A Quick-Start Guide for Crochet Beginners
Crochet is a craft in which a patterned fabric is created by looping yarn, thread, or other material with a hooked needle. Like knitting, crochet consists of pulling loops through other loops, but with the addition of wrapping the working material around the hook one or more times. Unlike knitting, and with a few exceptions, in crochet only one stitch is active at one time. Also, crochet uses a single crochet hook instead of two knitting needles.
There are literally hundreds of different forms of crochet with more in development. CrochetWithDee.com gives a great list of many types of crochet. Hundreds of crochet methods means tons of “advanced” crochet stitches, yet, there are only a few basic stitches. If you can learn these, then you can create loads of fun and unique crochet patterns!
Today I am outlining the general process of crochet that will serve as a quick-start guide for beginners who are just dying to get started!
NOTE: Clicking on the pink highlighted words directs you to more step-by-step tutorials.
Basic Crochet Steps
The foundation chain consists of chain stitches (ch). When first learning to chain stitch, you should use a hook that is at least one size larger than what your project calls for. This keeps the foundation chain looser so it is easier for you to make the next round of stitches.
This is an important tip because beginning crocheters often chain too tightly. Once you become more skilled in the art of crochet, this may no longer be necessary. I started out with a 9.0 mm (size N) hook, but now have no issues with using smaller hooks right from the beginning.
3. Insert your hook into the first chain of the foundation chain. There are at least 3 ways to do this.
- Insert the hook under the 2 top loops. These are the loops that make a < shape.
- Flip the foundation chain so that the 2 top loops (<‘s) are on the bottom and the back posts are on top. Insert the hook under the back post.
- Insert the hook under 1 of the top loops and the back post.
NOTE: For ease of demonstration, pictures are not shown with hook inserted into first chain.
4. Crochet the first row.
Use the stitch designated in your pattern, or, whatever stitch you wish if you are designing your own pattern.
Work each new stitch into the next chain stitch until you have stitched all the way back to the slip-knot.
In general, the basic crochet stitches are:
1. Chain Stitch (ch)–used to make the foundation chain and the turning chain (See Steps 1 & 5).
2. Single Crochet Stitch (sc)–creates a tight, dense fabric. You can repeat this stitch over and over or in combination with other stitches to create a pattern.
3. Half-double Crochet (hdc)–half of a double crochet, is simple and versatile and creates a snug stitch.
4. Double Crochet (dc)–twice the height of the single crochet and creates a solid, but not stiff fabric. It is often used for making afghans, sweaters, shawls, etc… You can combine this stitch with others to create unique patterns and textures.
5. Slip Stitch (slst)–the smallest of the basic stitches, used in decreasing, for decorative work, and for joining other stitches together.
6. Triple or treble crochet (tr)–taller than the double crochet, is used in a variety of ways and/or worked into different configurations including rows, circles, triangles, squares, and other shapes.
Generally, the chain stitch (foundation chain), single crochet, and double crochet are the three stitches crochet beginners learn first. Thus, these three stitches are the ones I have highlighted and linked to step-by-step tutorials as part of this quick-start guide.
5. Make the turning chain. The number of chains you make depends on the stitch you are using. How to Make a Turning Chain provides a handy guide that tells you how many extra chains to make per stitch type. See picture in step 7 below for an example of a turning chain.
6. Turn your work. Rotate your work so that the end with the hook goes from the left to the right. Before you turn your work, the end without the hook will be on the right side of the crochet hook. After you turn your work, the end without the hook will be on the left side of the crochet hook.
NOTE: This example is for a right-handed crocheter. I assume that vice versa is true for left-handed crocheters, but I am not left-handed so I cannot say this with 100% certainty.
7. Insert your hook into the first stitch. The first stitch is the stitch at the end of the turning chain. Starting from the hook, count the number of chains in your turning chain and the first stitch you come to that is NOT part of the turning chain, is the stitch in which you insert your hook. For instance, in my demonstration, I chained 3 for my turning chain, so, starting from the hook I count 3 chains.
8. Repeat steps 4-7 for each additional row until the project is complete.
More Crochet Tips & Tutorials
So crochet beginners, are you ready to get started? I know it’s a lot of information, especially if you’ve gone through each tutorial link, but I have confidence in you. I know that with some practice and patience, you will master each step!
To make it easier, I designed a free “mini” ebook that outlines the basic steps of crochet and provides links to all the tutorials. Simply click on the picture below to subscribe to the blog newsletter and receive the “mini” ebook in your inbox!
What step did you find the most challenging?
Until next time… Happy Crocheting!
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