Beginner basics are essential in learning to how to crochet. Therefore, these basics are where my series Crochet for Beginners is going to begin. The series will run weekly throughout the month of July. I know you are likely eager to start your first project and I totally understand. These beginner basics are going to help you get that project start.

Let’s begin with the slip knot. To create a slip knot, simply create a loop with the tail end of your yarn (see Figure 1) and then insert your crochet hook through the center of the loop (Figure 2). Pull up and through. The loop on your hook should be nice and firm but loose enough so that you can work with the yarn (see Figure 3). You have created a slip knot, and mastered one of today’s beginner basics!

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3

Give yourself a pat on the back, it took me years to master this. I had my own little trick prior to learning this 😉

Now, moving onto the chain stitch (which will read as ch in patterns), the foundation of crochet. Every crochet project you create relies on this stitch. So this is key to crochet. Now that you have your slip knot on your hook, take your yarn and bring it the back of your hook (I usually refer to this as yarn over) and hook it through the loop on your hook. That is your first chain stitch. Do it again, bring the yarn over the crochet hook from back to front and hook it and draw through the loop on your hook. That’s your second chain stitch. Repeat, repeat, repeat for practice.

Figure 4

Your chain stitches should look like little V’s if you are doing this correctly (see Figure 4). The back of the chain should have a lovely little bump or ridge (see Figure 5; I’ve inserted my hook through a ridge to help you locate it). Remember not to pull too tightly or you won’t be able to insert your hook into these chain stitches later. But don’t chain too loosely either! As long as you have a nice chain of V’s similar to mine you’re doing fine. You’ve mastered two crochet beginner basics today!

Figure 5

A Note About Tension

Everyone’s tension is different. Some people crochet more tightly, some more loosely. This won’t really affect the look of your project too much as long as your stitches are being worked correctly. At the beginning, your tension may go from loose to tight and your swatch or project may look uneven. That’s perfectly fine–remember it’s a learning piece. Your tension will become more consistent as you become more comfortable with the hook, and techniques.

A Note About Crochet Hooks

Susan Bates crochet hooks

There is a lot of discussion out there about the best type of crochet hook. And a wide variety to choose from. When I was young, I started with some ancient plastic hook that someone had given to my grandmother who gave it to my aunt who gave it to me. Was it a good hook? I’ve no idea. It got me taught though, so I’m sure any hook will do for the basics.

However, I have found that many crocheters believe that some hooks are superior to others. I cannot say I’ve found much difference in my own use of different brands, as to the overall look of the project, although there are some hook brands I prefer over others. A good, reasonably priced set of hooks by Susan Bates is what I bought when I started seriously crocheting again, and they have served me well. I still use them all the time, though I’ve also grown quite fond of Clover hooks, which many experienced crocheters recommend. I’d avoid Boye personally, I have a few of their hooks and for some reason always find my yarn splitting or I end up making errors. I’ve no idea how, but their hooks have proved an exercise in frustration for me.

Clover crochet hooks

I hope the first post in Crochet for Beginners has been useful for you! Please let me know if you have any questions in the comment section, or email me. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the series as well, so be sure to comment.

Next week we will cover the single crochet stitch, so you might want to subscribe to be sure you don’t miss it.


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