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How to Slip Stitch in Crochet (sl st) for Beginners

The slip stitch is a basic crochet technique that’s great for beginners to learn. In fact, the crochet slip stitch is so essential that you’ll see it used in almost every crochet pattern. You can use slip stitches to join rounds, seam pieces together, and make crochet edging, too!

So, if you’re ready to learn how to crochet a slip stitch, keep reading! This step-by-step tutorial will teach you everything you need to know to crochet the slip stitch.

pink ergonomic crochet hook making a slip stitch in a crochet swatch made of blue yarn

About Crochet Slip Stitch

The slip stitch is one of the six basic crochet stitches. It’s a relatively simple stitch that’s easy to learn. With a bit of practice, you’ll be able to add the slip to your crochet repertoire.

Crochet slip stitch is very handy. It’s one of those foundational crochet stitches that you will use time and time again. You’ll use slip stitches in various crochet applications: to join rounds, create shaping, and move along rows.

How to Crochet a Slip Stitch

In brief, here’s how to do a slip stitch in crochet:

Insert the hook into the next stitch, yarn over, and pull through the stitch and the active loop on the hook.

Yes, that’s all there is to it! Very simple, and very useful.

In the rest of this tutorial, we’ll talk about all aspects of slip stitch crochet: what it is, how to make it, and when to use it. Plus, I’ll answer your frequently asked questions about the slip stitch and tell you about some common mistakes to avoid.

Keep reading for a more detailed description with step-by-step pictures. Follow along with the instructions, and soon you’ll be slip stitching like a pro.

crochet swatch in teal and blue yarn with a pink ergonomic crochet hook, showing slip stitch surface crochet

What is the Crochet Slip Stitch?

The crochet slip stitch is a simple stitch that you’ll use in almost every pattern, from crochet beanies to baby booties.

Abbreviation

In both the US and UK, the slip stitch is called “slip stitch.” In the US, it is abbreviated “sl st.” In the UK, it is often abbreviated “ss.”

Chart Symbol

In crochet charts, you will see the slip stitch represented by a filled dot, or “•”.

Height

The slip stitch is the shortest of all the crochet stitches.

Turning Chain

To start a new row of slip stitches, make a turning chain of 1. The turning chain does not count as a stitch.

Slip Stitch Fabric

Unlike other stitches, slip stitches are not often used on their own to crochet fabric. Instead, the slip stitch is used to join rounds, create shape, and, where necessary, move the yarn to another part of the fabric without adding height.

However, if you did crochet a piece of fabric with rows of slip stitch, it would be very dense and warm! The method of crocheting fabric made from slip stitches is called Bosnian Crochet (also Dutch Knitting or shepherd’s knitting.)

Slip Stitch Tutorial

First, I’ll show you how to make one crochet slip stitch. Then, I’ll show you the different ways to use slip stitch in patterns.

Before we get started, choose a yarn and corresponding hook. For beginners, I recommend using a smooth worsted weight yarn and an ergonomic hook. Choose yarn in a light color to make it easier to see your stitches.

Step-by-Step Instructions

The following is an in-depth description of how to make a slip stitch in crochet.

  1. Insert the hook into the next stitch. Put the tip of the hook under both of the loops at the top of the stitch. 
  2. Bring the yarn over the hook, from back to front, and pull a loop of yarn through the stitch.
  3. Pull that same loop through the loop on the hook. The slip stitch is complete. You will now have one loop left on the hook.

Great job! You have now completed a slip stitch.

crochet swatch in blue yarn with pink crochet hook, showing how to make a slip stitch in crochet.

Once you have practiced, you will be able to pull the yarn over through the stitch and the loop on the hook in one continuous motion.

Ways to Use Slip Stitch

While you can make a crocheted fabric from rows of plain slip stitch, it’s not very commonly done. More often, the slip stitch is used as a utility stitch to accomplish another crochet technique.

Here are some other ways to use the crochet slip stitch:

  • Make a slip stitch to join the ends of a foundation chain to form a starting ring.
  • Use a slip stitch to join work when working in rounds.
  • Crochet slip stitches to travel across a row without adding too much height. 
  • Use slip stitches to seam two pieces of crochet fabric.
  • Make slip stitch edging to finish a project.
  • Decorate fabric with slip stitch surface crochet.

Let’s go through each of these ways to use the slip stitch.

Forming a Center Ring

Crochet patterns worked in rounds, like granny squares and top-down hats, start with a center ring. You can make a center ring with the Magic Ring technique, or by joining a small number of chain stitches into a circle with a slip stitch.

For example, your pattern might begin, “Ch 5, join with sl st to form a ring .” The following steps show you how to create a center ring of 4 chain stitches:

  1. Chain 5.
  2. Insert your hook into the first chain stitch.
  3. Yarn over, and draw through the chain stitch and through the loop on the hook.
step by step photos showing how to use a slip stitch to join a small chain into a circle to form a center ring in crochet

The slip stitch joins the chain stitches into a circle. The center ring is now complete. After you’ve made the center ring, you can start the first round of crochet.

Joining a Round

You can also use a slip stitch to join the end of rounds. The slip stitch will connect the last stitch of the round to the first stitch of that same round.

When you have finished the last stitch of the round, insert your hook into the top of the first stitch of the round. Yarn over and draw through the stitch and the loop on the hook.

circle of double crochet stitches working into a center ringer of joined chain stitches.  arrow pointing to top of ch-3.
In the picture above, I’ll be joining the last stitch of the round to the top of the ch-3 that acts as the first double crochet stitch.
step by step photos shoing how to use slip stitch to join rounds in crochet

Note: This type of slip stitch join is used when working a pattern made in joined rounds, but not in continuous or spiral rounds.

Move Across a Row

You can use slip stitches to move the yarn across a row of stitches without adding much height.

In the picture below, you can see the differing heights of the some of the basic crochet stitches. The slip stitch is the shortest, followed by the single crochet, the half-double crochet, and the double crochet.

crochet swatch in blue yarn showing the different heights of basic crochet stitches, including slip stitch, single crochet, half double crochet, and double crochet

Slip Stitch Seam

You can join two or more crochet elements together with a slip stitch seam. For example, you can use slip stitches to join crochet granny squares to create a blanket.

To join two pieces together with a slip stitch seam:

  1. Hold the two pieces together with right sides together.  
  2. Insert the crochet hook into the outer loops (one loop from each of the two pieces.)
  3. Yarn over, and pull through the loops on both pieces.
  4. Insert the hook through the next two outer loops.  
  5. Yarn over, and pull through the two outer loops and the loop on the hook.
  6. Repeat these steps, crocheting slip stitches across the side of the piece.
step by step photos showing how to start a crochet slip stitch seam

Slip Stitch Edging

For some projects, you may want to add slip stitch edging to create a smooth, finished border.

To make a basic slip stitch edging, simply slip stitch into every stitch along the top and bottom edges, and evenly along the sides.

What does “evenly” mean? In general, make one slip stitch for every row of single crochet, and two slip stitches for every row of double crochet.

Also, take care to keep your tension loose as you make a slip stitch edge since it’s easy to make it too tight.

Surface Slip Stitch Crochet

Surface slip stitches are slip stitches worked through the front of your crochet fabric. When finished, they look very similar to an embroidery chain stitch.

You can use surface crochet to decorate the surface of your piece with contrasting colors and stripes.

To work surface slip stitch:

  1. Make a slip knot, and hold it at the back of your work.
  2. Insert the hook through the fabric, and place the slip knot on the hook. Pull up the loop through to the front side of the work, but keep the knot at the back.
  3. Insert the hook into an adjacent stitch (or row, depending on the direction you are traveling)
  4. Yarn over and pull through the work and the loop on your hook.
step by step photos of how to slip stitch surface crochet with teal and blue yarn and a gray crochet hook

This completes the first surface slip stitch. Repeat these steps until your design is complete. Weave in the yarn ends.

Patterns Using Slip Stitch

Now that you’ve mastered the crochet slip stitch, here are a few free crochet patterns that use slip stitch:

Explore More Crochet Tutorials

If you’ve enjoyed this single crochet tutorial, you may also be interested in these posts:

Have questions? Join the Facebook Group!

I hope this tutorial was useful for you! If you have any additional questions, feel free to join my Facebook Group. I created this group for you to share your pictures, WIPs, ask questions, and help each other out.

What’s Next?

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How to Slip Stitch in Crochet (sl st)

How to Slip Stitch in Crochet (sl st)

Yield: 1
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: 1

Learn how to make a crochet slip stitch with this beginner-friendly, step-by-step tutorial. Read the rest of the post for lots of tips and tricks about joining rounds with slip stitch, slip stitch seams, edging, and surface crochet.

Materials

Tools

Instructions

  1. Insert the hook into the next stitch.
  2. Bring the yarn over the hook, from back to front, and pull a loop of yarn through the stitch.
  3. Pull that same loop through the loop on the hook. You will now have one loop left on the hook.

Notes

Read the post for other ways to use slip stitch, including:

  • From a starting center ring
  • Join rounds.
  • Move across a row without adding height. 
  • Seam two pieces of crochet fabric.
  • Make slip stitch edging to finish a project.
  • Decorate fabric with slip stitch surface crochet.

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single crochet fabric in teal yarn with a pink and gray crochet hook
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