To a beginner crochet probably sounds like a lot of trouble, but it is without a doubt one of the easiest crafts to learn. There are many stitches, but you don’t need them all to get started – not to mention getting hooked (pun intended). In fact, just two or three basic stitches are enough to help you produce a wide variety of great products. Later, you can learn dozens of different stitches that can make almost anything you can imagine.
That’s exactly why I love crochet so much: You can start right away and get the basics started in a few hours of learning, then spend many happy years improving your skills and developing your admiration for this wonderful craft.
However, this does not mean that nothing is wrong. Don’t expect your very first baby steps to look magical. Your fingers will take a lot of practice to make those smooth and consistent stitches your grandma used to make.
Ease of learning is not the only benefit of crochet. Another, perhaps even more important, advantage is the fact that the costs are virtually zero. When sewing, you need a sewing machine that can cost hundreds of dollars, and a slew of tools and supplies that can add, give, or take a hundred more. Crocheting is so cheap that you only need one or two crochet hooks and yarn. (I suspect you already have scissors.) Later you can expand your supplies and a storage case, yarn winder (if you also knit) and other accessories. But you can also work your way through any project without those extra tools.
Table Of Contents
Basic Crochet Stitches
So, let’s go through some of the crucial yet simplest techniques you need to first crochet stitches. Together with the stitches, we learn the jargon and the abbreviations you encounter in patterns. Note that they can make each stitch. So what you learn from me doesn’t have to be the same as what you learn from someone else. But once you get the hang of it, you can choose the style that suits you best, and even improve or improvise.
Baby Step # 1: Everything starts with a slip knot
And when I say everything, that’s exactly what I mean. Regardless of style, technique or preference, everyone should start with a slip knot. It’s a loop that starts crocheting and keeps everything in place. Even though it is not a stitch, it is still an indispensable step. There is no abbreviation for it, as it is a standard first step that doesn’t even count as a stitch.
As a beginner, do not choose a very thin hook and yarn. You want to make it easy for yourself and be able to observe and control the process. So get a larger hook and make sure your yarn is smooth and light enough (both weight and color) so it doesn’t get messy. The best hook size is H (or 5mm in continental size), and I would worst the easiest yarn to work with. Avoid black yarn until you become a pro, or at least until your fingers work their way through the yarn.
Here are the basic steps to do a slip knot in the easiest way:
- Wrap the tail of the yarn around the index and middle fingers of your left hand. That’s if you’re right handed; if not, just do it the other way around. yYCTCX end of tail should face you. The wire should be X-shaped. Keep the rest of your thread around your fingers so it doesn’t get in the way.
- Now it’s time to make the loop. Take your hook and push it under the first thread, on the outside of your hand. Many crocheters do this without the hook, only with their fingers. And then they put the hook in when it comes time to make the loop.
- Grab the working part of your thread connected to the yarn strand and pull it back. There is your loop!
- You can loosen or tighten the tension. But don’t sweat it out for now. You feel as soon as you start your first project. Don’t forget not to make it too tight or the stitches won’t be able to get through.
Baby Step 2: Chain Stitch
The reason this is the second logical step is because chain stitch is the foundation of almost every project. Just as the slip knot will hold your next stitches in place, the chain stitch will hold the entire construction in place. Think of it like building a house: you need a foundation if you don’t want the entire project to collapse.
- With your hook in the slip knot, wrap your work piece part of your thread around the hook to the back. For starters, it is probably easiest to wrap the wire around the hook. But later you are going to maneuver the hook yourself by pushing it under the wire.
- While doing this, cushion the knot with your left hand. thumb and middle finger.
- Catch the thread and pull the hook through the slip knot, and there you have it! You made a small chain. It starts at the slip knot and then builds on it.
- Repeat the process over and over. You will be very slow at first. My first chain stitch took me almost half an hour! But then, as you repeat it, your speed will increase to where you can actually call it “ speed ”.
The abbreviation for chain stitch will logically be “ 1 ” – for both the American and British crocheters. That is what you will find in any crochet project.
Congratulations, my dear Padawan! You have just made one of your first crochet stitches.
Baby Step 3: Single Crochet (or Double Crochet for Brits)
Now that you’ve laid your foundation, it’s time to build on it. And for that, meet your newfound knowledge: single crochet stitch – also known as double crochet in British English. I abbreviated the patterns: “ Sc ”.
- Before making your first single crochet stitch, do one more loose chain stitch on your foundation than needed. That’s because you’re going to skip that stitch. Suppose you plan to have 10 single crochet stitches in a row. To do that, you need 11 chains in the foundation.
- Push your crochet hook through the second chain stitch. You will want to thread the first loop and pass it through the first loop.
- Next you see that there are two loops on your hook. Yarn again and slide your hook back through both loops.
This may seem very tricky at first. But after doing a few rows, you will felt a little more relaxed. And the best part is: you can already make anything! Just one notable example is meager, the skill of crocheting cute little animals and other shapes that have already conquered the world. If you’re more on the practical side, there are many other things you can make, such as hats, scarves, dish towels, blankets, and even cute baby boots[ O].
Why should I learn to crochet?
If the above comments about the convenience and affordability of crochet are not enough, consider this. Crochet was not born yesterday, but especially between and after the 19th and 20th century wars, people went crazy about it. Hardships were easier to combat if you knew how to make things that were both useful and beautiful, such as hats, blankets or afghans, handbags. Many women used this skill to make a living in times of poverty. Even Queen Victoria realized the ingenuity of this craft, and soon became a passionate crocheter who made things for her war veterans!
It looks rosier today, but they do not fell hooks out of favor with the masses. On the contrary – even high-end fashion designers regularly flaunt this art on their products. You see crocheted details or sound pieces of clothing on top models, actors and actresses, as well as on the hipster next door. Yes, crochet is that versatile. And all those decades and centuries it has earned the prestigious title of a classic. Kudos to the granny!