How to Crochet
I started crocheting as an adult, just seven years ago, and when I was trying to learn I just could not keep a straight face! I keep laughing at the awkwardness of my movements, the irregularity of my stitches and the lopsidedness of the hats I was trying to make! A fourteen year old was trying to teach me and I think she was trying not to laugh herself. It was fun and frustrating and I think it was also really good for my brain. How often do we try to learn something new? Seems we do a lot of that as children and then we stick to what we know. Dont miss out! Give crochet a try and be patient with it if you feel frustrated. In time you will relax, your hands will develop muscle memory and make the repetitive movements without you thinking about it, and your stitches will become even and predictable.When you are starting out its best to plan on doing a lot of practice. Pick a medium weight yarn (cat 4 or worsted weight) and medium sized hook (an H I or J) to play with. I would recommend yards and yards of chain stitches, which you can pull out and remake, and inches of single crochet rows. I wouldnt recommend picking out a pattern and starting there. However, if you are like I am, in that you arent very fond of pure practice and instead need something to show for all the work, then think washcloths. Washcloths are a perfect practice project. You can work on the basic techniques well review and end up with something for scrubbing dishes, or exfoliating your face. Cotton crochet washcloths are fantastic, a bit of a luxury actually, but they dont need to be a specific size, gauge or perfectly square. The ideal way to learn this craft is to sit down with someone who can teach you. The next best way to learn is to study videos and illustrations and try to imitate what you are seeing. There are some amazing video tutorials out there and it seems most crochet books and magazines include a good how-to section. I will illustrate a few things here, but to avoid having this installment go on and on, Im going to point you towards more in-depth help. For starters, here is a great video tutorial from Red Heart that starts with a slip knot and walks you through the five basic stitches of crochet.
The Slip KnotThis is the way you secure your yarn to your hook to begin work. It also keeps the work youre about to do from unraveling, which is important. There are a number of ways of fashioning the slip knot, its the same for knitting and crochet, and you will find the method that works best for you. I like to make a loop with the yarn in my right hand by lifting it with two fingers and twisting my fingers so the ends cross, then reaching through the loop Ive got around my fingers to pinch one of the ends of the yarn and pull it through forming something like a noose. This video shows how. You can do the same thing with a crochet hook, shown here. You will place your crochet hook in the loop, or knot, youve formed and then pull the ends to tighten. You will form a slip knot over your hook to begin anything in crochet, and you will also use it when attaching a new skein of yarn in the middle of a project.
Holding The YarnIf you are right handed, you will be holding the working yarn (as opposed to the short tail opposite) in your left hand, letting it pass through your fingers smoothly as you yarn over and pull it through the loops forming your stitches. Here are some illustrations for how to wrap the yarn around your fingers to control the tension, which will affect the gauge of your work. When you are beginning this craft the exact way you hold the yarn isnt as crucial as getting comfortable with the actions; you will eventually find the way that works best for you.
The Chain StitchThe chain stitch (abbreviated "ch") is the foundation all other stitches build on. At the beginning of every project you will form a chain of a specific length. The chain will either remain linear or be joined to form a loop for working in the round (something well discuss in a couple weeks). It is simple to do and the hooking, turning and pulling-through actions you make are the fundamental movements of crochet. So practicing chain stitches is good exercise! Working with your slip knot around the neck of your hook, you bring the working yarn to the back of the hook, hook it or yarn over, and pull the yarn through the working loop on your hook. One chain completed! Click here for step by step photos. Before moving on to the crochet stitches, we need to talk about where you work into the chain stitch. It can be done a couple ways. When you are working into crochet stitches typically you insert your hook through both sides of the v formed at the top of the stitch. However, to create a specific pattern you will sometimes work into either the front loop or the back loop of this stitch. When you are working into a chain stitch youll have less to work with. You can insert your hook through one loop (I usually work into the back or top loop of the v, which is marked with the red pin in the photo below) or two (which is a bit more difficult). The important thing is to do it consistently.
Single CrochetThe great thing about crochet is that every stitch you make is based on the same actions you did when forming a chain stitch. so if you are feeling comfortable with the chain stitch you are most of the way there! Truly! The rest is just a matter of keeping track of the number of times you "yarn over" and pull the yarn through the working loop (or loops). The single crochet stitch (abbreviated sc) is worked by inserting your hook into your chain stitch, yarning over (by hooking the working yarn) and pulling it through, creating two loops on your hook, yarning over again and pulling it through both loops. Youve just completed one single crochet. To work some more, insert your hook into the next chain stitch and repeat. You can find step by step illustrations here.
Turning ChainWhen you come to the end of a row you are crocheting you typically turn your work and crochet back the opposite direction. As you turn, a turning chain lifts your first stitch so that the ends of the rows dont start to get squished. A turning chain is simply a chain stitch that you work at the end of the row before turning. The number of chain stitches varies depending on the type of crochet stitch (single, double, half-double, or triple) you are working. A pattern will usually specify chain 1 (abbreviated ch1) or chain 2 (ch2) or whatever number is appropriate. It is typical to make a 1-chain turning chain when working single crochet.
Fastening OffWhen you finish your work then comes the finishing! Knitting is bound off to finish it and keep it from unraveling. Its a fun knit-like or purl-like action involving lifting and sliding off stitches. With crochet its simpler than that. You simply cut your working yarn a few inches long (enough to weave in easily), hook it, and pull it through you last loop. Remove your hook and pull the end of the yarn a bit to cinch. Youre essentially forming a knot at the end.
Weaving InAfter fastening off you will have a tail of yarn hanging from the end of your work and one at the beginning where you formed your slip knot. You may have more yarn dangling in the middle of the work too if you joined a new skein or color of yarn. Weaving in these ends with a tapestry needle (a large needle with a more blunt point and large eye) will hide them in the work for a neater finish than knotting and clipping. Here is a great video illustrating the technique. Sashay yarn. See my tutorial for that below and stay tuned for next weeks installment, which will cover more stitches: double crochet, half double crochet and triple crochet.
How to Crochet with the New Sashay Yarn
This is such a pretty lightweight scarf. I love all the ruffles. It's the perfect accessory thrown over a t-shirt in warmer months or worn with a jacket when its cooler. It is really simple to make too!Materials: 1 skein Red Heart Sashay yarn J crochet hook Needle and thread for finishing This specialty yarn creates ruffles with very little work. If you are comfortable making chain stitches and single crochet stitches you can use them to quickly create a scarf, just be aware that youll work with the yarn a bit differently. With a specialty yarn such as this your work is less about the look of the stitchesit is about using crochet to gather the yarn, forming ruffles, and securing them so they maintain their ruffled shape.
Youll notice that this unique yarn looks like ribbon on the skein but is actually constructed similar to webbing. Before beginning take a good length of yarn off the skein and spread it out from the end about four inches. Youll leave this tail for hand stitching down to your work later (a unique way of finishing rather than weaving in your ends). Place the part of the yarn with the metallic thread at the bottom and identify the first row of holes or loops across the top. This is where youll be working. Insert your hook in one of these holes about four inches from the end. This simple action takes the place of creating a slip knot.
Now youll skip the next hole/loop and insert your hook in the hole after that.
Pull this loop through the initial loop on your hook. You have just completed one chain stitch.
*Skip the next hole and insert your hook in the hole after that. Pull this loop through the loop on your hook.**
Repeat from * to ** until your work measures 80.
Turn. You are going to work in single crochet on the opposite side, creating another set of ruffles. Keep the ruffles hanging down out of the way of your work.
To work your first single crochet insert your hook back into the first hole at the top of your work. (Its difficult to see these little holes. They are at the top and you can see that the threads are more twisted than the ones below. The important thing is to work consistently to create the ruffles and dont worry too much about it as your actual stitches wont be visible.).
As you are hooking the working yarn continue skipping holes as you did with the beginning chain.
Repeat single crochet stitches until you reach the end of the chain and the beginning tail. Cut the yarn creating another 4 tail. Place a stitch holder or safety pin in the loop left on your hook so it doesnt slip off and begin to unravel.
Lay the yarn ends on top of each other and knot them together with needle and thread in one of the holes close to the raw edge.
Now weave the thread through holes along this raw edge and cinch the thread to gather a bit.
Take the thread and insert it through the last loop of your work, removing the safety pin/stitcholder. Make a few stitches securing the raw edges to the end of your work. Tie off off your thread and you are finished! Throw it around your neck and enjoy the light weight ruffles!
Step 1: How To Crochet: Introduction to this Fabulous Craft Step 2: Basic Crochet Stitches and a Ruffled Scarf Pattern
Anneliese shares her creative, authentic, and inspiring creations at Aesthetic Nest. She is driven to beautify the space around her, and has a knack for creating gorgeous, original items that enhance her space. At Aesthetic Nest, you'll find a creative journal where Anneliese showcases things she makes including sewing, knitting, crochet, cooking, painting (not often enough), room decorating, and party designing.
?I'm so honored that Coats & Clark ~ Red Heart Yarn is sponsoring this post as well as the Sashay Yarn giveaway. If you would like more information about the Sashay yarn, check out this video Learn how to knit With Sashay from Red Heart Yarns.