Howdy Crochet Newbies!
Get prepared – because today’s tutorial is chalk full of super helpful and super easy steps that you must know as a crochet beginner.
If you have been dreaming about learning to crochet, but have never picked up a hook before or simply don’t know where to start – this is for you!
The steps I am going to share with you today really are the key to taking you from crochet clueless to crochet confident!
And quickly too!
What is Crochet?
Okay… let’s back up for just a sec.
I know you are excited to get on with it, but when you are new to a craft, it’s important to know exactly what you are getting into.
So, if you don’t know, crochet is a craft in which a patterned fabric is created by looping yarn, thread, or other material with a hooked needle.
Like knitting, crochet consists of pulling loops through other loops, but with the addition of wrapping the working material around the hook one or more times.
Unlike knitting, in crochet only one stitch is active at one time (there are a few exceptions, but this is true for the most part). Also, crochet uses a single crochet hook instead of two knitting needles.
There are literally hundreds of different forms of crochet with more in development!
If you’re interested, CrochetWithDee.com gives a great list of many types of crochet.
Now, hundreds of crochet methods means tons of “advanced” crochet stitches, yet, there are only a few basic stitches.
If you can learn these, then you can create loads of fun and unique crochet patterns!
Okay… on with it! Here we go!
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9 Basic Crochet Steps
NOTE: Click on the highlighted words for step-by-step tutorials.
Make a slip-knot.
Simply put, this is a knot that can easily be undone. Okay, there’s a smidge more to it, so check out the tutorial. 😉
Make a foundation chain.
This is a chain that consists of chain stitches (ch).
I know, if you know nothing about crochet, then you’re probably saying – uh what’s a chain stitch? Read the tutorial folks – it even has a video.
Now, when first learning to chain stitch, you should use a hook that is at least one size larger than what your project calls for. This keeps the foundation chain looser so it is easier for you to make the next round of stitches.
This is an important tip because beginning crocheters often chain too tightly. Once you become more skilled in the art of crochet, this may no longer be necessary.
Just FYI, I started out with a 9.0 mm (size N) hook, but now have no issues with using smaller hooks right from the beginning.
Insert your hook into a chain on the foundation chain.
Okay… I don’t mean to make this confusing, but note that I said insert your hook into “a chain” – not a specific chain number.
The reason for this is because the first chain you insert your hook into is determined by the stitch you are going to make.
For instance, if you are going to be working the single crochet (see tutorial link below) you would typically go into the 1st chain from the hook (there are exceptions).
On the other hand, if you are going to be working the double crochet (see tutorial link below) you would typically go into the 2nd chain from the hook.
Thus, it is important that you know or are learning at least one basic stitch at this point. (again, see tutorials below for help)
Now, just to make things a bit more complicated (don’t panic, I am going to walk you through it!) – you also need to know where you want to place your hook.
There are at least 3 locations.
- Location 1: Insert the hook under the 2 top loops. These are the loops that make a < shape.
- Location 2: Flip the foundation chain so that the 2 top loops (<‘s) are on the bottom and the back posts are on top. Insert the hook under the back post. This called crocheting into the back post only and it is abbreviated BPO in patterns.
- Location 3: Insert the hook under 1 of the top loops and the back post.
Crochet the first row.
After you have inserted your hook into the proper chain for the stitch you will be doing – then make your first stitch.
Use the stitch designated in your pattern, or, whatever stitch you wish if you are designing your own pattern or simply doing a practice swatch.
Then, work each new stitch into the next chain stitch until you have stitched all the way back to the slip-knot.
In general, the basic crochet stitches are:
1. Chain Stitch (ch)–used to make the foundation chain and the turning chain (See Steps 1 & 5).
2. Single Crochet Stitch (sc)–creates a tight, dense fabric. You can repeat this stitch over and over or in combination with other stitches to create a pattern.
3. Half-double Crochet (hdc)–half of a double crochet, is simple and versatile and creates a snug stitch.
4. Double Crochet (dc)–twice the height of the single crochet and creates a solid, but not stiff fabric. It is often used for making afghans, sweaters, shawls, etc… You can combine this stitch with others to create unique patterns and textures.
5. Slip Stitch (slst)–the smallest of the basic stitches, used in decreasing, for decorative work, and for joining other stitches together.
6. Triple or treble crochet (tr)–taller than the double crochet, is used in a variety of ways and/or worked into different configurations including rows, circles, triangles, squares, and other shapes.
Generally, the chain stitch (foundation chain), single crochet, and double crochet are the three stitches crochet beginners learn first.
Thus, these three stitches are the ones I have highlighted and linked to step-by-step tutorials as part of this beginner’s guide.
Make the turning chain.
In other words, make more chain stitches. That’s right folks, a turning chain is nothing more than a series of chain stitches!
Now, the number of chains you make depends on the stitch you are using.
See picture in step 7 below for an example of a turning chain and click the link above for a step-by-step tutorial.
Do you struggle with reading crochet patterns? This ebook may be just what you need!
Turn your work.
This means, rotate your work so that the end with the hook goes from the left to the right.
Before you turn your work, the end without the hook will be on the right side of the crochet hook.
After you turn your work, the end without the hook will be on the left side of the crochet hook.
NOTE: This example is for a right-handed crocheter. I assume that vice versa is true for left-handed crocheters, but I am not left-handed so I cannot say this with 100% certainty.
Insert your hook into the first stitch (unless directed otherwise by your pattern).
The first stitch is the stitch at the end of the turning chain.
To find it, start from the hook and count the number of chains in your turning chain. The first stitch you come to that is NOT part of the turning chain, is the stitch in which you insert your hook.
For instance, in my demonstration, I chained 3 for my turning chain, so, starting from the hook I count 3 chains. The next stitch is my first stitch.
Repeat steps 4-7 for each additional row until the project is complete.
Bind off and weave in the tails.
This is no minor detail folks. Binding off and weaving in your ends is actually one of the most important parts of your project.
Please see my tutorial (click link above) to make sure you do it properly. I would hate for you to do so much work only to have it unravel – seriously, this happens folks!
More Crochet Tips & Tutorials
Ready to learn more? Check these out!
1. How to Hold the Yarn When Crocheting
3. How to Yarn Over in Crochet
4. The 10 Best Crochet Tips for Absolute Beginners
5. How to Read a Crochet Pattern
7. How to Crochet for Absolute Beginners Video Course
The nine steps I went over here was basically a quick start guide – which you can get in a handy dandy print out below for free when you subscribe to my newsletter.
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Until next time… Happy Crocheting!
Saturday 13th of February 2021
How do you determine the width (numbers to chain) for a afghan? I know that 11+2 = 13 chains. What I need to know is how many chains it will take. I would appreciate any help I can get. Thank you in advance.
Saturday 13th of February 2021
The answer is not quite as simple as you may think. A lot of it depends on your choice of yarn, your hook, your tension, your particular crocheting technique, and even the stitch you will be using. However, to make a "guesstamite" make your chain the width that your want your blanket to be. This is NOT exact. Sometimes when you make your first few rows your blanket will actually expand or it may shorten up. But... it is a good way to start and at least get some idea of the number of chains you will need. This is of course, only necessary to do if you are not following a pattern. If you are following the a pattern, it should tell you the number of chains.
I hope that helps!
Saturday 19th of September 2020
Easy to read and follow I’m self taught and I enjoy your helpful tips
Sunday 20th of September 2020
Thank you so much! I am very glad to hear that! If you have any questions or need help learning crochet - feel free to reach out to me!
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Monday 5th of August 2019
[…] Back post only (bpo) – This post has helpful information for identifying the back post on a chain. […]
How to Crochet a Foundation Chain - Itchin' for some Stitchin'
Tuesday 25th of June 2019
[…] Crochet Beginner Series […]
Janet White Tidwell, jwt
Thursday 9th of March 2017
Hello! I LOVE your Crochet site! I can't seem to find a Tutorial for some Basic Stitches: Triple Crochet Slip Stitch Half Double Crochet You have them listed as Basic Stitches but I can't find the Tutorials to tell me how to make them. Can you please direct me to the link to make them? I'd like to know what they are. Thank you so much for your WONDERFUL SITE!! Janet White Tidwell, jwt
Thursday 9th of March 2017
Thanks so much for visiting my site! Okay, you got me, I'm busted! The reason you can't find the tutorials for these 3 techniques is because I haven't posted them yet. They are on my editorial calendar and will be posted soon. My intention was to add the links as soon as they were posted. This is a new blog so I am still learning the ropes. I probably shouldn't have published the Basic Steps for Beginners until these 3 were up, but hindsight is 20/20. My sincere apologies that these tutorials are not up when you need them. Please email me at email@example.com and I will help you with these 3 techniques. Thank you for your sweet compliments and I hope this little mess up on my part does not change your opinion!