How to Crochet: A Beginner's Step-by-Step Guide
If you are new to crocheting, it helps to remember that both hook size and yarn weight refer to thickness. A hook's thickness is indicated with a letter (most U.S. sizes), a number (most metric or European sizes), or a combination. The higher the number or letter, the thicker the hook. Yarn weight, like hook size, refers to thickness, but is denoted by a name. From lightest to heaviest, yarn is referred to as: fingering, sport, double knitting, worsted, aran, and bulky. Once you decide what to crochet, read through all the instructions first: Being familiar with the pattern before you begin is the best way to ensure success. Typically, the first five rows of crochet are the most difficult, even for experienced needle crafters, and projects are most likely to be abandoned at this early stage due to frustration. Try to work at least ten rows so that your fingers become accustomed to the work.
Most patterns indicate the size of the finished item. To ensure that your item ends up that size, crochet a gauge swatch first to compare with the gauge recommended in your pattern. Using the same hook, yarn, and style of stitches you plan to use for your finished piece, work a sample at least four inches square, then place on a flat surface. Insert two straight pins vertically into the swatch, three inches apart. Count the number of stitches between the pins. Repeat with two horizontally placed straight pins for rows. If your sample has more stitches or rows than indicated in the gauge, switch to a larger hook. If your sample has fewer stitches or rows than indicated, use a smaller hook.
How to Tie a Slipknot
Make a loop as shown. Insert your hook in the loop, catch the lower yarn, and draw it up through the loop. To tighten, pull the long end of the yarn downward.
How to Make a Chain Stitch
The chain stitch is the basic unit of your first, or foundation, row. This stitch is also used to create spaces between fancier stitches. With the working yarn in your left hand and the hook in your right, wrap the yarn around the hook, and draw it through the slipknot.; tighten. One chain stitch is now complete.
How to Make a Single Crochet
Once you've completed your foundation row, work a row of single crochet stitches into these chain stitches. Insert the hook through the second chain stitch from the hook. Wrap yarn around the hook, and draw it through that stitch. Wrap yarn around hook a second time, drawing it through both loops on hook. Adjust tension by pulling on the yarn until the existing loop just fits around the hook. One single crochet is now complete.
A turning chain is an extra chain stitch added just before you turn your work, to prevent buckling and keep the work straight. Wrap the yarn around the hook, and use the hook to draw yarn back through the loop from the previous stitch.
To work in the round, a foundation row is joined into a ring. Subsequent stitches are worked into this ring, then into each other in a continuous circle. Make a foundation row of chain stitches, then close the ring: Insert hook into first stitch, wrap with yarn, and draw yarn through both chain stitch and loop on hook to make a slip stitch (abbreviated as "sl st").
Wrap the hook with yarn, then insert the hook through the foundation ring from front to back. Hook the working yarn and draw it back through the ring. There are now three loops on the hook. Wrap the hook with yarn, and draw it through the first two loops on the hook. Now, on the hook there are two more loops. Again, wrap the hook with yarn and draw it through both loops. You have now completed one double crochet (abbreviated as "dc"). Continue working double crochets into the ring as previously instructed; when you have reached the end of the round, join the ring of double crochets with a slip stitch. The right side of your work should be facing you.
Joining New Yarn
Add yarn or introduce a new color at beginning of a row or round. Work a stitch with old yarn, then complete stitch with new yarn, using hook to draw it through. Lay the loose end of new yarn along the top of row; work over it. To prevent the work from unraveling, crochet a final stitch. Cut the yarn, leaving a small tail; use hook to draw it through last loop; pull tight. Thread the tail of yarn through a yarn needle, and darn neatly into back of work, weaving in the end.
Thread a yarn needle with a generous length of yarn. Place pieces with right sides together, and sew, inserting the needle through both loops of the tops of the crochet stitches, as shown.