Learn how to single crochet with this easy tutorial. Single crochet is the most basic of all stitches when crocheting. It is a compact stitch that creates a dense, tight fabric. Learning how to crochet this stitch is a good foundation for any beginner to crochet as all the other crochet stitches are a variation of single crochet.
Single Crochet Stitch
What is Single Crochet - US Versus UK
With all crochet stitches, the terminology used is different, depending on which country the pattern originates from. The stitch which is called double crochet in the UK is the same as the stitch which is called single crochet in the US. The term ‘Single Crochet’ is not used at all in the UK!
|United States (US)||United Kingdom (UK)|
|single crochet (sc)||double crochet (dc)|
Single Crochet Abbreviation
When reading a crochet pattern, single crochet is written as sc. If you are working from a crochet diagram, single crochet is shown as x or +
How to Single Crochet - Supplies
Basically just a hook and yarn.
- HOOK - Use the recommended hook for your yarn thickness, which is usually printed on the yarn band which is wrapped around your skein. Read more about crochet hook sizes.
- YARN - If you are using scraps to practice on, use a lightweight yarn (Double Knit) and a G/6 to H/8 (4-5 mm) hook. Read more about types of yarn.
- SCISSORS - It is also useful to have a pair of scissors and a tape measure handy, once you start working on specific items.
- EXTRAS - Stitch markers are also useful, but not essential accessories.
How to Single Crochet - for Beginners
Single crochet is used in numerous patterns. Everything from stuffed toys to complicated sweater patterns will probably have some single crochet somewhere in the pattern!
TIP: When crocheting, try to keep the yarn tight with your non-dominant hand, to keep the gauge of your work even.
Step 1 - Foundation Chain
Before you can start with this basic stitch, you need to be able to crochet a foundation chain. To start the foundation chain, you need to make a slip knot.
- Make a loop with your yarn and hook another loop through it.
- Tighten gently and slide the knot up to the hook.
Please note that in all photos these stitches are much looser than yours should be. I have made them like this so that you can see how each stitch is constructed.
Written on patterns as ch. Shown on crochet diagrams as
- Start with a slip knot.
- Wrap the yarn from back to front over your crochet hook. This is known as ‘Yarn Over’
- Pull the yarn through the loop on your hook to form a new loop. Try not to tighten the previous loop while doing this.
- Repeat to form as many loops or chain stitches as required. For example, if your pattern says ch 30, you must have 30 loops or stitches. Do not count your original slip knot as a chain stitch.
- Do not make this foundation chain too tight, as you will need to be able to push your crochet hook through each loop when making your single crochet stitches.
Step 2 - Insert
Now you have the foundation chain, it is time to do the actual single crochet stitch.
Insert the hook into the second chain from the hook.
Step 3 - Yarn Over and Pull
Wrap the yarn over the hook from back to front, and pull through the first loop. You will have 2 loops on your hook.
Step 4 - Yarn Over Again and Pull
Wrap the yarn over again and pull it through both loops on the hook. You are left with one loop on the hook.
Well done! You’ve made your first single crochet stitch. Continue repeating steps 2 to 4 into each chain stitch.
Step 5 - Next Row (Turning)
When you reach the end of your first foundation row of chain stitches, it’s time to turn to continue with the next row.
Turn your work around so that the wrong side is facing you, and your last loop is now on your right.
Chain 1 to make a turning chain. This is called the turning chain because it allows you to turn your work around and it gets your hook up to the level of the single crochet stitches which will follow. This ensures that your work lies in a straight line and doesn’t have dips and bumps at the beginning of rows. With single crochet you always use a single turning chain.
Now insert the hook under both loops at the top of the last stitch in the previous row. It will be the stitch below your one chain. Create a single crochet into that stitch.
- Wrap the yarn over and pull up a loop.
- Yarn over again, and pull through 2 loops.
This is the first stitch of your second row. Repeat these steps into the top of every stitch from the previous row.
Continue in this way until you have made your crochet piece as long as you need it to be.
Do not work into your turning chain, because if you do, you will in effect be increasing a stitch in every row, and your square will get wider and wider , and turn into a rhombus!
How to Single Crochet - Sizing
Single crochet stitches are generally the same width as height. So for example a piece of single crochet 10 stitches wide should also be 10 rows long to make a square. If this is not working out for you, try changing the size of your hook.
- Larger hook = looser gauge = larger fabric.
- Smaller hook = tighter gauge = smaller fabric.
How to Single Crochet In The Round
If you wish to make anything with a circular shape rather than squares or rectangles, you need to work ‘in the round’. This basically means to crochet in circles.
To do this, instead of turning at the end of a row, you keep working in a spiral or a circle, without turning your work.
How to Single Crochet rounds Using a Slip Stitch
If you prefer to work in an actual circle, rather than a spiral, you can join your last stitch to the first one of that circle with a slip stitch. Stitch markers come in handy here to mark where your first stitch was.
When joining rounds with a slip stitch you may get a noticeable seam, but this can be helpful when counting rows.
This stitch is not used on its own to create a fabric. It is simply used to join stitches or for shaping. A slip stitch is written as sl st in patterns and drawn as an ellipse in crochet diagrams.
Step 1 - How To Make A Slip Stitch
Chain stitch to your desired length.
Insert hook into your first chain, making a circle of chain stitches. Your foundation chain in this case is a ring, rather than a straight line.
Yarn over, draw loop through first chain and last chain at the same time, all in one move. You circle will now be joined.
Step 2 - Increasing to Form a Flat Circle
When you are working in rounds, if you keep the same number of stitches all the time, you will form a tube shape rather than a flat circle. If you want a flat circle, you will need to increase every few stitches to increase the area of your fabric.
Here is the formula for how often to increase:
With single crochet, you start with 6 chain stitches. Join with a slip stitch.
- Round 1- Crochet one single crochet into each chain.
- Round 2- Increase into every stitch. (You now have 12 stitches)
- Round 3- Have 1 single crochet in between each increase. So 1 single crochet, 1 increase stitch, 1 single crochet, 1 increase, and so on.
- Round 4- Two single crochets in between each increase.
- Round 5- Three single crochets in between each increase.
And so on. In this way, you could just keep going, and make yourself a large round tablecloth!
If you are making something circular, but not flat, for example, a hat, you would start with the flat circle for the top of the hat, then stop increasing when it is wide enough. Continue crocheting in rounds, keeping the same number of stitches, to get the tubular part of the crown of the hat.
That’s all very well, you may say, but how on earth do I actually do all this increasing?
How To Increase In Single Crochet
You simply work more than one single crochet stitch into the stitch, space, or chain in the row below. Easy!
I have used contrasting colors in these photos for clarity. You can see the two stitches inserted into one space here.
How To Decrease In Single Crochet
Here you will be working a single crochet stitch over more than one stitch, space or chain.
Method 1- Simplest
You simply skip one stitch and work your next stitch into the following stitch, space, or chain. This can, however, leave you with visible openings in your crochet.
Method 2 - Popular
- Insert your hook under both loops at the top of the stitch in the previous row.
- Yarn over, and pull up a loop. (2 loops on hook.)
- Insert hook under both loops of next stitch in the row, draw up a loop. (3 loops on hook.)
- Yarn over again and pull through all 3 loops. You have now created 1 stitch where there were 2 on the row before.
Method 3 - Invisible Decrease
- Insert the hook under the front loop only of the stitch in the previous row.
- Insert the hook under the front loop only of the NEXT stitch in the previous row.
- Yarn over and draw through 2 loops.
- Yarn over and draw through the last two loops.
What Can I Make with Single Crochet?
Pretty much anything that you can make with a crochet fabric!
If you like to crochet back and forth in rows, you can make facecloths, dishcloths, headbands, table runners, place mats and blankets. Once you master the increasing and decreasing, you can make backpacks, baby clothing, and sweaters.
If you enjoy crocheting in the round, you can make hats, mittens, round coasters/mug rugs, or placemats. You can create tiny rounds from soft cotton yarn and make eco-friendly, re-useable makeup remover pads. This makes a lovely gift if you make up a few rounds and pack them into a pretty box.
If you feel the single crochet is too simple, mix it up a bit and use fancy yarns, like a chenille yarn, or just change colors every few rows and make stripes!
How to Single Crochet - In Conclusion
Give yourself some time to experiment and practice single crochet stitches before you rush to move on to the cornucopia of wonderful stitches that are available. By doing this, you are giving yourself a good grounding and developing a muscle memory that will enable you to pick up new stitches with ease. Enjoy working with your new knowledge of how to single crochet stitches!