Learning to Crochet

I want to teach a friend to crochet. The thing is, we are continents apart, she doesn’t know me – I have been following her blog for a long time, and feel like I know her. But she knows next to nothing about me. For this reason, skype may not be an option. So I come back to the one medium where I can write without giving out details about myself, and she can view without giving out too many details about herself. Sarah, this is for you…

I find crochet really soothing. I hope you love it too.

The learning curve of crochet isn’t very bad. I have tried knitting – it takes forever to make something by knitting (at least for me), tatting – that took a lot to learn, and several other needlework. I don’t want to get into a crochet vs knitting or any such war, but for me, the first choice is crochet.

I learnt crochet from photos and videos off the internet. You can do it too…

To start with, you need a yarn and crochet hook. I would suggest the yarn for 4mm to 4.5mm hook. It doesn’t really matter which size you pick, just make sure that the yarn and hook match in size (or the hook is slightly bigger than the yarn). I learnt on a 1.6mm hook, and it was fine. You can pick any cheap yarn, including acrylic. to learn. Just make sure that the yarn is slightly on the denser side so that you don’t accidentally put the hook through the yarn very often.

Here is a page on how to hold your crochet hook. I just found out that I am a “knife-gripper” 🙂  In my opinion you don’t have to worry about that right now. Just try to make the stitches, and your hand will find the most comfortable hold for you.

First, you need to make a slip knot. You might already know that a crocheted item is made by continuously making new loops and pulling it through existing loops (so that these existing loops don’t unravel). At any point of time, your hook should have one loop on it – There are exceptions, but once you are able to make things with one loop on your hook, you can do the rest easily.

Here is a link with photos on how to make a slip knot. I just went through it, it looks pretty complicated. Do not despair. There are easier techniques. I make a slip knot with my hand and put my hook through it. A slip knot, once made, should look like this. It won’t be that big when you make it with yarn. This link will show you how to make it with your hand.

Once your slip knot is ready, all you have to do is make a loop with the longer end of your yarn, and pull it through the loop. That will be your first chain stitch. If you pull the shorter edge, it will tighten. For your second slip stitch, make a loop with the yarn, and pull it through the first chain stitch. And so on. Using a crochet hook will make it easier to do it. This page has pictures depicting how to do it.

I was able to learn the chain stitch fairly easily. in my opinion, it shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes. Even if it does, do not despair. Master this, and one more stitch, and you have learnt to crochet. All other stitches are just minor modifications of these, you can make any crocheted item!

Now that you know how to do the chain stitch, we go on to single crochet. This page has  step by step pictures. It will also answer questions on where to insert the hook, etc. Basically, you will start off with one loop on your hook. You have to insert your hook into the already crocheted piece (for you, the chain stitch), and pull the yarn through it. Now you have two loops on your hook. You then pull the yarn through both these loops. Voila! you’re done!

For the more complicated stitches, say, the double crochet, or treble crochet stitches, you just loop the yarn once (or twice for treble crochet) on the crochet hook before you insert it into the already crocheted piece. Remember to pull the yarn through only two loops on the crochet hook at a time until the number of loops on the hook finally comes to one. For example, if you are doing treble crochet, you start off with one loop on your hook. You then take the yarn and loop it twice on your hook (This is called ‘yarn over’ in crochet terminology). You have 3 loops on your hook now. You then insert it through the crocheted piece, and make an additional loop on your hook. You now have 4 loops on your hook. You pull the yarn through 2 of them, making a new loop, and losing two of the older ones. You are now left with 3 loops on your hook. Pull the yarn through 2 of them, leaving 2 on your hook. Do it once more, and you are left with only one loop on your hook. And your treble crochet is complete.

This page has the links to many other crochet stitches as well. But once you have mastered the single crochet stitch, they should all come pretty easily since they are all minor extensions.

In my next post (in a day or two), I will link to some beginner crochet projects. By then, make sure you know all these stitches.