Crochet is a fun, relaxing hobby that anyone can do! In this step-by-step guide, we will discuss how to crochet. We’ll cover everything you need to know to get started – from the basics of how to hold your hook, to the six most common crochet stitches. We’ll even talk about the best yarn to use and where you can find beginner crochet patterns for free.
If you are interested in starting a new hobby or learning a new skill, you’re in the right place! After reading this crochet starter guide, you’ll be ready to create beautiful wearable items like scarves, hats, and blankets.
How to Crochet for Beginners
If you’ve always wanted to learn how to crochet, but didn’t know where to start, this guide is for you! You’ll be able to learn the basics of crocheting with these easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions.
What is Crochet?
Crochet has been around for centuries and is still one of the most popular yarn crafts today. It is a method of creating a looped fabric from yarn with a crochet hook.
It’s not difficult to learn how to crochet, but it can be a little tricky in the beginning. Like learning any new skill, mastering crochet will take a fair bit of perseverance and patience.
To learn crochet, start with the fundamental techniques and a few basic stitches. Then, once you’ve mastered them, you can move on to intermediate and advanced techniques.
What do you need to start crocheting?
One of the great things about crochet is that you don’t need many tools to get started. In fact, you only need these two things:
The right tools can make learning easier. Set yourself up for success by choosing hooks and yarns that are easy to work with. Here are my recommendations for the best crochet supplies for beginners.
Yarn comes in many different weights: from super-fine baby weight yarn all the way up to bulky-weight wool. Different patterns will recommend various types of yarns. But for beginners, I recommend using medium weight (number four) acrylic, wool, or cotton yarn. You can buy this type of yarn online, or at any craft store!
- Medium yarn weight. I recommend that beginners choose a worsted weight yarn.
- Smooth texture. It’s easier to see your stitches when you use a ball of simple, smooth wool or acrylic yarn.
- Light color. It can be hard to see exactly where to insert the hook when you use dark or multicolor yarn.
Crochet hooks come in a range of sizes, shapes, and materials. The most important thing to remember is to match the size of the hook to the weight of the yarn. Use larger crochet hooks with thicker yarns and smaller crochet hooks with thinner yarns.
For beginners, I recommend starting with an ergonomic hook in a medium size – like G6 (4.25 mm) or H8 (5.00 mm).
If you aren’t sure what the right size crochet hook is for your yarn, check the back of the yarn label. It will suggest an appropriate hook size for your specific yarn.
You can find out more about crochet hook sizes here: Crochet Hook Sizes and Conversion Chart
If you want to grab a few more items, you could also pick up:
For more information about the best crochet supplies for beginners, check out:
How to Crochet Step-by-Step
Let’s get started! Gather your supplies and find a comfortable workspace with bright lighting.
I encourage you to read through the steps before you pick up your hook. And remember, learning to crochet takes practice – so keep going!
Note: This guide uses U.S. terms for crochet stitches and demonstrates right-handed instructions. Check out this handy crochet terms conversion guide to learn the difference between British and American crochet terms.
Step 1: How to Hold the Crochet Hook
The first step is to learn how to hold the yarn and the crochet hook in a way that feels comfortable for you. Most people hold the hook in their dominant hand and the yarn in their non-dominant hand.
Note: I’m right-handed, so the pictures will show me holding the hook in my right hand and the yarn in my left hand. I’ll be writing the directions from the perspective of a right-handed person – but lefties can reverse the directions to learn how to do left-handed crochet.
Most people hold the crochet hook in one of two ways: the pencil method or the knife method.
- Pencil Grip: Hold the crochet hook like a pencil between your thumb and index finger. Use your third finger underneath for more balance and control.
- Knife Grip: Place your hand over the hook, palm facing down. Hold the hook between your thumb and index finger. Wrap your other three fingers around the shaft of the crochet hook for greater control.
Personally, I prefer to hold the hook with the knife grip. Try both options and see what feels the most natural for you.
How to Hold the Yarn for Crochet
To hold the yarn, loop the yarn through the fingers of your non-dominant hand. Pass the yarn over the pinkie, under the third and middle fingers, and over your index finger. To create more tension on the yarn, you can loop the yarn once around the pinkie before passing it under the third and middle fingers and over the index finger.
Holding the yarn this way may awkward at first, but keep practicing. With time, you will find your favorite way to hold and keep tension on the yarn.
Step 2: How to Tie a Slip Knot
Next, tie a slip knot to attach the yarn to the crochet hook.
To make a slip knot:
- Pull a length of yarn from the ball. Start the loop approximately 6 inches from the end of the yarn, leaving a tail to weave in later.
- Place the ball end of the yarn in a clockwise circle, laying it over the top of the tail end.
- Insert the crochet hook into the center of the loop, from front to back. Use the hook to grab the ball-end yarn, and pull it through the center of the loop.
- Pull both ends of the yarn to tighten the loop around the hook.
The slip knot is complete, and you are ready to start crocheting.
Step 3: How to Yarn Over
The “yarn over”, abbreviated YO, is a foundational crochet technique that you’ll use to make all of the basic crochet stitches. For example, you’ll use yarn-overs to make a starting chain in the next step, and to make single crochet stitches after that.
Here’s how to yarn over:
- Loop the working yarn over the hook clockwise from back to front.
- Use your left-hand index finger to wrap the yarn over the crochet hook, or use your right hand to pivot the hook under the yarn. Either action accomplishes the same thing.
Once you’ve practiced the YO motion by itself, you use it as part of the basic crochet stitches. Let’s continue.
Step 4: How to Make a Starting Chain
The next step is to make a starting chain. A starting chain is a number of crochet chain stitches that forms the foundation for the rest of the crochet project.
To make a starting chain:
- Hold the hook in your right hand and the yarn in your left hand. Insert the hook into the slip knot, if it isn’t there already.
- Hold the end of the slip knot between the thumb and middle finger of your left hand.
- Bring the working yarn over the hook from back to front (aka “yarn over”).
- Rotate the hook slightly to catch the yarn in the bowl (or mouth) of the hook. Pull the hook through the loop on the hook. One chain stitch is complete.
To make another chain stitch, yarn over the hook and pull up another loop. Repeat this process, making as many chain stitches as your pattern calls for. To follow along with my swatch, make 11 chain stitches.
As you work, move your left-hand fingers up along the chain. For the most control, hold the chain two or three stitches away from the hook.
It can take some practice to keep your tension consistent from one chain stitch to the next – so keep practicing! In time, you will find your rhythm.
Note: When counting how many chains you’ve made, do not count the loop on your hook or the slip knot as a stitch.
Step 5: Working Into the Chain
Let’s take a closer look at the chain stitches you’ve just made.
The front of the chain looks like a series of interlocking Vs. And, if you turn the chain over to the reverse side, you’ll see that each stitch has a bump or back bar.
You’ll work the first row of crochet stitches into this foundation chain. Depending on the type of stitch, you’ll make the first stitch of the row into the second, third, or fourth chain from the hook. The pattern instructions will tell you where to make your first stitch.
To work into the starting chain, insert the crochet hook into the chain stitch from front to back. The tip of the hook will pass through the center of the V.
Note: Some patterns will ask you to turn the chain over and make the first row of stitches into the back bar only. Working into the back bar can give your project a cleaner edge.
The first row of crochet can be difficult, especially for new beginners. Working into chain stitches is tricky: it’s hard to know exactly where to insert your hook, and there isn’t much fabric for your other hand to hold.
Even so, I hope you will persevere! After the first few rows of stitches, it will be much easier to know where to insert your hook and hold the work steady.
Step 6: How to Single Crochet
Single crochet is a simple stitch that’s perfect for your first project. It’s is one of the most basic and most common crochet stitches. It’s often abbreviated SC in crochet patterns.
Let’s make the first row of our swatch in single crochet stitches.
- Start with a chain of 11 stitches. (You can use the starting chain that we made in the previous section.)
- Then, insert the hook into the second chain from the hook.
- Bring the yarn over the hook from back to front. Draw the yarn through the chain to pull up a loop. (You will now have two loops on the hook.)
- Next, yarn over again. Draw the yarn through both loops on the hook. You will now have one loop on the hook, and your first single crochet is complete.
Repeat these steps, making one single crochet stitch into each of the nine remaining chain stitches for a total of 10 single crochets. As you work, be careful not to twist the chain.
For a lot more information about the single crochet stitch, read: How to Single Crochet for Beginners
Step 7: How to Make a Turning Chain
When you come to the end of a row, you will turn your work over, make one or more chains stitches (for the turning chain), and then begin the next row of stitches.
Turn the Work
To turn your work, simply rotate the piece 180 degree clockwise. The opposite side of the work will now be facing you.
I like to keep my hook in the stitch as I turn the work so that I don’t lose my place.
After you turn the work, you’ll need to make one or more chain stitches. These chain stitches, called the turning chain, bring the yarn up to the correct height to work the first stitch of the next row.
The number of chains in the turning chain depends on the height of the stitch you’ll be making in the next row.
- Single crochet: one chain
- Half-double crochet: two chains
- Double crochet: three chains
- Triple crochet: four chains
Which Comes First: The Turn or the Chain-1?
Should you turn your work first or chain first? It actually doesn’t matter which step you do first!
The only thing that matters that you pick one way and stay consistent throughout your piece. It’s also a good idea to always turn your work in the same way – either clockwise or counterclockwise.
Step 8: How to Work Row 2
Let’s go back to our crochet swatch and make the second row of single crochet stitches. This row will be worked into the previous row of single crochet stitches, not into the starting chain.
- Turn the work and chain 1. (The turning chain worked at the beginning of a single crochet row does not count as a stitch.)
- Insert the hook under the top 2 loops of the last stitch of the previous row.
- Yarn over from back to front. Draw the yarn through the stitch and pull up a loop. There will be two loops on the hook.
- Yarn over again, and pull through both loops on the hook. There will be one loop left on the hook. The single crochet stitch is complete.
Work right to left across the row. Repeat these steps, making one single crochet stitch in each of the nine remaining stitches. Count your stitches, and make sure you have the correct number.
At this point, you can turn your work to make another row of stitches. Keep making more rows of single crochet until you’ve reached your desired length. Then, cut the yarn and fasten it off.
Step 9: How to Fasten Off
Once you’ve completed the last row of your crochet swatch, you’ll need to fasten off the yarn so that the stitches don’t unravel.
To fasten off:
- Cut the yarn, leaving a 6-inch yarn tail.
- Use the hook to up draw the yarn tail through the loop on your hook.
- Remove the crochet hook from the work, and pull on the yarn tail to tighten it.
At this point, you may want to weave in the yarn tails to secure them.
To weave in the ends, thread a blunt-tipped yarn needle with the yarn tail. Then, weave the needle back and forth through the crochet fabric.
And there you go! You’ve just completed your first crochet swatch.
More Crochet Stitches
Ready to learn more crochet? After you’ve mastered the single crochet stitch, add more crochet stitches to your repertoire.
How to Half Double Crochet
The half-double crochet stitch, abbreviated HDC, is another one of the 6 basic crochet stitches. It’s a beginner-friendly stitch that’s easy to learn and fun to make. You can use half-double crochet to make a variety of projects, including baby blankets, pillows, scarves, and warm sweaters.
The half-double crochet stitch is similar to the single crochet stitch, with one extra yarn-over at the beginning. That extra yarn-over makes half-double crochet taller than the single crochet, yet shorter than the double crochet stitch.
Click here for my half-double crochet step-by-step tutorial that will show you how to crochet the half-double crochet stitch and give you lots of tips for working with HDC stitches in patterns.
How to Double Crochet
The next stitch on our list of the basic crochet stitches is the double crochet stitch, abbreviated DC
Double crochet is a beginner-friendly stitch that’s used in all sorts of patterns, like the classic granny square pattern.
A double crochet is taller than both a single crochet and a half-double stitch, but shorter than a treble crochet stitch. Double crochet fabric is a little more open and flexible than fabric made from plain single crochet.
To learn how to work double crochet stitches, read How to Double Crochet Stitch (dc) for Beginners.
How to Treble Crochet
After double crochet, you are ready to learn treble crochet.
Treble crochet, sometimes called triple crochet, is abbreviated TR in patterns.
With an extra yarn over, a treble stitch is even taller than a double crochet stitch. Once you learn the basic technique, you can add even more yarn-overs to make double-treble and triple treble stitches.
Treble crochet creates a looser fabric that drapes well. It’s often used in light, lacy, open patterns.
How to Slip Stitch
Last but not least, we have the crochet slip stitch. Slip stitch is the shortest of the basic crochet stitches. In patterns, slip stitch is often abbreviated SL ST.
Slip stich is a very useful and versatile technique. You can use slip stitches to move the yarn across a row of stitches without adding much height. You can also use slip stitch to join a round of crochet into a circle, connecting the last stitch of the round to the first stitch of that same round. Lastly, you can use surface slip stitch to decorate the surface of crochet fabric.
To learn all about slip stitch and how to make it, check out How to Slip Stitch in Crochet (sl st) for Beginners
More Crochet Techniques
After you’ve learned the crochet basics, here are some more techniques to try.
Increasing and Decreasing
If you want to make anything other than a flat rectangle, you’ll need to learn how to increase and decrease in crcohet. Increasing adds stitches to your project, while decreases subtracts stitches.
Increasing is very simple. Just make 2 or more stitches in the same stitch.
Working in the Round
There are two main ways to make a crochet project: work flat in rows, or work in the round.
Working in the round allows you to create crocheted items that start with a circle, like top-down hats, granny squares, amigurumi toys, and more.
To learn more about working in the round, check out this article on how to start crochet projects with the Magic Ring technique.
You can combine the basic crochet stitches in differnt patterns to create new unique textures.
For example, moss stitch (aka linen stitch) is a beginner-friendly crochet stitch made from an alternating pattern of chain stitches and single crochet. It’s very easy to work, and the perfect stitch to learn after you’ve masted the basic crochet stitches.
How to Crochet in the Front and Back Loop
Another way to change the loop of basic crochet stitches is to insert the hook in different loops. Crocheting in the front loops or back loops only can create a ribbed texture and add a decorative element to your work.
More Beginner Crochet Tutorials
If you’ve enjoyed this crochet starter guide, you may be interested in these related articles.
- How to Crochet a Magic Ring (Magic Circle Tutorial)
- How to Crochet a Solid Granny Square with No Gaps
- 20 Unique Crochet Stitches for Your Next Project
Free Crochet Patterns
Here are some free beginner-freindsly crochet patterns to practice your new skills.
- Classic Crochet Baby Booties with Folded Cuff
- Easy Crochet Hat Pattern – Chunky Ribbed Beanie
- 27 Free Crochet Baby Blanket Patterns
- 25 Free Easy Crochet Scarf Patterns for Beginners
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- Hold the hook in your dominant hand and the yarn in their non-dominant hand. (These instructions will demonstrate right-handed crochet.)
- Tie a slip knot to attach the yarn to the crochet hook.
- Make a starting chain of 11 chain stitches.
- Work the first row of crochet stitches: Starting in the second chain from the hook, make one single crochet (sc) in each chain stich. (10 stitches)
- Make the second row: Turn. Chain 1. (Does not count as a stitch.) Starting in the first stitch, make one single crochet (sc) in each stitch. (10 stitches.
- Continue making additional rows as desired. Then, cut yarn and fasten off.
For much more detailed instructions and step-by-step photos, see the post above.
Sarah Stearns is an artist, maker, and blogger at sarahmaker.com
Her work has been featured in Scientific American, Good Housekeeping, Vox, Apartment Therapy, and more.
Sarah lives and works in North Carolina with her husband and young kids.