Crochet is an ideal handicraft for children because projects work up quickly and only one hook is required, as opposed to the two needles for knitting. Crochet is also a great project for adults who want to learn a new skill. Since the resulting fabric is very versatile, it can be as dense or delicate as desired and is often worked into three-dimensional motifs like flowers.
Choosing Hook and Yarn
Choose the yarn first, then check the wrapper on the yarn skein. It will tell you which size crochet hook is needed to work with that yarn. The thicker the yarn, the larger the crochet hook required. Yarn and the appropriate crochet hooks can be purchased in store as well as on eBay.
The Basic Stitches
Start by anchoring the thread to the hook with a slip knot. Hold the crochet hook in your right hand with the open face of the hook toward you. Slide the index finger of your left hand under the working yarn and lift it up to the left of the hook. Hold the base of the slip knot between the thumb and middle finger of the same hand.
Once the slip knot is anchored, a row of chain stitches form the foundation for other stitches to come. In crochet patterns, “chain stitch” may be abbreviated as “ch.”
- Wrap the yarn up behind the crochet hook then over and down in front of it, trapping a strand of yarn in the open face of the hook. This is known as “yarn over hook” and may be abbreviated as “yoh.”
- Pull the trapped strand through the slip-knot loop currently on the hook. This completes the chain stitch, leaving one loop on the hook. Repeat these two steps as necessary to create a foundation chain.
Slip Stitch/Single Crochet
Some older patterns might list a slip stitch (abbreviated as “sl st” or “st”) as a single crochet (abbreviated “sc”). This stitch used for joining two pieces of crochet or joining new yarn to an existing piece of crochet.
- Either slip-knot a new piece of yarn onto the hook or poke it through the top loops of an existing crochet stitch.
- Insert the crochet hook under the top loops of another existing crochet stitch or chain.
- Yarn over hook, trapping a strand of yarn in the open face of the hook.
- Pull the trapped strand through all but one loop on the hook.
The double crochet, abbreviated as “dc,” is a very short stitch. The resulting fabric is dense and sturdy, with a repeating pattern of subtle ridges throughout.
- Insert the crochet hook under the top two loops of the second stitch from the hook and yarn over hook, trapping a strand.
- Draw the trapped strand through the loops of the existing stitch. This leaves two loops of yarn on the crochet hook.
- Yarn over hook again, trapping another strand. Pull that strand through both loops on the crochet hook to complete the stitch.
As each row of stitches is finished, turn the work right-to-left to get ready to work back across the next row.
Half Treble Crochet
The half treble crochet stitch, abbreviated as “htr,” is taller than the double crochet, so it works up faster. The resulting fabric is still relatively dense.
- Yarn over hook. Insert the hook (and trapped strand) under the top two loops of the third stitch from the hook.
- Yarn over hook again, trapping a second strand. Pull both trapped strands back through the top loop of the existing stitch. The result is three loops on the crochet hook.
- Yarn over hook and pull the trapped strand through all three loops, completing the half treble crochet stitch.
The treble crochet, abbreviated “tr,” is much taller than the half treble crochet and can be used to work up large swatches of fabric quickly. However, it leaves a bit of a gap between stitches.
- Yarn over hook. Insert the hook and trapped strand under the top two loops of the fourth stitch from the hook.
- Yarn over hook again, trapping a second strand. Draw the two trapped strands back through the loops of the existing stitch. There are now three loops on the hook.
- Yarn over hook and draw the trapped strand through the first two loops on the hook; two loops remain.
- Yarn over hook again and draw the trapped strand through the remaining loops on the hook, completing the stitch.
Finishing a Crochet Piece
Finishing a crochet piece so the yarn won’t unravel is called “casting off.” Use scissors to snip the working yarn, leaving a tail of about 15 to 20 cm, then pull that tail through the last loop remaining on the crochet hook.