An elegant art, a sophisticated hobby, and a lifelong skill – crocheting offers so much more potential than you might think a hook and a pile of yarn can. From making beautiful gifts to creating items for your wardrobe and your home, the possibilities are endless once you take up crocheting. In today’s guide, you’re going to learn how to crochet through simple and easy-to-follow steps. So, if you want to give crocheting a go, and even if you’ve never held a hook before or can’t tell a slip knot from a chain stitch, this article is for you.
How to Crochet
1. Know Your Tools for Crocheting
First things first, you need to get familiar with your crocheting tools. Luckily, you don’t need a lot of supplies to get started with crochet; just a crochet hook, a ball of yarn, and some scissors. When it comes to the crochet hook, a beginner is usually better off using one made out of aluminum because it’ll make the yarn glide easily over the hook. As for the yarn, there are different types to choose from according to the kind of project you have in mind. For beginners though, it’s best to pick a simple type of yarn, either cotton or soft acrylic. 100% cotton yarn is soft, highly absorbent, and easy to wash, so it’s great for making items such as dish towels or scarfs. Soft acrylic yarn, on the other hand, is more affordable than other yarns, so it’s suitable for beginners trying to learn new patterns. Once you pick out your yarn, you can determine your hook size. This should be specified on the yarn’s label, but as a general rule, the thicker the yarn the thicker the hook should be.
- Bonus tip – choose a solid, light color for your yarn. This will make it easier for you to know where to insert the hook as you crochet.
2. Hold the Hook
Now that you’ve got all your tools ready, the next step is to learn how to hold the crochet hook in a way that feels as comfortable as possible for you. This does mean there’s no one correct way to hold a crochet hook, but there are two basic styles that you can try. You can also reverse them depending on which is your dominant hand.
- The Over-the-Hook position: hold the hook and let the handle rest against your palm like a pencil. Your hand should go over the hook with your thumb and index finger grabbing the thumb rest (the flat part of the hook).
- The Under-the-Hook position: here, you’ll hold the hook as you’d hold a spatula. Your hand will go under the hook with your thumb and index finger resting on the thumb rest.
Take your time in figuring out what position works best for you and feel most comfortable. Remember, you could get hand cramping if you hold the hook improperly.
3. Learn Basic Crochet Patterns
Once you’ve got your hook-holding technique down, you can finally start crocheting. You want to start by learning a few basic crochet patterns, and we’re going to break them down for you below.
- Bonus tip – before you begin a pattern, make a test swatch. Your tension may vary as you’re learning, so practicing a certain stitch without trying to make will help you decide on how loose or tight you’d like your stitch to be.
Make a Slip Stitch (sl st.)
Tying a slip knot is the very first pattern you need to learn for crocheting. It’s how you’ll cast the yarn onto the hook to start your project. You can use the slip stitch to join work, reinforce edges, bind off stitches, or carry yarn to a different working position without adding extra height. To make a slip knot, you’ll swiftly twist and loop the yarn onto the hook, wrap the yarn under the hook, and pull the yarn through the loop to tighten the stitch.
Make a Chain Stitch (ch or chs)
Most beginner crocheters follow up the slip knot with the chain stitch, especially because every project starts with one of these. Make a slip knot around the hook and wrap the yarn around the hook. Hold the end of the slip with your thumb and the middle finger of your left hand (if you’re right-handed). Then use your left index finger to move the yarn from the back to the front around the handle of the hook. Pull the yarn through the loop on the hook to create one chain link. Repeat to make a chain stitch.
Make a Single Crochet (sc)
After learning the chain stitch, you can take on the essential single crochet stitch. This stitch is somewhat tight, resulting in a closely stitched material. To make a single crochet stitch, draw a new loop through the chain stitch, not through the loop already on the hook. This should leave you with two loops on the hook. Then, pull a new loop through both loops, leaving you with a single loop once again. Repeat for as long as needed.
4. Build Up Your Crochet Skills
After learning basic crochet patterns, you can build up your skills and try more challenging stitches.
Double crochet stitches are a bit looser than other patterns, so they work great for sweaters and scarves. Start by making a chain with 15 chain links in it. Guide the yarn over the hook from front to back, then slide the hook between the first two front loops and under the fourth chain link from the hook. Yarn over the hook again and pull it through the chain stitch so you get three loops on your hook. Pull the hook through the first two loops on the hook, yarn over the hook again, then pull the hook through the last two loops on it.
These will help you change direction with your stitch.
Crochet in the Round
This allows you to make circular items like hats and coasters.
Learning how to crochet will only get easier the more you practice making different types of stitches. You can start by practicing for about 10 to 15 minutes a day, and then work your way up.