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Crochet Basics

So, youíve passed Beginner Crochet101,
and youíre ready for some Crochet Basics....


Not quite ready for Crochet Basics?

Click here to go back to Beginner Crochet 101

All you will need to get started with your first crochet project:

  • a pair of scissors
  • a blunt tapestry needle or yarn needle
  • a crochet hook
  • skein(s) of yarn or fiber of your choice
  • a tape measure - optional

Well letís get started with some basic crochet instructions.......

Chain Stitch or Foundation Chain:

The absolute beginning of all crochet basics is the chain stitch.

The chain stitch, or foundation chain, is the most basic of crochet stitches. It is the foundation of your project. Everything in crochet begins with the chain stitch.

The first thing you do is make a slip knot. Make a loop of yarn. Tail portion on the bottom, and working yarn (yarn leading back into skein) crossing it over the top. Reach into the loop and pull a loop of your working yarn up through. Tighten. You just made a slip knot.

Note: If you did not make a slip knot, you did not cross your yarn correctly. No big deal. Just try it again. Make sure that your working yarn is crossed over the top.

Insert your hook into the slip knot. Snug the yarn onto your hook by pulling on your working yarn. Hold your working yarn with whatever method you have chosen. Wrap the working yarn around your hook, or grab it with the hook (yarn over). Pull that yarn through your loop. You have just completed your first chain stitch! Continue yarning over and pulling through until you have as many chain stitches as the pattern requires, or until your chain is as long as you want.

Note: Make sure you do your foundation row very loosely! You need to do it almost ridiculously loose. If you do not, you may not be able to get your hook into the loops for your next row. There is very little stretch in a foundation chain. If it is too tight, your crochet will get wider and wider. It will not end up square.

If you are having a problem viewing these videos, you may need to update your flash player. You can update or download the flash player for free from www.adobe.com

Here is a quick video to show you how to do a chain stitch:

There is a definite front and back of a chain stitch. The top looks like a series of “v”s. While the bottom looks like a series of bumps.

chain stitch, foundation chain

Once you have completed your foundation chain stitch row, you are ready to move on to your first crochet stitch.

You now have your foundation chain to the length necessary. You will need to add one more chain stitch to it. This will act as the turning chain for single crochet. In order to get your rows to lay correctly, and to maintain your stitch count, you must have a turning chain at the end of each row. As your stitches get taller, so your turning chain gets longer. (You can learn more about this in the double crochet.)

Single Crochet:

One of the simpler stitches of the crochet basics is the single crochet. It is, by far, the easiest stitch to do.

You will be working into the back loops (bumps) of your chain. You will skip the first loop (bump) next to the hook and put your hook into the 2nd one. Yarn over and pull the yarn through that loop. You will now have 2 loops over your hook. Yarn over and pull through both loops. You just made your first single crochet!! (Told you it was simple!)

Continue on to the end of the row. Remembering to make a chain stitch after your final single crochet, before turning your work. (Note: Your crochet will look much neater if you consistently turn your work the same direction.)

This first row of crochet on your foundation chain is the trickiest of any part of crochet. It can be a little difficult to hold the chain and keep it from twisting. Once you get the first row of additional stitching on your chain, the rest is a breeze. Keep at it, youíll get it!!

Some patterns will tell you at this point, which is your right side. If it doesnít matter, then you can choose which it will be when your project is done. If it does matter, the pattern will let you know. Just make a note of which side of your work your beginning tail is on. That will help you keep track.

Note: Sometimes a pattern will call for going into thefront loops (the part of the top “v” closest to you) or back loops (the part of the top “v” furthest away from you) of your foundation row. It will give that edge of your crochet a different look. Going through the bottom loops will give your edge a very “clean” look. When you are finished, it will look similar to your ending row. (Full “v”s showing) You can also go into the front or back loops only on any single crochet row. It will give you a neat “line” effect.

If you are having a problem viewing these videos, you may need to update your flash player. You can update or download the flash player for free from www.adobe.com

Crochet Basics: How to Single Crochet:

For your next row of single crochet, you will notice that the first row has made open “holes”. When you put your hook into the hole, you should have the “v” on top of your hook. Be careful not to split your stitches or your yarn. It will make your finished piece look much nicer.

After a few more rows of single crochet, you will begin to notice a 2 row pattern emerging. This makes single crochet very easy to count.

Crochet Basics: How to Single Crochet Row 2 With Turning:

Slip Stitch:

The most simple stitch of the crochet basics is the slip stitch. A slip stitch is similar to a single crochet, only you pull through your stitch without yarning over again.

Insert your hook into the hole. Yarn over and pull through both loops. Your stitch should be closed if you are using this as a finishing stitch. You should only have one loop on your hook. (A slip stitch is shown in the edging video below.) That's it. Itís that simple!

The slip stitch is used in closing stitches. It connects stitches with an almost invisible connection. When you are working on something that you want the rows to match up, you would use a slip stitch to connect the last stitch to the first. Then chain your turning row. (As you would for crocheting circles. A constant stitch can be used, but it spirals out and leaves a ďbumpĒ at the end. If you use a slip stitch to connect each round, everything remain even. You canít see your ending point.)

Since a slip stitch is so short, it adds very little height to your project. It is used when you need to get from one area to another without adding to the piece. Such as in shaping of arms, creating neck lines or in free form crochet.


These are MAJOR crochet basics!! Expect them to come in multiples at first!!

Made a mistake? No problem. Simply tug on the working yarn and watch your stitches disappear!! Just like magic!!

Note: Donít leave your project where cats, dogs, or kids can get to it. You may just come back to an unraveled mess!! Trust me, I had to learn the hard way!! (Iíve lost many hours of work to my rambunctious cats!!) I always leave my hook in my last stitch and stab the hook into my skein of yarn. (Which I also have to hide in a bag!!) Or, I pull a huge loop out so it can be pulled on for a bit before actually unraveling my stitches, if Iím coming right back.

Changing Yarn Color or Adding New:

All thatís left of the crochet basics is changing yarn color, or adding new yarn. Most people say to work to the end of a row if possible. I have found that seldom ever happens. It would either waste a ton of yarn, or it never quite makes it. Nothing is more frustrating than to get almost done with a row, only to find you are out of yarn. If you go to the end of the row, you will have to unravel all that work. What a pain! I donít do it. I leave a little extra tail (6&lrdquo;-10”) and work it in. If it's something that will get a lot of washing, I will leave some tail hanging, and weave it back and forth later.

You want to stop your stitch while you still have 2 loops on your hook. Put the “stubby” tail of your working yarn to the back. Pick up a new working yarn, or color. Place the short end of the new working yarn to the back, as well. Grab the yarn in your hook and pull through both loops on the hook. Give a gentle tug on both tails to snug up the stitch, and tighten it on your hook. Grab your working yarn in the desired method, and continue crocheting like before. Make sure you catch both tails in between your stitches as you go. This will secure those tails. (When you go into your stitch, make sure the tails are on top of your hook, not below it.) If you would like to leave some to weave in later, just stop securing them as you go after a few stitches.

If you are having a problem viewing these videos, you may need to update your flash player. You can update or download the flash player for free from www.adobe.com

Crochet Basics: How To Change Colors or Add New Yarn:


When you are done working as many rows and stitches that you want, cut your working yarn. (Leave about 6” so that you can weave it in later.) You will now have a finished stitch with one loop left on your hook. Pull your hook so that tail comes all the way through the loop.(Do not make a knot! Knotting makes your crochet look messy and lumpy.) If you pull on the tail now, it will only tighten your last stitch. Using a tapestry or yarn needle, weave the tail into your work so it becomes invisible. This locks your stitching in place securely. (I usually go a couple stitches one way, reverse direction, and do a couple stitches the other way.) Weave in any loose tails.

Click here for more finishing techniques

Crochet Basics: Finishing Your Crochet:

As a final finishing touch, you can run a single crochet border around your work. Start in any corner. Single crochet evenly around. Make sure to space it evenly up the sides. (Count, if you have to....) When you get to the corners, do 3 single crochet stitches in the same hole. This makes a nice looking corner. When you get around to the first stitch, do 2 single crochet stitches in the same hole. Connect your last stitch to your first with a slip stitch. This is also a good way to weave in those tails and even out the edges. Weave in any other loose ends. You are done!! You now have a very professional looking piece. Congratulations!! You know all there is to know about the crochet basics.

Crochet Basics: Finishing With Single Crochet Edging:

Click here for more crochet edging patterns

You now have enough crochet basics to create your own pattern! Yes! You really do!! You can now take any simple picture, create a graph, and create your own pattern!!

To learn more about creating a graph pattern, click here

More crochet basics:

Half Double Crochet

Double Crochet

Treble Crochet


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