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What Is Crocheting?
Crocheting is a needlework technique that involves interlocking yarn together with a long, hooked tool to create a textile or fabric—similar to knitting. The yarn-crafting technique is a great introduction to yarn art for beginners because it only requires one tool (a crochet hook) and is typically less demanding than a knitting project. Common items to crochet include scarves, hats, and blankets.
What Tools and Materials Do You Need to Crochet?
To start a crochet project, you only need four items:
- A crochet hook: A crochet hook (also called a crochet needle) is a long, thin tool with a small hook at the end. These hooks come in many different sizes using a lettering system in the US, from size B to size Q. For beginner crocheters, a medium-size hook, like an H hook, will be easiest to handle. Checking the project design is another way to help you determine the correct hook size to use. Once you begin more advanced crochet projects, you may find that smaller or larger needle sizes better suit your needs.
- Yarn: Yarn is available in various weights, textures, and colors, which can make selecting the right type of yarn for your first project a bit overwhelming. Beginners should look for a worsted-weight yarn—a medium-thickness yarn that will make it easy to see your stitches. Every skein or ball of yarn will have recommendations on its packaging for the types of hooks to use for your yarn selection.
- Project plan: You can use your first few crocheting attempts to practice stitches, but choosing a specific project can push you to further your knowledge. Beginner crocheters should pick a flat and rectangular project, like a potholder, a dishcloth, a scarf, or a baby blanket, and find a crochet pattern for it. Following a pattern can help you avoid crocheting too few or too many stitches every row and keeps your project on track.
- Scissors: To finish off your project, you’ll need a pair of scissors to cut your project from the rest of your yarn.
How to Make a Crochet Stitch
From slip stitches to treble crochet, there are many different stitches and basic techniques in crocheting. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you create a single crochet stitch:
- Make a slip knot. Crochet projects typically start with a foundation chain—a series of chain stitches that starts from a slip knot. To make a slip knot, create a loop with your yarn (leaving at least 12 inches of tail), then bring the tail end behind the loop to create a vertical line. Push your index finger and thumb through the loop, grab the tail from the other side, and pull it through the loop. The knot should “slip” closed and result in a loop tied into your thread. Cinch this knot on your hook.
- Crochet a chain stitch. Now that your yarn is attached to your crochet hook, you can begin working on your chain stitches—a row of interlocking loops that will form the foundation for the rest of your project. To create a chain stitch, hold your crochet hook in your right hand and a length of yarn in your left hand, wind the working yarn once over the hook from back to front (often called “yarn over” or “yarning over”), then pull your crochet hook gently to the right, catching the yarn and pulling it through the slip knot to form a small chain. With your first chain stitch complete, repeat this process, pulling each new wind of yarn through the previous chain stitch until you have a long line of interlocking loops. When practicing, the number of stitches in your foundation chain is not important, but once you start a project, you’ll need to have the correct length of chain stitches to achieve the right proportions for your project.
- Begin single crocheting. Once your chain of stitches is complete, you’ll need to turn the project counterclockwise to work back along those loops to begin a single crochet stitch (known as a double crochet stitch in the UK). Single crocheting is a two-step process: First, with your last chain stitch still wrapped around your hook, push the hook through the second-to-last chain stitch you made (the bottom of the V), catch the loose end of the yarn with your hook (yarn over), and pull that new yarn through the old stitch, resulting in two stitches on your hook. Second, rotate your project so that the old stitches are beneath your hook and the two stitches are facing up, catch more yarn with your hook (yarn over), and pull that yarn through both loops. Repeat this process until you reach the end of your chain stitches.
- Fasten off. Once your stitches are complete, you’ll end your crochet project by “fastening off” or tying it to prevent the yarn from unraveling. To fasten off, simply cut your project from your skein of yarn (leaving around six inches of extra yarn), and then pull that tail of yarn through the final loop on your hook and tug until it’s tight. Then, trim the excess tail off to complete your project.
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