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Learn to Crochet, Lesson 1: Chain and Single Crochet

Welcome to the first lesson in our Learn to Crochet series! This week, we'll be learning two basic stitches: the chain and the single crochet.

learn-to-crochet-double-hdc

It should be noted that I am right-handed, and all of my instructions will reflect that. Moogly has a good set of instructions for how to crochet left-handed, if you would like to learn that way. This series will still be beneficial for information and pattern support, but hers can help you with the individual stitches.

Chain

The chain is the foundation of basically every crochet project. So learn it, practice it, and love it, because you're going to need it all the time.

chain-knot

The first thing you need to make is a slip knot. If you are a knitter learning to crochet, you should already know how to make one, as it's the same as you do for casting on. In crochet, however, the slip knot does NOT count as a stitch.

If you do not know how to make one, visit our tutorial section.

Once you have the slip knot in place, you can begin the chain. Hold the yarn that's attached to the ball in your left hand and the hook in your right. Then, use the hook to grab the working yarn and pull it through the loop on the hook, dropping that off the needle. In basic crochet, at the end of each stitch there should only be one loop on the hook.

After doing this a couple of times, you should start to see your chain emerge.

If you repeat this a total of 12 times, you will have a long enough chain to begin learning the single crochet stitch.

Single Crochet

You should have a chain of 12 ready to go, so we can jump right in to the stitching. The first row of crochet is always the most fiddly and difficult, because working into the chain is harder than working into a row of crochet. So try not to get frustrated if it seems tricky. If you push through this row, I promise the next will be easier.

The basics of single crochet are as follows: insert the hook front to back under the V at the top of the stitch, wrap the yarn over the hook from back to front, pull that yarn under the V. You will have two stitches on the hook. Wrap the yarn over the hook from back to front again, and pull it all the way through both loops on the hook. You have just made a single crochet stitch.

The tricky part about working into the chain is where to put the hook through. You want to put it through the top of each chain stitch, as shown by this illustration from our Learn section:

 

You will very likely end up with a loopy and messy looking first row for now. That's OK! As you get more comfortable with the motions it will sort itself out.

Keep going back and forth practicing this stitch. Try to keep an even tension with the yarn in your left hand, and see how that helps your stitches come out nicely. Now is the time to make mistakes and play around. You want to get to know the feel of crocheting, which might be really weird if you're used to knitting -- especially if you usually hold your yarn in your right hand when you knit. It might seem weird and impossible at first, but with practice it will start to make sense.

Next week we will be working our first project -- the Level 1 Wristers. For these, you need a single skein of category 4 yarn. The pattern calls for Heartland®, but I have decided to use Jeans®. The two yarns have a similar feel and weight, so you can use them somewhat interchangeably. If you want to get started on these, go for it! But if you'd rather work with your scrap practice yarn, that's fine too.

Good luck, and happy stitching!

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  • Linlal

    Just below the second video and above the drawing, it says "You will have two stitches on the hook." Should this not say "You will have two loops on the hook."?