot) has a single crochet in it.
Turning Your Work
Crochet is always worked from right to left if you are right handed. Now that you have reached the end of the row, you have to chain to get the yarn up to the right height for the next row and turn your work. Since we are still practicing single crochets, chain one and turn.
It doesn’t really matter which way you turn your work over, but if you turn it counter-clockwise, you tend to have straighter edges.
Now you are set up to work right to left again. Working into single crochets is a little different than working into your foundation chain, though. If you look down from the top at your single crochets, you’ll see that it makes a little “v” shape.
Now look at the side and see the pieces that form that “v” and how there’s a little bit of space underneath. That’s where you want to put your hook.
Insert from front to back, yarn over, pull up a loop, yarn over and pull through both loops.
Continue this down the piece and make sure you have 10 single crochets at the end. And that’s it!
Prefer to learn things by watching someone actually do it? Here you go!
So now you can create any sort of object you want that is made from single crochet stitches. One of the most popular items with single crochet stitches is amigurumi. Amigurumi use single crochets worked in the round to create different shapes, most often used for stuffed animals.
For practice, you can try making a small washcloth or scarf using single crochets. Just make sure that you count your stitches! The next post is Crochet Basics Part 2 and will include the remaining major stitches; half-double crochet, double crochet, treble crochet and the slip stitch.