How to Crochet: a Beginner's Guide
Teach Yourself to Crochet!
My grandma taught me to crochet when I was five years old, and it is something I still love to do today. Once you start crocheting, you will find that it is a fun, fulfilling hobby. Follow these easy steps, and you will be crocheting beautiful pieces before you know it.
Chain, Single, Half Double, Double, & Treble Crochet
How to Cluster Stitch
How to Change Yarn Colors
About the Videos
The How to Change Yarn Colors video isn't very clear on how to change the yarn, but gives you a good overview of how it happens.
The Tidy Away Ends & Colour Changes video is a bit advanced for the beginner, but I recommend it because it has some great tips. At the beginning, she shows you how to hide the tail into the chain--I suggest you don't do this until you have practiced crocheting for awhile. The chain will help beginners identify where they started the first row. Once you become more practiced at crocheting, this is a great tip.
Tidy Away Ends & Colour Changes
Gather Your Supplies
Crochet Hook: I suggest a size H/5.00 mm for beginners. It will be easier for you to use until you get the hang of crocheting. I prefer wooden hooks because they feel smoother, but aluminum work great as well.
Yarn: Pick a bright colored, worsted weight yarn. Worsted weight is the most commonly used yarn for crocheting. You want to choose a brightly colored yarn, instead of a dark color, because it will be easier to see your stitches.
These are the two basic supplies every beginner needs. As you get more practice, you will find use for rulers, longer hooks, and markers. Keep a pair of scissors handy too!
How to Make a Chain
Every crochet project and pattern begins with a foundation chain. You will find that the stitches of a foundation chain look like a row of V's. To make a foundation chain, you need to start by making a slip knot (see video Hook, Yarn, & Slip Knot).
- Put your hook through the slip knot, holding the hook in your right hand and the yarn and slip knot in your left hand. Bring the yarn over the hook (you want the yarn to come towards you) from back to front.
- Pull the yarn through the slip knot with the hook. This will give you two stitches in your foundation chain.
- Repeat until have a chain with 11 stitches. (Practice until you have a smooth, loose chain to work with.
Note: When you make one chain stitch, it is often called "chain one". The abbreviation for chain is ch, for chains it is chs.
How to Single Crochet
The single crochet stitch is the shortest stitch in height. It is also one of the most common stitches you will use in crocheting.
- With the last chain still on your hook, insert the hook into the back ridge of the second chain from hook (the ridge is the piece of yarn under the V-shape).
- Bring the yarn over the hook, like you did while making the chain, and pull it through the ridge. You will now have two loops on your hook.
- Bring the yarn over the hook again, and pull it through the two loops. You have just completed one single crochet.
- Insert hook into the next ridge, and yarn over. Pull the yarn through the ridge.
- Yarn over again, then pull it through the two loops. You have made another single crochet.
- Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you reach the end of the row. By the end, you should have 10 single crochets (count the Vs to make sure).
Note: The term "yarn over" refers to bringing the yarn over your crochet needle. In patterns, it is often abbreviated to YO. When you are making your first row, make sure you don't let your chain twist--keep it straight.
- Before you turn your work to start row 2, you need to chain one. This chain is called a turning chain.
- Turn your work around, pulling the row you just completed towards you. The hook will now be at the beginning of the work again.
- Insert the hook under the two top loops of the single crochet closest to your hook. Yarn over, and draw the new loop through. You will now have two loops on your hook.
- Yarn over again, and draw it through the two loops on your hook. You have now made a single crochet on your second row.
- Continue across the row until you reach the end. Count the Vs to make sure you have 10 single crochets.
- Make a few more rows for practice, until you feel comfortable to move on.
Half Double Crochet
The half double crochet is taller than the single crochet, but shorter than the double crochet.
- Chain 11 stitches (loosely). Yarn over and insert hook into third chain from hook. Yarn over again, and pull yarn through the chain. You will now have 3 loops on your hook.
- Yarn over, and pull through all 3 loops on the hook. You have just completed one half double crochet.
- Yarn over and insert hook into next chain. Yarn over again, and pull through chain. You should have 3 loops on your hook.
- Yarn over, and pull through all 3 loops on hook. You have now made another half double crochet.
- Repeat steps 3 & 4 until you reach the end of the row. By the end, you should have 10 stitches.
- Before you turn your work, you need to make a turning chain. Chain 2 and turn your work (the 2 chains will count as the first half double crochet on row 2).
- Insert the hook under the two top loops of the half double crochet from the previous row, work a half double crochet.
- Half double crochet in each half double crochet across the row, until you reach the end of the row. You should have 10 stitches by the end.
- Again, practice by completing a few more rows, until you feel comfortable to move on.
Note: If you are following a pattern, read it carefully. The turning chain won’t always count as the first half double crochet. Always count your stitches to make sure you haven’t dropped or added a stitch.
The double crochet is another popular stitch, and one of my favorites. It has one more step to it that the half double crochet, so take a while to practice it and get the hang of it.
1. Chain 12 stitches (loosely). Yarn over, and insert hook into fourth chain from the hook. Yarn over again, and pull yarn through the chain. You will now have 3 loops on your hook.
2. Yarn over and pull through the first 2 loops on the hook. There will be 2 loops remaining.
3. Yarn over again, and pull through the remaining 2 loops on the hook. You have now completed your first double crochet.
4. Yarn over and insert hook into next chain. Yarn over again, and pull through chain. You should have 3 loops on your hook.
5. Yarn over, and pull through the first 2 loops on hook.
6. Yarn over again, pulling it through the remaining 2 loops on hook. You have completed another double crochet.
7. Repeat steps 4-6 until you reach the end of the row. By the end, you should have 10 stitches.
- Before turning your work, chain 3 as the turning chain. These 3 chains will count as the first double crochet in the new row.
- Turn your work. Double crochet into both top loops of the next double crochet from the previous row.
- Continue across the row. By the end, you should have 10 double crochets (counting the turning chain).
- Repeat the rows until you feel comfortable enough to move on.
The treble crochet is the tallest of these four stitches. It is also called triple crochet (you begin the stitch with 3 loops on the hook).
- Chain 13 stitches (loosely). Yarn over twice, and insert hook into fifth chain from the hook. Yarn over again, and pull yarn through the chain. You will now have 4 loops on your hook.
- Yarn over and pull through the first 2 loops on the hook. There will be 3 loops remaining.
- Yarn over again, and pull through the next 2 loops on the hook. There will be 2 loops remaining on the hook.
- Yarn over, and pull through the remaining 2 loops on the hook. You have now made your first treble crochet.
- Yarn over twice, and insert hook into next chain. Yarn over again, and pull through chain. You should have 4 loops on your hook.
- Yarn over, and pull through the first 2 loops on hook.
- Yarn over again, pulling it through the next 2 loops on hook.
- Yarn over, and pull through the remaining 2 loops on hook. You have completed another double crochet.
- Repeat steps 5-8 until you reach the end of the row. By the end, you should have 10 stitches.
- Chain 4 (turning chain counts as first treble crochet), and turn your work.
- Treble crochet in the next treble crochet from previous row.
- Continue across to the end of the row. You should end up with 10 treble crochets.
- Complete a few more rows until you feel comfortable with this stitch.
To finish off your project, cut the yarn at the end of your last row. You will want to leave about 4 inches of yarn at the end.
Bring the loose end through the last loop on the hook. Tighten it. This creates a knot, keeping the ends from unraveling. Weave yarn end into stitches.
This is called finish off, fasten off, or end off.
- Susan Richards: Beginner's Crochet
This article, by Susan Richards, goes over the basics of crocheting, the different stitches, how to add and drop stitches, and tips for reading a pattern. The article includes clear photos of the various steps.
- Crochet Pattern Central
A free directory of patterns, instructions, and tips. This site allows users to post their own patterns, creating an ever growing collection, as well as tips and tricks they’ve used themselves.
- Charts and Abbreviations
Clear, useful charts for crochet hooks and knitting needles, showing the equivalent sizes between US, UK, and metric measurements. This site also contains an easy to read list of crochet abbreviations.
- Crochet Me
Crochet Me is an online crochet magazine where you can find free patterns, chat in the forums with other crafters, and learn tips and tricks from other crocheters, like how to straighten unraveled yarn and how to wind yarn into balls without it stret
- Annie's Attic - Yarn FAQs
A Frequently Asked Questions guide to yarn, including a handy yarn calculator to figure out how many skeins are needed for a project. Learn about yarn gauge, yarn plies, and how to make yarn substitutions.
- Daphne's Tutorial Page
More crochet stitches, symbols, and techniques. Daphne’s Tutorial Page also includes clear illustrations for the basic crotchet stitches. Site provides information on more crochet basics, like identifying front and back loops, crocheting a ring, an
What's the Next Step in Crocheting?
Once you have mastered these stitches, you should try a simple project, like a scarf. Remember that these are just the basics of crocheting for beginners. There is still a lot to learn before you will be ready to crochet a sweater or afghan, but you are on your way.
Let me leave you with some abbreviations and definitions of common terms found in patterns:
CC = Contrasting Color
ch(s) = chain(s)
dc = double crochet
hdc = half double crochet
MC = Main Color
mm = millimeters
sc = single crochet
sp(s) = space(s)
st(s) = stitch(es)
tog = together
tr = treble crochet
YO = Yarn Over
* = (star) work the instructions following the * as many more times as instructions say, in addition to the first time you did it.
† = (dagger) work all instrctions from first † to second † as many times as instructions say.
right side v. wrong side = the right side is the side that will show when the piece is completed.
work across = continued working the pattern as you already have been.
: = (colon) number given after colon at tend of row is number of stitches you should have on that row
() or [ ] = (parentheses or brackets) work instructions between parentheses or brackets as many times specifed by number following or space indicated.
Kat07 crocheted her first scarf by following the directions on this page. See her beautiful red scarf pictured on the right? She did a fabulous job.
Please feel free to share your success stories with us. Send me a message to learn how to get pictures of your completed projects posted.