Crochet A to Z: Basic Stitches

I’m doing the A to Z Challenge for the month of April with the theme “Learn to Crochet A to Z.” For more details, and to see previous posts, click here!

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Welcome to the first tutorial of the month! There are hundreds of crochet stitches out there, but today we’re going to be focusing on the most basic ones that form the foundation for the more advanced stitches. I always start people off with the basics, because I think that’s the best way to learn – and there’s less frustration this way!

So, to start off most crochet projects you’ll start by making a foundation chain. This is basically a long string of stitches you can work into later. First up, of course, you need to find your crochet hook and yarn. I’ll be doing a post about crochet hooks tomorrow, and we’ll talk about yarn later in the month, so if you want to wait for more details then go right ahead! However, for the pictures in this tutorial, I’ll be using a US size I (5.50 MM) crochet hook and worsted-weight yarn. If you’re a beginner and unfamiliar with crochet terms, that probably sounds like Greek, so don’t worry – we’ll get to it soon. :}

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We’re going to start off by making a slipknot, which is an adjustable knot that I use to start most projects. So make a loop in the yarn and fold it over the end that’s coming out of the yarn ball, as above. Then insert your hook under the strand in the middle (see above picture for reference).

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Then you can tighten up the loop on your hook, loose enough so you can still slide it around though.

Next we’re going to make our first chain stitch. To do that, wrap the yarn around the hook going from back to front. This is called a yarn over; you’ll be hearing that term a lot.

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Then, simply pull the yarn over through the loop on the hook. In other words, pull the loop on the right OVER the loop on the left. It’s fine if you have to use your fingers to help pull it through – the goal is to use the crochet hook (that’s why there’s the hook on the end), but in the beginning I had to use my fingers a lot. All it takes is practice! The loop shouldn’t be too tight, as you’re going to have to put your hook in there later. One of the hardest parts of learning to crochet is keeping your tension even. But it really does just take practice, trust me.

Keep making chains until you have the number required for your pattern. I’m going to be chaining 10 here just for practice. Remember to keep them nice and loose.

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The chains look sort of like the letter V from the top. That’s the easiest way to count them. In the picture above I have ten and am about to start my first row of single crochet. Don’t panic! Tis easy once you know how to make the chain stitch.

We’re going to work into the second chain from the hook, which basically means you count down two chains. Don’t count the loop on your hook. The needle is pointing where you’ll want to insert the crochet hook. When you stick it in, go under just one loop (this is called the back loopbut you don’t need to worry about that).

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In this picture you can see how I’ve inserted the crochet hook under just one loop. The loop on the right is the loop on my hook, the one in the middle is the chain, and the one on the left – that’s the yarn over. Yes, that’s right, go ahead and wrap the yarn around your hook to make a yarn over.

Next we’re going to pull the yarn over through the chain stitch, which will result in two loops on the hook. Observe:

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Ta-dah! There are two loops on the hook.

Next, we’re going to yarn over again (wrap the yarn around the crochet hook, making sure you go from back to front as we’ve been practicing), and pull through BOTH of those loops.

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And that creates your first single crochet! That wasn’t too bad, was it?

Go ahead and make a single crochet in each of the chain stitches along the row. It can be a little tricky to see where to put your hook, but just try and look for the next open space. In all likelihood, your first project will look like mine and not be a perfect square, or rectangle, or whatever shape you were aiming for. That’s totally fine! It’s all good practice.

Here’s what my row looked like when I was done:

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We started with ten chains, so now we have nine stitches. (Remember when we skipped a chain at the start of the row? Now you know where it went.)

Remember, there are a couple steps to making a single crochet:

  1. Put the hook in the stitch.
  2. Yarn over and pull through the stitch. There should be 2 loops on the hook.
  3. Yarn over and pull through both of those loops. Ta-dah! Single crochet complete.

To make future rows, you’ll want to make one chain stitch and turn. By turn I just mean flip the work around so you can go back across the stitches you previously made. Like so:

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The weird part about the second row and onward is that you’ll be putting the crochet hook under TWO loops. See where I stuck the needle in the above photo? You’ll be going under the “V” of the stitch. Then when you yarn over and pull through, you’ll pull through that entire stitch. I know it looks like two loops, but the rest of the stitch is exactly the same.

(In some patterns, you’ll actually just work under one loop to create a ribbed pattern, but for the basic single crochet, you’ll always go under both loops like I’m showing you here.)

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And here’s what it looks like after several rows!

So that’s how you make the chain stitch and single crochet stitch – the foundations for pretty much every other crochet stitch out there! I hope you enjoyed this post, please comment if you have any questions whatsoever…I hope some newbies can stumble upon this post. :}

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