So you want to learn how to crochet for beginners? Crochet is very ‘On Trend’ at the moment, and with good reason. As with any craft, you need to start right at the beginning and learn all the terminology and the most basic steps, and then move on from there.
How to Crochet for Beginners
I have just recently read a post on social media that said something along the lines of: “I could not find the long red scarf I wanted for my boyfriend anywhere in the stores, so I taught myself to crochet.” Alongside the post was a picture of her boyfriend wearing his amazing red scarf. Crochet is truly a satisfying hobby! Anything you can make with any type of textile or fabric, you can make with crochet.
The popular form of crochet as we know it started in Europe in the early 1800s. It involves looping some kind of yarn with a single hook, joining all these loops together to form a fabric. It ranges from very fine lacework to thick floor rugs, and everything in between.
Crochet for Beginners - Supplies
Just crochet hooks and yarn! This can be a very thrifty hobby. Until you want to start buying hand spun, hand dyed alpaca yarn!
Crochet hooks are made in a variety of materials- for example, bone, plastic, steel, aluminum and bamboo. They also come in a variety of sizes, according to the diameter of the hook. You can buy very thin steel hooks for working with fine cotton. These are labeled 00 to 14. (0.4 to 3 mm metric).
More commonly used are the aluminum, bamboo and plastic hooks, which come in sizes B-1 to U. (2.5 to 25mm metric)
Crochet yarn is generally sold in balls or skeins. Most will be labeled with the thickness in grams or ounces and the fiber content. Always keep the paper wrapping as it commonly includes washing instructions.
Crochet Yarn Thickness
Not all yarns are the same thickness. The thickness or weight of the yarn you will use usually depends on the thickness of your crochet hook. Guidelines on the suitable size hook for a particular yarn can generally be found on the yarn band wrapped around your yarn.
Thicker yarns need fewer stitches and a thicker crochet hook, so are quicker to work up. Fine, thin yarns or cotton are better for more delicate work, but require more stitches and take longer to create your crochet ‘fabric’.
Crochet Yarn Fibers
Crochet yarn is commonly made from cotton, wool, acrylic. Anything you can knit with, you can also crochet. Crochet can, in fact, be done with ribbon, strips of fabric, very fine wire, twine and anything in between! Anything that can be wrapped around a hook and looped can be used as yarn.
Also useful are scissors, a tape measure and stitch markers, which are handy for marking the beginning of a round or repeating patterns.
How to Hold a Crochet Hook Correctly
How to hold the hook? This is a matter of personal preference. Some people like to hold it as you would hold a pencil, others hold it like a knife. See which feels comfortable for you.
It is important to keep the tension of your yarn steady and fairly tight. To do this, wrap the yarn around your little finger of your left hand. If you are left handed, everything applies in reverse, to the opposite hand!
Then use your middle finger to control the feed of the yarn, while your index finger and thumb hold your work.
This is just a recommended idea. It doesn’t really matter how you hold the yarn and hook, as long as you are keeping the tension tight enough. If it is too loose your stitches will be loose and sloppy.
Crochet for Beginners - Starting With the Basics
Most crochet patterns start with a base of chain stitches and a single crochet stitch. With this one stitch you can make many different items including clothing, toys and homewares.
How tO Make a Slip Knot
- This will be the first ‘link’ of your chain. Make a loose loop of yarn,
- Twist the yarn around the end of the hook and pull back through.
- Tighten gently.
How to Wrap the Yarn Over
Yarn Over is abbreviated to yo in crochet patterns.
Wrap the yarn from back to front over the hook. If it feels easier, you can keep the yarn still and move the hook. As long as your yarn is wrapped around from back to front.
How to Do Chain Stitch Crochet
Chain Stitch is abbreviated to ch in patterns.
Wrap your yarn over (yo) and pull this loop through your original loop. Don’t pull it too tight! Repeat this movement to form as many chain stitches as required.
Chain Stitch Tips
- Keep your loops fairly loose, as you will need to get your hook into the holes in the next step.
- The length of your chain will be the width of your crochet fabric. If you are following a pattern, your pattern will present this as, for example, ch50, which means you must create 50 loops.
- Do not count your slip knot as a chain stitch.
How to Do Single Crochet
Single crochet is the smallest, simplest stitch in crochet. It is written as sc in patterns.
Read a more in depth article on single crochet.
How to Single Crochet the First Row
- Insert the hook into the work. For your first row, this will be in the second chain from the hook.
- Yarn over and draw the loop through the work. You will now have two loops on your hook.
- Then yarn over again and draw the hook through both loops at the same time.
- You have now created a single crochet! Well done! Insert your hook into the next stitch and repeat.
IMPORTANT: Please note that your loops should NOT be as loose as those in the photo. I have made them loose so that you can clearly see where to pull your yarn through. Your yarn should be hugging your hook closely!
How to Turn a Row
When you have reached the end of your row of chain stitches, you should have one less single crochet stitch than you have chain stitches. This is because you started crocheting into the second chain from your hook.
- To continue, turn your work around so that the wrong side is facing you. Make 1 chain stitch (ch) as your turning stitch.
- Insert your hook into the second sc and repeat, making sc stitches all the way along, into your newly created row of sc. Insert the hook through the whole of the top loop of each stitch. The last stitch of each row must go into your sc turning stitch of the previous row.
- Keep doing this, turning your work around each time, until your crocheted fabric is the required length.
How to End off Crochet
To finish off your work, and stop it from unraveling, cut your yarn and pull it through the last loop on your hook, and then pull it tight.
With just these two stitches you can make anything. It will not look especially decorative and fancy, but that is coming soon! Single crochet will give you a strong, firm fabric with no big spaces in between stitches. If you are longing to make lacy, airy creations, follow along here, and we will get there!
Crochet for Beginners - Projects
Your imagination is the only barrier here.
Once you have mastered the basics of crochet for beginners, you can create anything, from fine cotton wearables to heavy and thick rag rugs. Examples of projects are:
- Baby blankets
- Dishcloths or washcloths
- Scarves and cowls
- Mittens and fingerless gloves
- Rag rugs
- Tea or coffee cozies and mug warmers
- Mug rugs or coasters
How to Make Crochet Practice squares
It is a good idea to practice a little before starting on any ambitious projects.
So that you don’t feel that you are wasting any time, plan to make a dishcloth or a face scrubbie with your practice squares. It wont matter if your stitches are a bit too tight, or loose or wonky at first. Practice will make perfect!
Choose a pure cotton yarn in a thick size. Double knit/worsted weight. For this you will need a G-6 (4mm) hook. Start with about 25-30 chain stitches, depending on the size you want to make. Crochet your rows of single crochet until you have made a square shape.
How to Make a Crochet Headband
Another quick make is a headband.
Make a chain of, say 9-11 stitches.
You can make it wider or narrower as you please. Keep going with your rows of sc until it is long enough to fit around your head, slightly stretched. Sew the short edges together and you have a headband. You can even change colors to create stripes.
Crochet for Beginners - In Conclusion
Although these are only the most basic stitches in crochet for beginners, you can make so many different things using them. If you are a fan of Amigurumi, those cute little stuffed animals, are made using single crochet.
You could make a scarf, fingerless mittens, or even a warm baby blanket using these basic stitches. Give it a try, build up your skills, and eventually, you will be creating that beautiful long, red scarf that you cannot find anywhere in the stores! It is extremely easy to get ‘hooked’ on this hobby!