A guide for complete beginners
Guest writer: amaru.exe#0546
Important note: Terminology used in this article will be in US terms.
Crochet is a fine craft using yarn and a hooked needle. You can make loads of items like plushies, scarves, hats, key-chains, sweaters, slippers, and so much more with crochet, making it a very useful craft for those looking to cosplay or to make their own geeky home decor. It is a similar concept to knitting, but it is (arguably) much easier.
Hook sizes are the size of the actual hooked part of your tool in millimeters. The size can be referred to by a letter, or the actual millimeter size. The size of the hook definitely matters, as well as the bulk of the yarn. If the yarn is too big with a small hook (as can be illustrated in the image below), your crochet piece can end up clunky, which is usually not what you want.
Yarn weights are defined by their bulkiness. It usually varies from size 1 to size 6, from very thin to quite thick. They can also be defined by name such as “lace weight” for size 1, “fingering weight” for size 2, all the way up to “super bulky” for special projects like blankets and thick rugs. Yarn also comes in a variety of fabrics, where wool is the most well-known, but acrylic is generally the most used and easiest to find.
Typically, if you want a uniform piece, you should use bigger yarns with bigger hooks, and vice versa, unless you want your piece to be looser. In this case using a bigger hook with a smaller yarn is fine. Likewise, if you use multiple colors in a project, it’s generally best to use yarns that are made of the same material since different materials will have different textures and sketchiness, which will affect the look of your final product.
For more information about hook and yarn size, you can check out this article by Ashley, “Why Hook Size Matters in Crochet“.
In this tutorial, I use a 3.75 hook with a size 4 “worsted weight” yarn.
Starting a project
Above all else, every project begins with a simple slip-knot. A slip-knot is just a loop made with the yarn that you slip onto you needle as a starting point. With the slip-knot, you can create your first “chain”.
A chain is an individual loop in a project. A project is essentially a series of these “loops” made in patterns using a hook. Creating a chain is probably the most important part of learning how to crochet.
There are many ways to create a slip knot, all of which can likely be found on YouTube. My favorite way to do it, which I find the simplest, is as follows:
- Using your left hand, wrap your yarn twice on your index finger. Hold the tail end between your thumb and middle finger with the second loop on the edge of your index.
- Bring the loop of yarn pinched under your thumb over the second loop.
- Then, bring the second loop that used to be the in the front back over and completely off your finger.
- Now, pinching the loop farthest from the edge of your index, pull the two strands of yarn off of your finger to tighten the loop.
- Remove the loop from your finger and place it on the hook, tightening more if necessary. You don’t want your loop to be too tight or too loose, so try to find the perfect medium.
Now that you have your slip-knot, it’s time to make the first chain.
How to do a single crochet
Now that you’ve essentially completed the foundation for your project, it’s now time to build on it. Once again, you want to hold your project (the series of chains, in this case) between your middle finger and thumb. Your working yarn should still be over your index and held loosely between your middle finger and ring finger.
You now have your first two rows. Flip your project and continue this process for as long as you want your piece to be. This is called “single crochet” because you only pull the hook through one spare chain to make the pattern.
How to do a double crochet
Double crochet is similar to single crochet, only this time, instead of pulling your yarn through two loops, you’ll be pulling it through three!
- Start with a slip-knot and a series of chains just like before. I used 8 chains for this example.
- Wrap the yarn once around your hook.
- Skip the first three chains and insert your hook through the fourth chain.
- Snag your yarn with your hook and pull it through that chain. Now you have three loops on your hook.
- Take another piece of yarn and go through the first two loops. You should now have two loops left.
- Now before you pull through the last loop, you need to snag another piece of yarn (just like a single crochet) and pull through all the loops. You have created your first double crochet stitch.
- Repeat this process in every stitch until the end of the row.
- When you reach the end of your row, flip your work over. Chain three (these three chains are the same as the three chains we skipped when we made the first row).
- Go into the first chain and double crochet in every stitch once again until you meet the end of the row.
You now have your first two rows. Continue this process for as long as you want your piece to be.
Congratulations, you now know how to both single and double crochet! These are by far the two most commonly used crochet techniques for projects. You can alternate between single crochet in one row and double crochet in another, as well as change yarn at any point in a project for a variety of patterns.
For pattern ideas, check out Pinterest, DeviantArt, etc. Try making a simple scarf to practice! Remember to have fun with it and experiment because, after all, this is an art form. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even try this Squirtle amigumuri shown in the banner! It was designed by Evelyn and she has tons of similar crochet patterns on her DeviantArt.
Keep an eye out for future anime/Japanese inspired tutorials to help you along your crocheting journey!