Read these 6 Basic Stitches Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Crochet tips and hundreds of other topics.
The chain stitch provides the foundation for just about any piece of crocheting you are going to do. You start with a loop that is held together with a slip knot. Put the loop on your crochet hook, yarn over, pull a loop through the loop on your hook, yarn over, pull a loop through the loop on your hook, and just keep repeating until you have the number of chain stitches that you want.
The half double crochet is a great stitch for use in making clothing projects. You start with 1 loop on your hook. You DO wrap the yarn around your hook before sticking the hook into the next chain or stitch below. Then, yarn around the hook and pull through a loop. You now have 3 loops on your hook. Yarn over and pull the yarn through all 3 loops at the same time. You now have 1 loop on your hook again and should have just completed a half-double crochet stitch.
Making that first row of a project is always the toughest because you need to work into your chain of chain stitches. If you've made the chains too tight, it will be difficult; too loose, and your first row's edge won't be smooth. So, be sure to practice your chains until you can made uniform ones. Then, the next challenge is to know exactly where to insert your hook into the chain to make your stitches. The standard and more desirable (and most difficult!) insert point is between the "V" part of the chain stitch on top and the "bump" on the bottom. When you insert your hook at that point, you'll actually have the two loops of the top of the chain stitch on your hook as well as the original loop on your hook. This method is really tough on beginners, so an alternative is to insert your hook into the top loop of the chain stitch for each stitch. Take care not to twist the chain -- if you need to reorient yourself, just place the rope of chains onto a flat surface and smooth out before proceeding again.
This is the stitch that looks most recognizable as the "typical" crochet stitch and the one that you will most likely use to make all of those granny squares! You start with 1 loop on your hook. You DO wrap the yarn around your hook before sticking the hook into the next chain or stitch below. Then, wrap the yarn around the hook and pull through a loop. You now have 3 loops on your hook. Yarn over and pull the yarn through the first 2 loops on the hook. Now, you have 2 remaining loops on your hook. Yarn over and pull the yarn through the remaining 2 loops. You now have 1 loop on your hook again and should have just completed a double crochet stitch.
The single crochet stitch is the most common stitch of all. It is the very first stitch that you learn when you start crocheting. You start with 1 loop on your hook. You do NOT wrap the yarn around, you just go ahead and stick the hook into the next chain or stitch below and then yarn around the hook (you're looping the yarn from behind the hook up over to the front of the hook) and pull through a loop. You now have 2 loops on your hook. Yarn over the hook and pull the yarn through the 2 loops on your hook. You now have 1 loop on your hook again and should have just finished a single crochet stitch.
The slip stitch is a great way to tighten up the shape of your work and to finish off edges. Unlike in knitting, there is no need to "bind off" your piece after you have finished crocheting it. But, sometimes, you might want to create a border around a pot holder, for example, and really define its shape.
The slip stitch involves inserting your hook into the stitch below (or, if you are working along the side of a crocheted piece, into the side of a stitch), yarn over, pull through a loop and keep going to pull that same loop through the loop on your hook. You should now have just one loop on your hook and have completed a slip stitch. It's like creating a row of chain stitches on top of the row you've just crocheted or along the side of a crocheted piece.