Crocheting is often thought of as a calming and therapeutic hobby, making it a great option for beginners. The rhythmic motions involved can help to soothe anxiety and stress, while the act of creating something beautiful can boost your mood and self-confidence. Crocheting is also a relatively easy hobby to pick up, and there are endless possibilities in terms of the types of projects you can create.
Whether you’re looking for a new hobby to help you relax, or you’re simply searching for a creative outlet, crocheting may be the perfect option for you. But how do you begin? We cover everything beginners need to know about crocheting in this article.
What is Crochet?
Crochet is a method of creating fabric from yarn or thread using a crochet hook. The word "crochet" comes from the French word for "hook," and it is believed to have originated in the Middle East. The activity became popular in Europe during the 19th century, and it is now enjoyed by people all over the world.
Crochet can be used to create a wide variety of items, including blankets, hats, scarves, and toys. It is also a popular form of needlework for making doilies and other decorative items. Crochet is typically worked in rounds or rows, with the hook being inserted into the fabric and then pulled through loops of yarn or thread. This process is repeated to create the desired pattern or design.
Crochet hooks are one of the most important tools for crocheters. They come in a variety of sizes, materials, and styles to suit every need. The size of the hook you use will depend on the type of yarn or thread you are using, as well as the type of project you are working on.
How to Hold a Crochet Hook
Most people hold a crochet hook in their right hand, but you can use whichever hand feels more comfortable. There are three main ways to hold a crochet hook: the knife grip, the pencil grip, and the thumb grip.
The knife grip is the most common way to hold a crochet hook, and it's what most beginners learn. To hold your hook in the knife grip, simply hold it like you would a dinner knife, with your index finger extended along the shaft of the hook and your thumb and middle finger positioned behind the hook.
The pencil grip is similar to the knife grip, but your index finger is positioned underneath the shaft of the hook instead of along it. This grip can be more comfortable for some people, and it also gives you more control over the hook.
The thumb grip is less common than the other two grips, but it can be useful for certain types of stitches. To hold your hook in the thumb grip, position your thumb behind the hook and wrap your index finger and middle finger around the shaft. This grip can be a bit awkward at first, but it's worth learning because it gives you a lot of control.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing the size of crochet hook that you use. It all depends on what type of project you're working on and your personal preference.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that the size of your hook will affect the gauge of your work. Gauge is the number of stitches and rows that fit into a certain measurement.
For example, if your pattern says that it should measure 4 inches across and you only have 3 inches, then your gauge is too tight and you will need to use a larger hook. On the other hand, if your project measures 5 inches across with the same 4-inch gauge, then your gauge is too loose and you will need to use a smaller hook.
The best way to determine which size hook to use is to do a gauge swatch. This is simply a small sample of the stitch pattern that you will be using for your project. By working up a gauge swatch, you can test out different hook sizes until you find the one that gives you the gauge that you need.
Choosing Yarn & Yarn Weight
Yarn weight is an important consideration when starting a new crochet project. The type of yarn you use can impact the overall look and feel of your finished piece, as well as the difficulty level of the pattern.
When it comes to yarn weights, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The type of yarn you choose will depend on the specific project you're working on. For example, a delicate lace scarf will require a different type of yarn than a chunky winter hat. In general, though, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing yarn for your next crochet project.
The first thing to consider is the gauge of the yarn. Gauge is the number of stitches per inch that can be achieved with a particular type of yarn. For example, a fingering weight yarn has a gauge of 14-16 stitches per inch, while a chunky yarn has a gauge of 10-12 stitches per inch.
The next thing to consider is the yarn’s fiber content. Different fibers have different properties that can impact the look and feel of your finished project. For example, wool yarns are warm and durable, while cotton yarns are cool and breathable.
Finally, take a look at the care instructions for the yarn. Some yarns require special care, such as hand-washing or drying flat. Others can be machine-washed and tumble-dried without any problem. Choose a yarn that can be cared for in the same way you'll care for your finished project.
How to Make a Slip Knot for Crochet
Making a slip knot is the first step in crochet. It's also one of the easiest. Here's how to do it:
- Make a loop in the yarn, leaving a long tail.
- Insert your hook into the loop.
- Wrap the yarn around the hook (yarn over).
- Draw the yarn through the loop.
- Tighten the resulting loop on the hook, and you've made a slip knot!
How to Crochet a Chain Stitch
The chain stitch is one of the most basic stitches in crochet, and it is often used as a starting point for other stitches. It consists of a series of looped stitches, each of which is pulled through the previous stitch. If you're just getting started with crochet, learning how to do a chain stitch is a great place to start.
Here's how to crochet a chain stitch:
- Make a slip knot.
- Put the knot on the crochet hook.
- Insert the hook into the loop of the slip knot and pull up a loop of yarn.
- Yarn over. Then, pull through both loops. This completes one chain stitch.
Repeat the second and third steps to create a long chain of stitches. You can use this chain to practice other crochet stitches or make projects like scarves, blankets, or hats.
How to Single Crochet
The single crochet stitch is worked by inserting your hook into a stitch, yarn over, and then pulling through both the stitch and the loop on your hook. This creates one new stitch. More specifically:
- Make a slip knot on your crochet hook. To do this, wrap the yarn around your fingers once, then insert the hook under the loop and pull it through.
- Insert your hook into the next stitch. You can insert it from the front, back, or side — it doesn't matter as long as you are consistent.
- Yarn over and pull through the stitch, making two loops on your hook.
- Yarn over again, pulling through both loops on your hook. This completes the stitch and creates one new stitch.
- Repeat steps 2-5 until you have reached the end of the row or until you have the desired number of stitches.
How to Double Crochet
The double crochet stitch is made by working two single crochet stitches into the same space. This creates a taller, denser stitch than single crochet. To make a double crochet stitch:
- Start by inserting your hook into the space or stitch indicated.
- Yarn over and pull up a loop, creating three loops on your hook.
- Yarn over again, drawing through the first loop on your hook. This creates the first "leg" of your double crochet stitch.
- Yarn over again and draw through the two loops left to complete the stitch. One double crochet stitch is now complete!
- Repeat these steps to continue working double crochet stitches.
How to Half Double Crochet
The half-double crochet stitch is one of the most basic and versatile stitches in crochet. It's a great stitch to use for beginners and can be used to create a variety of different projects. To half double crochet:
- Insert your hook into the stitch.
- Yarn over and pull through the stitch, creating three loops on your hook.
- Yarn over and pull through all three loops. This completes one half double crochet stitch.
When you're working in rows, each half double crochet stitch is worked into the next stitch from the previous row. When you get to the end of a row, turn your work so that you can work back in the other direction.
How to Make a Slip Stitch
A slip stitch is a basic crochet stitch that is often used to join two pieces of crocheted fabric together. It can also be used to create decorative edging on a piece of fabric.
- Insert the crochet hook into the first stitch of the row.
- Yarn over, drawing the yarn through both the stitch and the loop.
- Continue working slip stitches across the row until you reach the end.
- To finish off, cut the yarn and pull it through the loop on the hook.
How to Treble Crochet (Triple Stitch)
Treble crochet is a taller stitch than single crochet and is often used to create lacy, openwork fabrics. It's also known as the triple crochet stitch. To treble crochet, follow these steps:
- Make a foundation chain of at least 3 stitches.
- Yarn over the hook twice before inserting it into the third chain from the hook.
- Yarn over and pull up a single loop (4 loops on hook)
- Yarn over and pull 2 loops (3 loops on hook)
- Yarn over and pull through 2 more loops (2 loops on hook)
- Yarn over for the final time, pulling through the last 2 loops on the hook. One treble crochet stitch is now complete.
- To continue working the row, yarn over the hook twice and insert it into the next stitch, repeating the process until you reach the end of the row.
- When you turn your work, you'll need to chain 3 stitches (counts as first treble crochet) before beginning the next row.
More Crochet Techniques for Beginners
Crochet is a fun and rewarding hobby, and there are many different techniques that beginners can try. Each of these techniques has its own unique characteristics, so it's important to experiment with all of them to find the one that works best for you.
Increasing and Decreasing
Increasing and decreasing is a process of adding or removing stitches to create shaping in your work. This can be done in a number of ways, depending on the effect you are trying to achieve.
One way to increase stitches is by working 2 or more stitches into the same stitch or space. This creates a series of closely spaced stitches and is often used at the beginning or end of a row to create a slightly rounded edge.
To decrease stitches, you will work 2 or more stitches together. The most common way to decrease is by working a stitch together with its neighbor as if you were making a single stitch. This creates a slanted line of stitches and is often used to create shaping in the middle of a row.
Working in the Round
When working in the round in crochet, you'll typically use a circular needle or a set of double-pointed needles. Crocheting in the round is worked in a continuous spiral, meaning that you'll never turn your work. This can be a bit tricky to get used to at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's really not that difficult.
There are a few things to keep in mind when working in the round in crochet. First, you'll want to make sure that your tension is nice and even. This can be a bit tricky when working in the round, as it's easy to get tight or loose stitches. Just take your time and focus on keeping your tension even.
Another thing is that you'll want to use a marker to keep track of your rounds. This is especially important if you're working on a project with multiple colors or if you're working on a complex pattern. By placing a marker at the beginning of each round, you'll be able to easily keep track of your progress.
There are many different ways that you can combine the basic crochet stitches to create interesting patterns and textures.
One way to combine the basic stitches is to alternate between two or more different stitches in a regular pattern. For example, you could start with a row of single crochet, followed by a row of double crochet, followed by a row of triple crochet. By doing this, you would create a striped effect that is very easy to achieve.
Another way to combine the basic stitches is to work them into a specific pattern. For example, you could create a checkerboard pattern by working two rows of single crochet, followed by two rows of double crochet. Or you could create a diagonal stripe pattern by working one row of single crochet, followed by one row of triple crochet, followed by one row of double crochet.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to combining the basic stitches. By experimenting with different combinations, you can create unique and interesting patterns that are sure to stand out. So have fun and get creative!
Free Crochet Patterns
Excited to get started on a crochet project? To make things easier for you, we have a collection of free crochet patterns you can use to get started. From scarves and ear warmers to rainbow blankets and basketweave throws, browse our pattern collection and get step-by-step instructions for your crochet project.
What are the best crochet hooks for beginners?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best crochet hook for a beginner depends on a number of factors, including personal preference. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a crochet hook for a beginner.
First, it is important to choose a crochet hook that is comfortable to hold. This means that the hook should be the right size for your hand and fingers and that the grip should be comfortable.
Second, it is important to choose a crochet hook that is easy to use. This means that the hook should have a smooth surface so that it easily glides through yarn. Third, it is important to choose a crochet hook that is durable. This means that the hook should be made from a strong material, such as stainless steel so that it can withstand repeated use.
What size yarn is best for beginner crochet?
Each crocheter may have their own preference. However, many beginners tend to start with worsted weight yarn (such as Red Heart's Super Saver yarn or With Love yarn), as it is easy to work with and provides good results. Additionally, starting with a lighter-weight yarn can help you get a feel for the basic crochet stitches before moving on to more challenging projects. Ultimately, the best size yarn for beginner crochet will be the one that you are most comfortable working with.
What is the first thing a beginner should crochet?
The answer to this question may vary depending on who you ask, but generally speaking, the first thing a beginner should crochet is a simple project that will help them get familiar with the basic stitches. This could be something like a dishcloth or a small blanket. Once they have mastered the basic stitches, they can then move on to more complex projects.
More Beginner Crochet Tutorials
Mary Maxim has a plethora of crochet tutorials beginners can use to kickstart a project. From creating a crochet pattern to checking your gauge, we cover all of it to make crocheting fun and easy for you. Here are some more beginner crochet tutorials you should check out: