Following a crochet pattern can be simple once you learn the most common stitches: the foundation chain, single crochet, and double crochet. If you are new to crochet, try making a practice swatch following the steps below before starting a project.
The Foundation Chain
The first step in crochet is to work a foundation chain, which is the base on which the rest of the project is worked. The chain length varies according to the project and will be indicated in your pattern.
1. Make a slip knot about 6" (15.2cm) from the end of the yarn. Pull 1 end of the yarn to tighten knot.
2. Hold the hook between your right index finger and thumb. Insert the hook into the slip knot. Pull 1 end of yarn to tighten knot. This is the first chain stitch.
3. Thread the yarn over the ring finger, under the middle finger, and over the index finger of your left hand, holding the short end between your thumb and middle finger. If more tension is desired, wrap the yarn around your little finger. Insert the hook under and over the strand. This loop, and all subsequent chain stitches, should be loose enough for the hook to fit through easily.
4. Catch the yarn strand with the hook and draw through a loop. Repeat for as many stitches as desired to make the foundation chain. If your pattern says to chain 20, for example, make 20 stitches. One loop should always remain on the hook and should not be counted as a stitch on the foundation chain.
This is considered the “basic” stitch, since all other crochet stitches are variations of it. These instructions start with the first row, which is worked across a foundation chain.
1. Insert hook into second chain from hook, under the 2 upper strands of yarn. Do not count the loop on hook as a chain. Wrap yarn over hook.
2. Draw up a loop. There should be 2 loops on the hook.
3. Bring yarn over hook.
4. Draw yarn through both loops. This completes 1 single crochet stitch.
5. Insert the hook into the next chain stitch. Repeat the steps shown in illustrations 1 through 4.
Work a single crochet in each chain stitch across foundation. At the end of row, work 1 chain stitch (known as the turning chain). Turn work to reverse side and start next row by working stitch in first single crochet (the last stitch of previous row), working under the 2 upper strands of this stitch.
This is a variation of the single crochet stitch. These instructions start with the first row, which is worked across a foundation chain.
1. With yarn over hook, insert hook into fourth chain from hook, under 2 upper strands of yarn.
2. Wrap yarn over hook and draw up a loop. There should be 3 loops on the hook.
3. Bring yarn over hook.
4. Draw yarn through 2 loops. There should be 2 loops on the hook.
5. Yarn over hook again.
6. Draw yarn through last 2 loops on the hook. This completes 1 double crochet stitch.
7. Work a double crochet in the next chain and in each chain across. At the end of row, work 3 chain stitches (the turning chain). Turn work. On next row, skip 1 stitch. Work first stitch in the second double crochet on the previous row.
When crochet is worked back and forth in rows, 1 or more chain stitches, called the turning chain, must be worked after each row is completed. With the exception of the single crochet, the turning chain is always counted as the first stitch of the next row. To compensate, the next row begins by skipping the first stitch.
More How To….
Increase Single and Double Crochet: When a stitch must be increased (to shape work, to make it larger or to form a pattern), simply work 2 stitches in 1 stitch of the previous row. Instructions always specify where to increase.
Decrease Single Crochet: Insert hook into the stitch, bring the yarn over and draw it through the stitch. Yarn over and through all 3 loops on the hook. Instructions always specify where to decrease.
Decrease Double Crochet: Wrap yarn over hook and insert in stitch, yarn over again and through the stitch. Bring yarn over hook and through 2 loops. Insert hook into the next stitch, yarn over and through the stitch. There are now 4 loops on the hook. Bring yarn over and through 2 loops, yarn over again and through 3 loops. Instructions always specify where to decrease.
Fasten Off Crochet: Work the last stitch of last row, but do not work a turning chain. Cut the yarn about 6" (15.2cm) from work. Draw the end of the yarn through the last stitch and pull yarn to tighten.