Have you been wanting to crochet? Not everyone has someone in their life who can teach them to crochet. Some of us have incredibly busy lives so formal crochet lessons are difficult, or would need to happen at odd hours of the night. If you don’t have a crocheter in your life, or your life doesn’t allow for crochet lessons right now, then my Crochet Basics series is for you! In this series, I will walk through the basics of crochet: slip knots, chains, single crochet, half double crochet, and double crochet. Learning and mastering these stitches will give you the foundations you need to make a world of beautiful yarn creations!
Knitting and crochet were two things I desperately wanted to learn growing up. My mother had knit a pair of mittens during junior high, but she hadn’t knit since then. Neither of my grandmothers had learned to knit or crochet. My great grandmother who was still alive at the time could no longer see, so sharing her sewing, knitting, and crochet skills were not a possibility. One of my great grandmothers had been an avid knitter and crocheter, but I had been too busy chasing her child-hating cat to learn. Although with how much we chased that cat, I don’t blame it for hating us!
In my middle school years, I finally learned to knit from a wonderful woman from my church. When I spent a summer as the craft intern at my favorite camp, the craft director taught me to crochet. Since then, I’ve been hooked!
One of the foundations of crochet (and knitting) is the slip knot, so this is where we will begin our Crochet Basics series!
The Slip Knot
The slip knot is how I begin almost every crochet project. After grabbing my yarn and hook it is the first thing I do. No matter how many chains, rows, or rounds in a project, the slip knot is where those projects start. Before you can chain, you need to start your chain, and a slip knot is one of the easiest ways to do that.
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To begin, you will need two things:
I will be using a size P (11.5 mm) hook and chunky yarn for this tutorial. I often find that larger hooks make for easier visibility and teaching. However, I have linked yarn and crochet hook that are the sizes I typically recommend for my patterns. Use whatever yarn and hook you like, you are the one learning!
An important note: I am left-handed. The slip knot is neither right nor left handed. But if you are right-handed, you will hold the crochet hook in your other hand. Just mentally flip the last picture if you are right-handed. For future tutorials, I plan to have both right and left-handed posts/pictures whenever possible.
To begin, take a length of yarn and create a loop. Have the tail loop on top of the yarn loop. A good visual is to make a fish shape. Try to leave a tail longer than I did in this picture.
Next, loop the tail behind the circle so that you split the loop in half. If you need to adjust your loop so you have extra yarn, do so now.
Once you have split your circle, grab the yarn in the middle and begin to pull it through the loop.
Hold the tail and the yarn that is connected to the ball of yarn while pulling the yarn through the circle. It will look a little like a rocket ship flying through a hoop.
Keep pulling to close the knot. Be sure to hold the working yarn and tail in one hand and the loop in the other. You will notice that pulling on one end of the loop tightens it, while the other is connected to the tail and will not close the loop. The goal here is to close the loop into a knot.
Pull the loop so that the knot is closed. The loop will be much larger than your crochet hook, but that is okay. Your slip knot should look something like this.
Insert your crochet hook into the loop. You will now tighten the loop so it is the correct size to begin your work. While holding the crochet hook with the loop on it, pull the tail to shorten the loop. Leave a little room so that it moves freely on the hook, but not so much room so that it will fly off. Try not to make it too snug either, as you will want room to work your first chain into this loop.
There you have it! You’ve just made your first slip knot and are ready to crochet your first chain! You’ve mastered the first crochet basic! The next post in this series will cover crocheting a chain. Practice your slip knots and I’ll see you in the next post!