Crochet is very ‘On Trend’ now and with good reason. If you want to learn how to crochet for beginners, you need to start right at the beginning and get the right supplies, learn all the terminology and the most basic crochet steps, and then move on from there. At the end of this crochet starter guide, we'll suggest some easy beginner crochet projects for you to try. Continue reading to learn how to crochet step by step, the easy way.
How to Crochet for Beginners Tutorial
In this crochet guide, you will learn how to crochet as well as the basics of crochet, such as the different stitches and techniques you need to learn. By the end of the article, you should have the confidence to try your first crochet projects, such as a scarf, hat, or blanket.
Crocheting is truly a satisfying hobby! Anything you can make with any type of textile or fabric; you can make with crochet. This is exactly why it is a fantastic idea to learn to crochet. The best part is that it is faster and easier than knitting!
What is Crochet?
Crochet is a craft done with yarn and involves using a single crochet hook to create loops in the yarn in order to form a fabric. You can read more about what is crochet. Crocheting basics are easy for everyone to learn, and these resources will help.
Did you know? Crochet is the correct spelling for this yarn craft, but it is commonly misspelled as croshay, or crocet!
Supplies Needed for Crocheting for Beginners
- Crochet Hook
All you really need is just crochet hooks and yarn! This can be a very thrifty hobby. Until you want to start buying handspun, 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 hook sizes, according to their diameter.
More commonly used crochet hooks are aluminum, bamboo, and plastic hooks, which come in sizes B-1 to U (2.5 to 25mm metric). Read my crochet hook sizes and conversions article. For crochet, you only use 1 hook, which is unlike knitting, which uses 2 needles.
Crochet yarn is generally sold in balls or skeins. There is no real difference between crochet yarns and knitting yarns. You can crochet with anything!
Most types of yarn will be labeled with the thickness as a category or ply, as well as the weight in grams or ounces and the fiber content. Always keep the yarn's label, as it commonly includes washing instructions.
The thickness or yarn weights you will use usually depend on the thickness of your crochet hook and your desired project. Guidelines on the suitable size hook for different weights can generally be found on the yarn label.
Thicker yarns need fewer stitches and a thicker crochet hook, so they 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’. When starting to learn how to crochet, choose a medium-weight or thick yarn weight.
For crochet, it is more common to use cotton yarns since they give better stitch definition and are easily washable.
Best Hook and Yarn for Crochet Beginners
If you are a beginner crocheter, try your samples in:
- Worsted weight yarn or another medium type of yarn.
- A 5 mm (H 8) crochet hook. Try to get an ergonomic hook with a plastic handle, as they are easier to hold and more comfortable.
- Choose a light-colored, smooth yarn such as acrylic yarn or cotton yarn. Use your favorite yarns and brands.
Extra Supplies for Crocheting
Also useful are scissors, a tape measure, and stitch markers, which are handy for marking the beginning of round or repeating patterns. You will also want to get a hook container or pouch. There is nothing more annoying than a missing hook from your set.
Tapestry needles or yarn needles are essential for weaving loose ends and stitching up pieces. Make sure your needle has an eye large enough to thread the yarn through. See my post on the best crochet supplies for beginners.
Learn How to Crochet, Step by Step Instructions
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, sweaters, toys, and homewares. Continue reading to learn how to crochet step by step.
This tutorial uses US terms for crochet stitches.
Step 1 - How to Hold a Crochet Hook Correctly
How to hold the hook? Your crochet hook is held in your dominant hand. How, however, is a matter of personal preference. Some people like to hold it as you would hold a pencil, while others hold it like a knife. See which feels comfortable for you. I prefer a pencil grip.
- It is important to keep the tension of your yarn steady and fairly tight. To do this, wrap the yarn around the 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.
Step 2 - How To Crochet a Slip Knot
All crochet projects start with you making a slip knot in order to get the yarn on the hook. This will be the first ‘link’ of your chain. The alternative to making a slip knot is to create a crochet magic ring.
- Make a loose loop of yarn,
- Twist the yarn around the end of the hook (back to front) and pull it back through.
- You will have a loose knot at the end of your hook.
- Tighten gently.
Step 3 - How to Wrap the Yarn Over
One of the most basic crochet skills used in every type of stitch is the yarn over technique. 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, you will have correctly done a yarn over.
Step 4 - How to Start Crochet with Chain Stitch (Ch)
All pieces need a chain stitch crochet to start off. This is called a foundation chain and gives the first crochet row something to anchor into.
This chain will be the width of your required fabric. Chain Stitch is abbreviated to ch in patterns. See my video tutorial on how to chain stitch.
- Create a slip stitch, and place your yarn on your hook. Hold the tail of the yarn to steady it.
- Wrap your yarn over (yo) from back to front.
- Pull this loop through your original loop. Don’t pull it too tight! This is your first chain.
- Repeat this movement to form as many chain stitches as required.
Tips for the perfect chain stitch:
- 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.
- Most patterns will require you to count the number of chain stitches. When counting chain stitches, don't count the chain on the hook. You can see below where to start counting.
Once you have done your starting chain, you will work into these to form the first row. Which chain you work into depends on the crochet stitch you are doing. For a single crochet stitch, you will insert the hook into the second stitch. Find out more crochet basics below.
Step 5 - How to Do Crochet Single Crochet (Sc)
Now you know how to do a slip knot and a chain, it is time to learn your first stitch. Single crochet is the smallest, simplest stitch in crochet. It is written as sc in patterns. Read a more in-depth article on how to single crochet for beginners.
With just this simple crochet stitch, you can make almost 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!
How to Crochet the First Stitch :
- Chain your desired number of stitches and 1 extra for turning stitches.
- Insert the hook into the second chain from the hook. The hook will go into the center of the v-shape.
- Yarn over (remember it is back to front).
- Draw the loop through the work. (You will now have two loops on your hook.)
- Then yarn over again.
- Draw the hook through both loops at the same time. (You will have one loop on the hook.) You have now created the first stitch of single crochet! Well done!
Step 6- How to Crochet First Row
Insert your hook into the next chain and repeat the steps above until the end of the row.
If you are having trouble inserting the hook into the chains, it may be that they are too tight. Undo your chains and try crocheting them looser.
Step 7 - How to Turn a Crochet Row
When you have reached the end of your row of single crochet 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 chain stitch.
What are turning chains? Turning crochet chains are a chain (or more) at the beginning of a new row that brings it up the height of the row. The higher the row, the more chains. For example, single crochet is 1 chain, while treble crochet is 4 chains.
Do you do turning chains at the end or beginning of the row? it doesn't really matter as long as you keep to the same pattern.
Step 8 - How to Crochet the Second Row and Beyond
- Insert your hook into the second single crochet under both loops.
- Single crochet and repeat all the way along.
- The last stitch of each row must go into your single crochet turning stitch of the previous row.
- Keep doing this, turning your work around each time until your crocheted fabric is the required length.
Step 9 - How to Fasten Off Crochet & Weave Ends
To finish off your crochet work, and stop it from unraveling, cut your yarn and pull it through the last loop on your hook, and then pull it tight. Use a large yarn needle to weave the ends through a few inches, then cut any excess.
Beginner Crochet Techniques to Learn
Now that we have covered the basics of crochet, it is time to learn some new techniques.
1. Basic Crochet Stitches Abbreviations
Here are some of the common crochet abbreviations and different stitches used in crochet patterns. Notice how there are different terms used for the US and UK, so it is important you always know the origin of your pattern. On the Treasurie blog, we use US terminology.
Crochet Conversion Chart Us vs Uk:
|ch - chain stitch
|ch - chain
|sl st - slip stitch
|sl st - slip stitch
|sc - single crochet stitch
|dc - double crochet
|hdc - half double crochet stitch
|htr - half treble crochet
|dc - double crochet stitch
|tr - treble crochet
2. How to Crochet Different Colors & Joining Yarn
Whether you want random color changes or stripes, it is important to learn how to change yarns. If you read the full tutorial on changing yarns in crochet, you will learn 4 different methods. The easiest way to join a new yarn is simply to tie a knot.
3. How to Crochet Increases
You can easily increase the number of stitches in a row by crocheting 2 or more stitches into the one stitch below. This will be abbreviated in your pattern as "inc" or "2sc in the next sc". The same method can be used for other crochet stitch types.
Some patterns will have you increase at the beginning or end of the row, and some may have it happen at a designated point along the row. It will depend on the nature of the shaping of your item.
4. How to Crochet Decreases
The easiest way to decrease the number of stitches you have is to simply skip a stitch. This will result in a small gap that is barely noticeable. In patterns, this is generally abbreviated to "dec" or it may tell you to skip (sk) one stitch.
5. Learn to Crochet the Magic Ring
Another important skill to learn when crocheting is the magic ring or magic circle. This starting technique results in small or invisible holes in the center when crocheting in the round. Stuffed crochet toys called amigurumi use this technique extensively.
6. How to Read a Crochet Pattern
Once you know a few basic stitches, it is time to learn how to read a crochet pattern and some of the crochet abbreviations and terms used in them. Choose patterns with beginner skill levels and you will quickly gain confidence.
The trick to reading crochet patterns is to ensure you understand all abbreviations and take it slowly. Make sure you read all of the pattern before you start. Some patterns will use symbols as well as abbreviations.
7. How to Crochet in Post Stitches and Loops
By crocheting in the posts of the crochet stitches, you can form different stitches, such as the diamond stitch. Read more about crochet post stitches. Doing a crochet stitch in the front loop or back loop also gives a different look. Using the back loops is a common technique to produce crochet ribbing that looks like its knitted equivalent. Half double crochet back loops (hdc blo) are often used for ribs.
8. Crochet Gauge
When crocheting garments that need to fit, it is important that your crochet gauge is correct. This is done by crocheting a sample swatch and then measuring it and comparing it to the gauge in your pattern. Usually, you will measure a 4 x 4 inch square and count the number of stitches across and the number of rows. It is easy to adjust your gauge by either crocheting tighter or looser or changing your hook size.
How to Crochet More Stitches for Beginners
There are countless more basic crochet stitches to choose from when learning how to crochet. 5 of the most common besides single crochet are:
In the photo below, you can see the increasing height of the stitches. All of these samples were in a single row.
Slip Stitch (sl st)
Slip stitch has no height but is rather used to travel along crocheted pieces and to join rounds toghether. The slip stitch can also be used as a decorative surface stitch for patterns and for shaping armholes and garment pieces. Read more about how to slip stitch in crochet.
Half Double Crochet (hdc)
Half double crochet (hdc) is a stitch that is between single crochet and double crochet in height. It has a medium density that is between single and double crochet. The half double crochet is commonly used for crochet ribbing and can be used to make scarves and crochet beanies.
Double Crochet (dc)
Double crochet stitch is abbreviated dc. It is a popular stitch as it is easy to do and makes up a little quicker than single crochet. This is one of the most widely used stitches and is the basis of the popular granny square technique and cluster stitch. This is the perfect stitch to learn after the single crochet.
Learn how to do double crochet stitch in my step by step tutorial.
Half Treble Crochet (htr)
Half treble crochet (also called triple stitch) is halfway between double and treble stitch. It is useful when you need stitches of various sizes and makes up very quickly. It is often used in crochet flowers where you need different height stitches to form the petals. Read more about how to crochet flowers for beginners.
How to Crochet Treble (tr)
Treble crochet stitch is open and lacy and one of the quickest stitches to make up the fabric. It is abbreviated tr. Treble stitch starts with 2 yarn overs and makes beautiful lacy items such as shawls. Read more about how to do treble crochet.
Learn to Crochet More Fancy Stitches
Once you know the basic crochet stitches, you can work them together to form other stitches such as the moss stitch (linen stitch) or popular popcorn stitch and corner to corner crochet pattern. Here are more types of crochet stitches:
How to Crochet Different Shapes
You can use different stitches to make circles, rectangles, squares, and even hearts. As well as being the foundation of different items, these shapes can be used to adorn and embellish.
Crochet hearts can be created as a stand-alone shape or be incorporated into a granny square or other shape. The linked article will show you 3 different methods of crocheting hearts. My favorite is the hearts in the round which can be strung together to make a garland.
How to Crochet in the Round
Crochet circles can be crocheted flat or in a spiral shape. They are started with a chain joined with a slip stitch or with a magic ring that results in a smaller center hole. The circle pictured used single crochet, which results in a dense shape.
Crocheting Granny Squares
How to Crochet FAQs
Where to Find Free Crochet Patterns for Beginners
The internet and this blog are full of free crochet patterns. 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. Here are some free crochet patterns to start with.
- How to Crochet a Granny Square
- Crocheted Blanket Patterns
- Crocheted Hat Patterns
- How to Crochet a Scarf
- Clothing, including crochet top patterns, and crochet dress patterns
- Crochet Animal Patterns
What is the Best Thing for Beginners to Crochet?
One of the best projects to start with is learning how to crochet a scarf. A scarf is essentially just a long rectangle that can be made from any stitch you like. It can be simple or quite fancy.
The red scarf below was made using chunky wool and a double crochet stitch, so it was really fast to make. One word of advice - count your stitches occasionally to make sure your scarf is not getting smaller or wider. I crocheted this scarf while watching TV and ended up redoing it a bit as I forgot to double-check my width.
Another project that is great to start with once you know how to crochet is these slippers. They are so easy as they are made from a rectangle and sewn together at the end. Learn how to crochet slippers with custom sizing.
Crocheting 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!
How to Crochet for Beginners
- Crochet hook in a suitable size
- Yarn in any thickness
- Create a slip knot to join the yarn to the crochet hook. Make a starting chain stitch in your desired length For a sample, try 12 chains.
- Insert the hook into the second chain from the hook.
- Put the yarn over from back to front and pull through one loop. (2 stitches on hook)
- Yarn over again, and pull through both stitches (1 stitch on hook).
- First Row: Continue with single crochet stitches to the end of the row.
- Second row: Chain 1 for a turning chain. Turn your work and continue single crochet stitches in the second row. Continue until you have your desired height of crochet fabric. Cut the yarn and fasten off when finished.