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    How to guide: Crochet

    Crochet, like most needlework skills, is built upon some basic stitches.

    Once mastered, those basics can be varied and combined to produce flat and 3-dimensional pieces using only a hook and yarn.

    From your first dishcloth to a lace tablecloth or sculpted dress, crochet is an adventure!

    coastersBasic Tools of the Trade

    Beginners do best with a relatively large hook (size J or K in U.S. sizes) and some worsted weight yarn. The yarn with the coasters in the photo above is a worsted weight cotton found in most retailer’s needlecraft departments. Some small scissors or thread snips and a 6-inch ruler are also handy to have nearby.

    A basic video series or a good beginner crochet books such as How to Crochet from the Storey Basics series (Storey Publishing, 2014) is essential for the beginner, unless an experienced crafter is nearby to help.

    Slip Knots and Chains

    Crocheted fabric is made by simply pulling new loops of yarn through a loop already on the hook. To get that first loop, make a slip knot and place it around your hook. Pull the tail to tighten the loop, keeping it loose enough that the hook will be able to pass through with the next loop.


    Make a starting chain by holding the hook in your dominant hand and the yarn from the ball in your other hand. There are a variety of ways to hold the yarn for the hook to catch. Try several methods as shown in a good crochet book and use whatever you find most comfortable. Yarn should be taut, yet slide through the fingers as the hook makes loops.

    To make your first chain stitch, catch the yarn from your hand with the hook and pull it through the slip knot loop. Now the original loop is off the hook and a new loop has taken its place. One chain complete! Continue making chains until your practice chain is about six inches long.


    Single Crochet

    Single crochet (called double crochet in Great Britain) is only a little harder than a chain stitch. Hold your starting chain in the same hand that is feeding the yarn. With your hook hand, insert the hook in the second chain from the hook. Grab the working yarn from the other hand and pull it through that chain, but not the chain still on the hook. There are now two loops on the hook. Grab the yarn again with your hook and pull that yarn through both loops on the hook. Now there is one loop on the hook and one completed single crochet stitch in your starting chain.


    Continue making single crochet stitches in each chain until you have worked a stitch in the last chain. Now make a chain stitch and rotate the work so you are ready to make a new row. This row will be worked into the top loops of the first row. Look down at the top of the row you just finished: It looks like a chain, doesn’t it? Place the hook under the top loops of the first single crochet. Grab yarn, pull through stitch, grab yarn, pull through both loops on hook. Work this way to the end of the row, then chain one, turn and repeat.

    To end your work, cut the yarn, leaving a 6-inch tail. Pull the tail through the loop on the hook. Remove the hook and pull the tail all the way through to knot the end.

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