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How to Work a Single Crochet Stitch: Video and Photo Guide

Melissa is a self-taught and devoted crocheter. Today she creates her own patterns and teaches others the art of crochet.

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Single Crochet Stitch Tutorial for Beginners

The single crochet is not only the easiest stitch for beginners to master; it’s also the most essential! The single crochet is the foundation for the other stitches crocheters use. Once you master the single crochet stitch, making a double or triple crochet is as easy as adding a yarn over.

Common Supplies for Crochet

Common Supplies for Crochet

Crochet Supplies

To learn the single crochet, you’ll need to grab some yarn and a crochet hook—preferably one that is larger in size, such as an I or J hook. This will make is easier to work the stitch, and you'll be less likely to tangle your yarn.

1. Make a Slip Knot

The first step in working a single crochet step involves making a slip knot. This can be tricky the first time you do it, but it’s a very simple technique.

  1. Hold the yarn like you’re going to make a regular knot, like the first knot you make when you tie your shoes, but don’t actually make the knot. You should have a long end of yarn that is attached to the skein, and a short end of yarn.
  2. Insert the hook under the short strand of yarn, and pull down on both the long and short strands. This will create a movable knot, or “slip knot.”

Photo Tutorial: Slip Knot

Prep the yarn like you're going to make a regular knot.

Prep the yarn like you're going to make a regular knot.

Insert the hook under the short strand.

Insert the hook under the short strand.

Pull down on both the long and short strands at the same time.

Pull down on both the long and short strands at the same time.

Pull the slip knot tight.

Pull the slip knot tight.

Pull the slip knot tight so that it is asx close to the hook as it can get.

Pull the slip knot tight so that it is asx close to the hook as it can get.

2. Create the Chain Stitch

The second step in working the single crochet requires making the chain stitch. This is how you create the foundation giving you a place to actually put the single crochet stitches. This is why it’s typically called the foundation chain.

  1. To create the chain, simply loop the yarn of the hook, use the hook to grab the yarn and pull it through the loop that is already on the hook.
  2. Do this about ten times. This will allow you to practice the stitch by creating a row of single crochet.

Photo Tutorial: Chain Stitch

The Foundation Chain

The Foundation Chain

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Create a chain stitch by yarning over (pulling the yarn over the hook).

Create a chain stitch by yarning over (pulling the yarn over the hook).

Use the hook to grab the yarn and pull it through the loop that is already on the hook.

Use the hook to grab the yarn and pull it through the loop that is already on the hook.

Pull the yarn through creating the chain stitch.

Pull the yarn through creating the chain stitch.

3. Work the Single Crochet

Now that the foundation chain is made, it’s time to work your first single crochet stitch. You’ll start by inserting the hook into the second chain stitch from the hook.

Why Do You Put the Hook in the Second Chain?

When crocheting a pattern, any row that starts with a single crochet will inevitably start with a single chain stitch. This gives you room to make the single crochet, and acts as the very first single crochet of the row. This is why you make your first single crochet in the second chain from the hook.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Insert the hook into the second chain stitch from the hook.
  2. After inserting the hook, pull the yarn over the hook just like you did for the chain stitch. In patterns, this is called a “yarn over” and is typically abbreviated as YO.
  3. Use the hook to grab the yarn and pull it through the chain stitch.
  4. Yarn over again, and pull the yarn through both loops that are already on the hook.

Photo Tutorial: Single Crochet

Insert the hook into the second chain from the hook.

Insert the hook into the second chain from the hook.

Another angle of inserting the hook in the second chain.

Another angle of inserting the hook in the second chain.

Yarn over and pull the yarn through the chain stitch.

Yarn over and pull the yarn through the chain stitch.

Pull the yarn though the chain stitch.

Pull the yarn though the chain stitch.

Pull up the loop.

Pull up the loop.

Yarn over and pull the yarn through both loops already on the hook.

Yarn over and pull the yarn through both loops already on the hook.

Pull the yarn through both loops already on the hook.

Pull the yarn through both loops already on the hook.

4. Finish the Row

You just made your first single crochet!

  1. Finish the row by working a single crochet stitch in each chain all the way across to the end of the row.
  2. Once you get to the end of the row, make a single chain stitch and then turn the work so that all of the single crochet stitches you just made are on the left side of the chain.
  3. Work a single crochet stitch in first single crochet, and in each single crochet of the row.

Photo Tutorial: Finishing the Row

Chain one, and insert the hook in the top of the first single crochet of the previous row.

Chain one, and insert the hook in the top of the first single crochet of the previous row.

how-to-work-a-single-crochet-stitch-for-beginners
Yarn over and pull the yarn through both loops on the hook.

Yarn over and pull the yarn through both loops on the hook.

Video Instructions for Working a Single Crochet Stitch

In the video below, I show you how to crochet several single crochet stitches in the foundation chain. I also show you how to chain one, and then turn the work and start another row of single crochet.

This is what your second row of stitches should look like.

This is what your second row of stitches should look like.

Increasing and Decreasing

Increases and decreases often scare beginning crocheters because they not only make the pattern difficult to read when you’re first starting out, but they can also be confusing because you have to count the stitches.

How to Increase

Increases are easier than decreases I think. To increase, you work two or more stitches in one stitch of the row below. You can create simple patterns such as shells using increases. Many lace crochet patterns use increases to create the open and delicate look of lace. Increases are also commonly used when making the crown of a hat.

How to Decrease

Decreases are a bit more difficult. In a decrease, when you insert the hook to pull up a loop, you do it twice. You insert the hook in one stitch, yarn over and pull up a loop, and then insert the hook in the next stitch, yarn over and pull up a loop. You end up with three loops on your hook instead of just two. Then you yarn over and pull the yarn through all three loops on the hook. This makes two stitches into a single stitch.

Decreases are typically used in patterns such as blankets, pull-overs, stuffed animals and shawls, or cover-ups. They are most commonly used in patterns that require you to make a circle of some kind.

Crochet Abbreviations

StitchAbbreviation

Chain

ch

Single Crochet

sc

Half Double Crochet

hdc

Double Crochet

dc

Triple Crochet

tc

Slip Stitch

ss

Yarn Over

YO

Enjoy Learning All the Stitches!

The single crochet stitch is a versatile one; it’s perfect for making tight, strong patterns like handbags and hats. It also makes a wonderful edging stitch.

Once you master the single crochet, learning the half double, double and treble crochet stitches will be a breeze!

Happy crocheting!

© 2013 Mel Flagg COA OSC

Comments

Jane Lightle on December 07, 2017:

Thankyou for your video, I learned something new this evening and am going to try it out.

DemiT on May 27, 2014:

Wonderful hub, with insightful pics and videos!! I have been thinking about learning to crochet but did not where to look for the best step-by-step instructions!! Now, I have found the place :)

Mel Flagg COA OSC (author) from Rural Central Florida on December 06, 2013:

Thank you Olivia!! I'm so glad it rekindled that interest again. Crocheting is such an enjoyable hobby, and can be very relaxing! Let me know if you have any questions, I'll be happy to help! :)

Olivia Carter from United States on October 29, 2013:

Very good hub. Inspiring enough for me to start learning crochet. I have always wanted to learn it but postponed it due to some reason or the other. Now your hub has rekindled the interest and I am surely bookmarking this hub. Thanks a ton for the wonderful tutorial, very clear and easy to follow.

Mel Flagg COA OSC (author) from Rural Central Florida on July 26, 2013:

@Victoria, I did a ton of research, but I had a slight advantage. Since I was in ophthalmology, I knew a bit about lenses. Both Nikon and Canon make ophthalmic lenses, and in my personal opinion, Nikon has always had the clearer lenses, and they are also the least likely to scratch. So, I kept that in mind when I bought my camera and I ended up going with a Nikon D5100. The lens I use is actually the stock lens. I wanted to make sure I enjoyed photography enough before I went into the expense of a macro lens (which I REALLY want now).

After I used the camera for a couple of weeks, I found I wasn't 100% satisfied with it's clarity. So I did some more research and compared the images of the Nikon D5100 with the Canon Rebel T3i (which was the other camera I was looking at) and I was shocked to find, that indeed the Nikon had MUCH clearer images than then Canon. I also have found, after three months of using the Nikon, that there really is a "sweet spot" where images are crystal clear. Once I found that, I've had absolutely gorgeous photos. The ones in this hub are some of the best shots I've taken with the camera. Although today, I did just get a photo of a dragonfly that was simply amazing. I'm very happy with my purchase! :)

Mel Flagg COA OSC (author) from Rural Central Florida on July 26, 2013:

@Crystal, sorry for not getting back to you sooner. Personally I think crocheting is easier, mainly because instead of two needles, you're only using one hook. While there are more stitches to learn, they are all variations of the same stitch, which makes it easier to learn them. Once you master the single crochet, the rest really are very easy. The hardest part of crochet, I think is learning to read and interpret the instructions in a pattern.

I think I just gave myself an idea for another hub! :)

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on July 21, 2013:

Well, you did a great job with the camera. I'm always interested in researching cameras if ever I do upgrade. What kind do you have? The pics are incredible!

Mel Flagg COA OSC (author) from Rural Central Florida on July 21, 2013:

@Victoria Lynn Thank you so much!! These pictures were the result of getting a new camera, I was playing with the macro settings and thought what better way to test it. I have to admit, I'm very pleased with the images myself! As always, thanks for reading and sharing!! :)

Mel Flagg COA OSC (author) from Rural Central Florida on July 21, 2013:

@Better Yourself Thank you!! I'm so glad this hub has inspired so many people!! :)

Mel Flagg COA OSC (author) from Rural Central Florida on July 21, 2013:

@tsmog no worries! it's rare that people actually spell my name right. I don't even really notice anymore. Feel free to use DOM if it's easier! :D