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Monday, April 1, 2013

Back to Basics: Introduction to Crochet

By Kandis Hamrick

Crochet uses a hook to pull yarn through intertwined loops to create a finished project.  Crocheting will probably immediately bring the Granny Square to mind. Unfortunately crochet is often regarded as the lesser of the two big yarn hobbies. People think of knitting as being for wonderful clothing items like socks and sweaters and resign crochet to the “old lady” niche. Crochet can actually be quite remarkable and for years it was my preferred method as I thought it had more possibilities. [Note: I’m not saying I no longer believe in the beauty of crochet, but that I’ve also grown to appreciate knitting more fully as well.]

Choosing your tools

Crochet hooks come in a variety of sizes. Before you choose your hook, you will want to choose the yarn that you’ll be working with. If you’re not sure how to choose your yarn see our Back to Basics: Choosing Yarn post. Most yarns will list the hook size that they recommend for that weight of yarn. You can also manipulate the final appearance based on the hook size. If you’re using a lighter weight yarn, the recommended hook size will be smaller; however, if you want your final project to have very loose stitches, you can go up in your hook size. My best advice is to practice a couple of rows and see if you like the appearance before beginning your project.

Simple Stitches

Below is a list of basic crochet stitches and their abbreviations. Each is a link to a short video tutorial.

ch - Chain stitch
sc - Single Crochet
dc - Double Crochet
hdc - Half Double Crochet
tc - Triple Crochet

Putting it together

You’ll start by making a slipknot and putting your hook through the loop. Pull the tail to tighten the loop on your hook. Make sure that you don’t pull the loop too tight or it will be difficult for you to get your hook through as you crochet; the loop should be tight enough to stay on the hook but loose enough to slide freely.

Make your chain the desired length. If you’re going to be using single crochet, you’ll go into the second chain from the hook for your first stitch; for double crochet you’ll go into the third chain and so on. The extra chains at the beginning of your first row will count as the first stitch. At the end of each row, you will chain 1 and turn your work. The ch 1 will count as your first stitch in this row.

When your project is complete, you will cut your yarn to leave a tail. Pull the tail through your final stitch and weave it into your work. Note: if your project requires you to stitch pieces together, you can leave the tail long enough to use for the stitching and tie off when your seam is complete.

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