Basic crochet instructions
To start enjoying the easy, relaxing and creative craft of crochet You will need to know some basics first:
Once you've mastered these simple techniques, you are ready to learn the wonderful world of crochet and the vast but simple variety of ways to make crochet stitches and fabrics
For the beginner the best yarn to use is a smooth acrylic yarn. Avoid anything fancy or fluffy to start with because fancy yarns can often make it difficult to see where to insert your hook. Also, cotton yarns don't have much stretch which can make it a little difficult for the beginner to use. Wool yarns, though lovely can be very expensive. they are also heavier meaning you don't get as much for your money as yarn is usually sold by weight. So stick to plain acrylic to start with and avoid anything fancy
The thickness of a yarn is also referred to sometimes as the yarn weight. four ply, Double knitting (DK), Aran or chunky weight yarns are the most common thicknesses to use and are the easiest to work with. These are UK yarn weights. I am not very familiar with the yarns weights of other countries, so for reference, read the ball band to see what size hook is recommended.
As a guide, any yarn that recommends a size 4 to 5mm (metric) or size 8 or 7 (Old UK sizing) should be just about right for a beginner. In fact, I usually ignore what the ball band recommends for crochet hooks and look at the knitting needle recommendation and use one size up for the hook size. So if say 3.5 and 4mm needles are recommended (They nearly always give 2 sizes as the samller size is used for the welt/rib) I would use a 4.5mm hook for that yarn
Confused about the different yarn thicknesses? Don't worry, most of us are due to the differences in terminology in the UK, US and other countries. Don't fret about it just at the moment. You won't need to sort that out until you have a pattern you want to follow to make a crochet item and there are plenty of yarn conversion tables on the web.
The instructions are written for right handed people. If you are left handed it will be much easier for you to learn this way, especially when it comes to using a crochet pattern. However, if you are struggling and want to do things the other way round, just swap left for right as you follow the instructions.
So let's get going!
With your ball of yarn to your left hand side, take hold of the yarn in your right hand a quite a few inches from the end and in your left hand a few inches nearer the ball. Cross the yarn right over left to make a loop.
Next make another loop on the right (nearer the end of the yarn) and insert it under and then through the first loop.
Tighten the first loop by pulling on the yarn in your left hand.
Place the remaining loop onto your hook and tighten again by pulling with your right hand. Don’t pull too tight because you are going to have to pull your hook through this loop when you start crocheting.
Clear as mud? maybe this video will help
Once you have your slip knot on the hook you are ready to make a length of chain stitch. However you must first learn how to hold the hook and yarn. It is vital to get this right if you want your work to be neat and even and if you want to learn to work quickly. There are many methods of doing this, but I find this method the easiest.
Hold the hook in your right hand between your thumb and first two fingers and let it rest at the base of your thumb where it joins the hand - like most people would hold a pen ready to write.
Next wind the yarn around the fingers of your left hand as shown in the series of photographs above.
Then turn your left hand over and grip the base of the loop on your hook between the finger and thumb of your left hand.
Now you are ready to make a chain stitch
Use the middle finger of your left hand to hold the yarn taught. Remember to keep hold of the knot at the base of the slip stitch loop between your forefinger and thumb otherwise the loop will tighten as you try to pull the hook through.
Pass the crochet hook over and then under the yarn to hook it and pull it through the loop that is already on the hook.
That's it! Simple. Just keep on hooking the yarn through until you have the right amount of chain stitches.
You have learned the very basics of crochet. Now you can Go back to the Beginner Crochet page for more basic crochet instructions to learn a few simple stitches and get going on a simple project. In fact, there are instructions to make a kiddy wristband on this page which uses only chain stitch.
Or try this impressive beaded bracelet.
And This blog has some ingenious ways of using nothing but chain stitch to make various items - that should keep you busy practising.
Any questions - contact me, Shirley, via our contact page
And of course Amazon is a good source for books of patterns and basic crochet instructions
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