How to crochet your first stitches
As I mentioned in the previous tutorial, we will start with how to crochet your first stitches in rows. The hardest part is to make sure the sides are straight. But if you follow this tutorial step by step, it will be like a walk in the park.
Now that you’ve got all your material and you know everything about the terms you are ready to learn how to crochet your first stitches. So grab that crochet hook and yarn and let’s get started!
1. How to hold your crochet hook
The first step we should talk about is how to hold your crochet hook and your yarn. There are so many different ways to do so, and the important thing is for you to be comfortable. It might be challenging to find the right grip at first, but with practice your hand will just adjust to a comfortable position.
The most common techniques are:
The Knife grip
The Pencil grip
No matter which one you choose, and if you are right-handed, you will always be holding your crochet in the right hand. In your left hand, you will be holding your work and the yarn from the skein (working yarn) should be loosely wrapped around a few fingers and passing over your left index. See the picture below.
2. Chain stitch and Foundation chain
The chain stitch is the most basic stitch that any crochet beginner should know. It is used throughout a pattern, combined with other stitches, to create beautiful designs. But most importantly, the chain stitch is essential to all projects crocheted in rows. Those crochet projects start with what we call a Foundation Chain, made of several chain stitches. This will be the base of your work!
As shown in the picture above, to do a foundation chain, start with a slip knot on your hook, holding it in your right hand. Don’t forget to let the work yarn flow over your left index and carefully follow these steps:
1. With your left thumb and middle finger hold the base of the slip knot. With your hook, grab the working yarn so that it goes over the hook (yarn over).
2. Slightly rotate your hook counterclockwise and then pull the working yarn you grabbed through the slip knot.
3. You have made your first chain stitch! Repeat these 2 steps as many times as needed in the pattern.
Your left index finger is here to allow you to regulate the tension. You should be able to maintain a regular tension or else your stitches will not be even. Once you’ve got a smooth foundation chain you can start with the single crochet.
One last use of the chain stitch is what we call the Turning chain. In the last tutorial, I talked about having to turn your work at the end of each row as we only crochet from right to left. When turning your work, you will have to chain one or more stitches to raise the height of your next row. We will learn more about that with each of the next basic stitches.
3. Single crochet (sc)
Now that your foundation chain is done and even, we are going to learn how to do a single crochet. It is the easiest crochet stitch and you will find it in almost all crochet patterns. Once you’ve mastered how to single crochet, the following stitches will be easy to learn.
The first row is worked in the foundation chain. To level the first row, you should skip the first chain from your hook. You then insert your hook, from front to back, in the little bump behind the second stitch (shown in the picture below) from your hook. You will end up with 1 strand of yarn on top of your hook and 2 on the bottom.
For the purpose of this tutorial, I won’t be working the single crochets in the foundation chain. I have crocheted a few rounds of single crochet first. It is the same steps for both. The one difference is that when starting a row you chain 1 first.
1. Ch 1 and insert your crochet in the first stitch.
2. Yarn Over (yo) and slightly rotate you hook.
3. Pull the working yarn through the stitch. You should now have 2 loops on your hook.
4. Yarn over and slightly rotate you hook
5. Pull the working yarn through both loops.
Your first single crochet is complete! All need to do is repeat the previous steps in the next chain stitch.
If you are a beginner, this part is going to be an absolute challenge. Working the first row of stitches is not easy, as you do not have much to hold on. Don’t give up!!! Practice and a little patience is all you need!
To continue on building new rows you will need to rotate your work counterclockwise. The last stitch that you have made will become the first stitch on the left of your hook. Don’t forget to chain one stitch to level the new row!
Once this is done you can start the second row of single crochet. When you’ve had enough practice and you are ready, you can skip to the next basic stitch: the half double crochet.
4. The Half double crochet (hdc)
The half double crochet stitch is one of the basic stitches you need to learn how to crochet. It is slightly taller than the single crochet and requires one additional step.
If you are working your row of half double crochet on a foundation chain then you should skip 2 chain and start on the third one. When starting a row your turning chain should be made of 2 stitches.
So let’s start that half double crochet.
1. Ch2 and yarn over before inserting your crochet hook into the stitch.
2. Insert your crochet and yo again.
3. Pull the working yarn through the stitch. You now have 3 loops on your hook.
4. Yarn over one last time and pull through the 3 loops. Ending with only one loop on your hook.
You’ve crocheted your first half double crochet! Repeat these step along the entire row.
5. Double crochet (dc)
The double crochet is an essential stitch, very useful to create various crochet patterns and more complex stitches. As the name suggest, it is taller than the previous 2 stitches and needs an extra step to be completed. So let’s see how it’s done.
If you are working your row of double crochet on a foundation chain then you should skip 3 chain and start on the forth one. When starting a row, most patterns will require you to chain 3 that will count as your first stitch and start your first dc in the second stitch. I prefer to chain 2 and work my dc in the first stitch.
1. Yarn over before inserting your crochet hook into the next stitch.
2. Yarn over again and pull the working yarn through the stitch. You now have 3 loops on your hook.
3. Yarn over a third time and pull through only 2 loops. You should have 2 loops left on your hook.
4. Yarn over one last time and pull through the 2 loops. Ending with only one loop on your hook.
If you repeat those steps along the row you will have completed your first double crochet row.
An that’s it! You just learned the basic crochet stitches. With so many combinations available you will be able to create beautiful items. Before you jump to your first project, you should take a look at how to make the finishes touches to a project.
6. Finishing touches: Fasten off and weave in the ends
When working on a crochet pattern you will often come across terms like “fasten off and weave in the end”. For your project to be amazing, you will have to learn about some finishing techniques. This part is crucial! We will go over some more detailed and advanced finishing techniques in a later tutorial, but for now you should at least know about weaving in your ends.
Once your project is done you will first want to fasten off your yarn. When you’ve done you last stitch, pull the loop on your hook for it to be about 10 cm high and cut like shown in the picture.
To weave in your ends, you will often need to thread your loose end to your tapestry needle and work on the wrong side of your work (ws). There are 3 ways to proceed:
The whip stitch: On the back side of your work, you go in at the bottom of every stitch and out the top. In the picture, I did it with a different color to see how it’s done.
Weave through stitches: Run the needle at the bottom of a few consecutive stitches. Then run the needle vertically through a stitches and thread horizontally in the opposite direction.
Weaving in while crocheting: This technique is easier and faster in my opinion but we will get to it later.
With all this information we have covered how to crochet your first stitches. Your now ready for your first crochet project. I have put together a free pattern for you to practice all the crochet basic stitches that you just learned. Get ready to crochet a beautiful baby ear warmer!