By June 14, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

Beginner Crochet: Slip Knot, Chaining, Single Crochet

learn to crochet1

A few years ago I taught myself how to crochet by watching YouTube videos. I learned the basic stitches and crocheted a few simple items. However, I stopped before I learned how to read patterns. I really did enjoy crocheting, so I’m going to refresh myself with the basics and then continue on to learn how to read patterns.  If you think you might like to learn how to crochet, please join me. In this post I’m going to re-teach myself how to tie a slip knot, chain stitch and single crochet.

Follow Lisa Ault ~ Corn Maiden’s board Crochet ~ Beginner Tutorials on Pinterest.
This post describes some of the methods of crochet that I prefer along with some tips that I have learned. However, if you wish to learn how to crochet, this post is meant to be accompanied by the videos on my Pinterest Board. Click where it says “Lisa Ault ~ Corn Maiden” to connect to my Pinterest Board where I’ve put together a group of instructive, beginner tutorials.

I have two crocheting sources that I refer to constantly. One is Michael (Mikey) Sellick’s 24 part video series sponsored by Curtzy Crochet Hooks. You can find these videos on YouTube of on my Pinterest Board. Mikey’s videos are comprehensive, precise, and easy to follow. The other source is the website Crochet Cabana. It’s packed full of tutorial videos, instructive photos, and detail information that I have found nowhere else. There is a link to Crochet Cabana on my Pinterest board.

It did me a lot of good to review Mikey’s Curtzy Lesson #1 and Lesson #2 again. I had forgotten about all the useful information here. Mikey demonstrates how to position yourself comfortably while crocheting. He shows where to place your yarn, how to hold the yarn in your hand, and how to hold the crochet hook. He explains how the size of your crochet hook effects the size of your stitches, and how to read yarn label instructions. These are all things that you should know before actually starting to crochet.

If you watch a few of the videos on my Pinterest Board, you will see that there are different ways to hold the crochet hook and hold the yarn. When I was first learning how to crochet, I watched dozens of videos and tried various methods. I found Mikey’s methods the most comfortable for me, but you should watch the videos and use what works best for you.

holding hook

I like to hold my crochet hook like a knife, although many of the videos show the crochet hook being held like a pencil.

holding yarn

I hold my yarn looped very simply over my fingers.

There are two important tips that Mikey gives in his Curtzy Lesson #2 video. I would have saved myself a lot of aggravation had I clearly understood these points when I was first learning.

hook shank2

 Tip #1. It’s the shank area of the crochet hook that determines the size of your stitches. When I started, I was trying to crochet down at the very tip of the crochet hook. My stitches became really tight. Of course, at the time I thought this was a good thing. … Not! … Your stitches should be loose enough to move up and down the shank of the crochet hook as you crochet.

downward hook

 Tip #2. Rotate the hook downward in order to pull it through a loop or a stitch.  I didn’t get this at all when I started crocheting. I was totally frustrated because my crochet hook was constantly getting caught in the yarn threads as I was trying to create my stitches.

Starting with the basics:

Slip knot. The yarn is fixed to the crochet hook with a slip knot. If you watch some of the videos you realize there are half a dozen ways to create a slip knot. Find one that you are comfortable with.  I use Mikey’s method from Lesson #2.

Slip Knot

Wrap the yarn around your finger twice, pull the back yarn over the front yarn, pull the new back yarn over the front yarn and over your fingertip. Pull on the yarn threads to tighten the knot.

Chain Stitch. Both the Curtzy Lesson #2 video and the Crochet Cabana video show very clearly how to chain. This is simply pulling the yarn through the loop to create a foundation chain. Creating a chain with nice even stitches takes practice. I’ve learned from experience not to make the stitches too tight.

Chainstitch

At first your chain will curl up and you won’t be able to tell the top from the bottom. Just keep looking closely at the videos and the pictures on the websites and eventually things will fall into place.

Single Crochet. Curtzy Lesson #3 and the Crochet Cabana video demonstrate single crochet. I find working the first row of single crochet into the foundation chain the hardest part of crocheting. The videos make it look easy, but believe me, this takes practice. I’ve had to extend the videos to full screen and watch them over and over. I start and stop the videos to see exactly where the hook is being placed into the stitches.  In both of these videos, the single crochet stitch is worked into the bottom loop of the foundation chain. This way you are catching two yarn threads. I prefer this technique over working into the single top loop that catches only one yarn thread.

stitch hole2

When I first taught myself how to crochet, I was single crocheting totally wrong. I was inserting the crochet hook under a single yarn thread instead of two yarn threads. With single crochet there is a little circular opening between the stitches where you want to insert your crochet hook.

stitch top view2

When you insert the hook into this hole, you will have two yarn threads on top of the  crochet hook. This can be seen from a top view of your work.

2loop1loop

The only way I can really keep track of my stitches is to count them as I crochet. Otherwise, I end up either over or short a stitch by the time I get to the end of a row. I can never remember if I’ve added on my chain stitch at the end of my row of single crochet. I discovered a way to tell by looking at how many yarn threads are looped around the last stitch. If there are two yarns, you have ended with a single crochet and need to add your chain stitch. If there is only one yarn, you have already  done your chain stitch and are ready to start your next row of single crochet.

Your first attempts at single crochet will look like a jumble of knotted yarn and you will feel like a total klutz. Keep trying and over time you will improve. Eventually you will develop a rhythm and your stitches will become consistent.

If you want to make a scarf while practicing your single crochet here’s a simple pattern with detail instructions for a beginner from About.com.  Scroll

This covers enough of the basics to get me started back crocheting again. I’m going to practice a bit and then I will be brushing up on how to double and triple crochet. If you’ve decided to take up crocheting with me, I would love to have your comments!  If you are experienced at crochet, I welcome any tips, tricks, or advice.

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The “proper” way to crochet!

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