Crochet: Let’s Begin!

We are just getting started here at All The Yarn – Welcome & Benvenuto!

First off I’ll cover crochet.

Why crochet first?

If you’ve never crochet or knit, a lot of people find crochet is easier just because there’s not as much to juggle. Figuring out how to handle two needles and the yarn with only two hands is tricky at first.

Crochet gets you used to holding yarn while creating your awesome project and learning how to count stitches and really see what’s happening.

As with anything new, it can seem overwhelming at first, and crochet really takes it down to the minimum. Once you get comfortable, you can up the complexity or start learning to knit next.

Eventually, as you start looking for more complicated things to create and challenge yourself, you may want to try your hand at spinning your own yarn. Then you can really take full control over your creations.

If you are here, you are likely new to all this.

So let us start at the beginning and take this one step at a time. I’ll cover the basics and that will get you started.

There will be more information available if you want to dive deeper into the whys and whats, but you don’t have to do more than get your feet wet and start crocheting.

So First things First:

  1. You need a crochet hook
  2. You need some yarn
  3. You need to learn 2 stitches and a knot you probably already know how to make.

(optional: a tapestry needle)

Your First Crochet Hook

There are a ton of options and I cover them in greater detail here. For this first project, you just need one hook.

I recommend something in a size G, H, I, or J.

Millimeters US Size
4 mm G-6
5 mm H-8
5.5 mm I-9 or J-9
6 mm J-10

Any style or material will do for this first hook. You can purchase hooks at most Walmart, Target, Michaels in person or online, and of course at Amazon. Yard sales and thrift shops are also good sources. A single crochet hook is usually less than $5. Of course you can find them for more or less.

Crochet Hooks

You’ll have lots of choices (wood, bamboo, metal, plastic) – some even light up. Don’t stress the first one, just choose the one you think is coolest.

If you don’t want to buy a set yet, don’t worry about having a duplicate later. Most crocheters have more than one of their favorite sizes for convenience when working multiple projects (wips – works in progress).

Yarn

The two most important things to consider here are color and type.

  1. You want a light color yarn, preferably solid. Variegated can be fine as long as there are no dark colors mixed into it. Dark colors are beautiful, but are really hard for beginners to see what they are doing. It’s like trying to read in low light, you’ll be squinting and straining your eyes a lot.
  2. I recommend a 100% cotton “kitchen” yarn for this first little project. This is because you will end up with something you can use as washcloth or dishcloth and 100% cotton is best for these uses.
    Feel free to use acrylic (Red Heart is a popular yarn and has many great colors) – just don’t use your finished product as a potholder. Acrylic will melt and burn you when used at the temperatures used for cooking.

If you use 100% cotton kitchen yarn, you may notice it is a bit thinner than most of the acrylic yarns. Don’t worry about this yet. Both are great for learning. Learn more about yarn weight in this post. (coming soon)

Peaches & Cream cotton yarn

This is about as dark a color as you want to get for your first stitches

As tempting as it may be, don’t get the really cute novelty yarn or really thin sock or lace yarn for your first project. It’s too hard to see what you doing when starting out.

You may want to try a 100% wool or wool blend, but I advise against it for your first project. While 100% wool is great for potholders and heat pads to protect your table, this yarn can break often if you aren’t careful. (and even if you are careful!) You don’t need this added stress for your first project.

It won’t be long before you can start crocheting with the dark colors, wool, and all the interesting textured yarns. Learn more about yarn fiber in this post (coming soon)

Peaches & Cream cotton yarn

This variegated yarn would be a fun one and easy to work with since none of the colors are too dark.

Where you can buy hooks, you can buy yarn. There are tons of yarn suppliers. When you are starting out, hobby stores like your local Michaels can be a great resource (as can Walmart) – they have lots of sales and you can see and feel the yarn in person before buying. Colors and texture aren’t always what you expect when you buy online.

Your First Stitches

Stitches in crochet are usually abbreviated in patterns. So below you’ll find:
Common abbreviation – full name – how to make stitch [link to video, photos]

Ch – chain – this one comes up a lot and is the easiest way to start your [foundation row.] For your first ever, you’ll make a slip knot, and insert your hook into the loop of the slip knot. Within the pattern, to make a chain stitch you start with one loop on your hook. Catch the yarn and pull it through the loop. You now have one loop on your hook and a chain stitch just below it.

chain stitch

Yo – yarn over – this is not a stitch, but it is a part of almost every stitch you’ll crochet. A yarn over (yo) means to take the strand of yarn in your off hand and wrap it over the hook, making a loop on the hook. You’ll do this a lot in crochet. A lot a lot.

Sc – single crochet – with one loop on hook, insert into next stitch, catch yarn and pull through the stitch. You now have 2 loops on hook. Yarn over (yo) and draw through the two loops. You now have one loop on hook. (The sc has one yo)

This is the basic crochet stitch and a great one to use to learn. Pretty much most of the other crochet stitches are variations on the sc.

This is a great stitch to practice relaxing so you can crochet with the proper tension.

Ready to get started?

Here’s a short video from Lion Brand Yarn that shows you what you are about to do.

Make your foundation chain. The number of chains will vary based on your yarn and hook size combination. Don’t worry about getting an exact number of stitches for this first creation. It’s more important that you get used to how to do these first couple of things. We’ll practice with counts later. This first one should be about experimenting to figure out what works best for you!

Start with the first loop (your slip knot).

Without tensing up your fingers and hand – make chain stitches until your foundation row about 8 inches long. For this first go, you’ll rather the chains be a little too loose than too tight.

Sc (single crochet) in second loop from hook.

counting loops from hook

Next, one sc in every stitch until you reach the end of the row.

Ch 1

Turn work and sc in next stitch. This page has a great repeating gif of how to see the next stitch to use.

One sc in every stitch until you reach the end of the row.

Ch 1

Turn work and continue working one sc in each stitch until your washcloth is a square.

You have made the last sc in the last row! It’s time to “fasten off” so cut your yarn, leaving about six inches of length. Catch yarn, pull through your loop. Pull the end until the stitch tightens into a knot.

Use tapestry needle to work in your ends. If you don’t have a tapestry needle, you can use your crochet hook if your stitches are loose enough. You want to weave and tuck in as much of the end as you can. Your knot at the end should be enough to hold it with the end woven in. You can trim off the last bit that might be sticking out.

Working in the end of yarn at the start of project (coming soon)

Running Into Problems?

There are a few things we all do starting out so here are the top three to watch out for on your first few attempts:

  1. Try not to split the yarn on the insert into stitch step. If you need to undo your work later, this will cause knots.
  2. Keep your hands relaxed. If you are tense, the stitches will be tight and tight stitches are really hard to insert into and can lead to split yarn and knots. Plus, your hands will start hurting pretty quickly.
  3. If your yarn already has knots in it or breaks in two , for now, don’t worry about getting fancy. Let it have knots with the ends poking out, and trim or weave in later.

There are more troubleshooting tips in this post. (coming soon)

Congratulations!!

You are awesome! Even if it turned out a bit uneven or you had to redo part of it, you finished it and have taken the first steps towards an awesome hobby!

You’ve learned the basics on materials you’ll need, and the minimum stitches to create almost anything.

Next Steps?

Glad you asked. I highly recommend making another washcloth using one of the sc variations described the next post. (coming soon) You’ll be making the same stitch, just catching the yarn from under different loops. This can result in some neat textures and keep your interest while you practice the stitch.

Once you are comfortable with the sc, try the washcloth pattern in this post. (coming soon) It gives you a taste of following a pattern and counting your stitches.