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.


lip balm key chain

My first pattern. Thank God I am writing my pattern for something this simple. Do let me know if any of it is not clear.


I normally carry my keys. And more often than not, my phone – especially if my son is at school or day care. Apart from that, I can’t be sure of anything. Including money. I have my license in the car always so that it is accessible when I am driving. I have a wallet in my office drawer, in the car’s glove compartment, and in my laptop bag. These would have only some money, and not my cards or anything. And I decided that I had to add my lip balm to my always accessible list. And the best way to do it was adding to my set of keys. I did it and here it is, the pattern. And for free!

I used embroidery floss and 1.6mm crochet hook.

Row 1: Magic loop with 12 double crochets in it. If you find it difficult to do a magic loop, you can make a small loop with 4 chain and 1 slip stitch

The resulting circle was as big as the base of my lip balm. If it is not for you, you might need to add a row of single crochet stitches. If it was too big for you, you may need to use single crochet instead of the double crochet. If you need to add more rows, make sure you increase by six stitches per row added at regular intervals. To maintain a flat circle, you should add six stitches per row.

Row 2:
ch 1, Single crochet in each of the stitches

Row 3: (optional – actually, looks better without this row)
ch 2, (ch 1, dc)* ch 1, join

Row 4 – until required length
(ch 4, slip stitch into gap between stitches)*
If you skipped row 3, please use the alternate gaps the first row.
Note: I did not join at the end of the row, just kept going in spirals.

It may look loose if you try to put your lip balm in now. Don’t worry.

Row n:
(ch 2, slip stitch into gap between stitches)* Join when you have done a full circle.

Row n+1:
(dc, dc, ch 1)* join. Instead of the first dc, use ch 2.
If you look at my lip balm, the top and bottom are not exactly symmetrical. For a more symmetrical look, I would suggest
ch 2, (ch 1, dc)* ch 1, join

At the end of this row, it should be a perfect fit for your lip balm again.

Row n+2, n+3

Now to make the strap. I didn’t cut it off at the end of the previous row, just kept continuing.

ch* until you reach half the desired length, ch 6, sl st into 7th stitch from hook, ch* until you reach the same length as the first half.

single stitch into each of the stitches except the loop formed.

join with the lip balm case at the diametrically opposite point, cut, hide the ends

And, you are done. Now this doesn’t look like an exact pattern, I know. But I hope this will be enough to let you make it, though.

I used one whole embroidery floss to make this.

DSC00652 DSC00651

Crochet-Do-Not-Miss list

I am still working on my vest. It will take some time since I am not that very fast at crochet, and I am really busy with my work, home and kid. While that is going on, I thought I will post some links to crochet projects that I really like, and hope to attempt sometime soon. This is my must do list 🙂

Purse 1:

For this one, I only have an image. I do not have a pattern. But it looks pretty straightforward. chain,slip stitch, chain, slip stitch, … until you get to the required length and width. When I get around to actually making it, I will post the pattern. And, don’t forget to line it!

Should be pretty quick to make. Even for someone who is as slow as I am.

Purse 2:

Doesn’t it look pretty impressive? Here is the pattern.

Purse handles:

Google tells me this page is in Portuguese. But then, the pictures are enough to let me know how to do it.



This is so good! I am definitely making this one too!

my current obsession – this vest

This is my current project. I am trying to make that one in white.

Now, I can’t do anything the way a pattern says I should. I have made modifications: Instead of alternate rows of single crochet and single crochet with gaps (use chain stitch instead of single crochet alternately), I am doing it all in single crochet. Also, I would like it to be longer, and am planning to get the part below the armhole, above the ribbing to be longer to do it.

Will post a picture once I am done. I am still not an expert at crochet. Actually, I am pretty slow. It is going at a snail’s pace, for now.  Hope I get it done in time for next lot of cold days. Actually, I have a plus. My office air conditioner is so pathetic that I can wear this one  any day 🙂

Full pattern here. I will add my modified pattern once I am done…